Uncertain Future: London, the first exhibition of NFTs artworks
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Beeple is a digital artist known for introducing NFTs in the mainstream market, through the "Everyday" project: a large series of drawings and renderings published online every day, for more than 14 years.

Beeple, the “Non-fungible token” artist, has exposed his physical artworks for the first time.

Very long queue and sky-high expectations for the first physical exposition of Beeple at the Jack Hanley Gallery in London.

Beeple is a digital artist known for introducing NFTs in the mainstream market, through the “Everyday” project: a large series of drawings and renderings published online every day, for more than 14 years.

The Gallery of Contemporary Art has previously had alerted London citizens on social media with a cryptic claim that read: “BUSINESS INSIGHT”.

It concerns about the business before than art: Beeple sells quotations of his artwork on NFT (the non-fungible token), depending on the points of view he can be considered a genius or either a great charlatan.

Beeple has requested to the Jack Hanley Gallery to not make any kind of advertisement; but the information has leaked with word-of-mouth that generated a strong echo, mostly because the artist promised a signed poster for the first 200 visitors.

The “Uncertain Future” exhibition is focused on the despotic vision about the power of Big Tech and multinationals such as Amazon, Netflix e Google; characters face as Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are at the centre of many oil canvases put in surreal and post-apocalyptic locations.

Other artworks include aluminium supports and all of them are accompanied by a prize in NFT: physical and digital artworks are bought together.

Says the Artist:

“This exhibition means to stimulate a dialogue on the role of the big tech Businesses in our lives and how this could take place in the future.

Since we continue contributing the use of these services, these companies and their founders have an increasing impact on most of the aspects about how our society will appear in the future. The topics about science fiction in these artworks are ironically presented, but they also have their purpose to shed light on the real tendencies that we are verifying nowadays. As technological advances in disparate sectors of the economy combine, this will have a multiplying effect and the bizarre and non-intentional consequences of the technology will become an increasing factor in modern life.”

Begun on Monday, March 14th, the finissage has been scheduled on Saturday 19th.

WHO IS BEEPLE?

Beeple is a 41-year-old engineer and computer scientist who made headlines in 2021 when the NFT of the work “Everydays: the First 5000 days” sold for $69 million at Christie’s, a famous London auction house.

Politicized and irreverent, his artworks have been frequently vulgarly funny, such as the recent exploit against Putin or the famous artwork depicting Abraham Lincoln who spanking a naked Donald Trump; his artistic language is not perceived as divisive, rather always in the middle between the serious and the facetious.

His luck as a digital artist has also had a substantial online following, an Instagram account of over two million and a half fans and a Discord server, popular enough to trigger a scam auction by a group of hackers, which helped the increasing of the Hype.

The NFTs and the Art

The NFTs imposed themselves to the attention of all the world since March 11th in 2021, as previously said, when the auction organized by Christie sells “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for 69 million dollars, making it jump to sixth place in the ranking of the most expensive works of art of all time. The news quickly travels around the world, resulting in a riot of NFT-themed articles and widespread public scepticism.

Simply put, the Non-Fungible Token is a virtual token with which you can buy a certain service that is concerned about art or other movable properties; you are not buying the digital file, the gif or the jpeg and neither a digital artwork.

Buying an NFT, the only tangible thing is a certification that has a link containing a digital file with a copy of authenticity. Unless it is not specified, the selling does not imply the purchase of commercial rights to the digital work. To sum up: with the purchase of an NFT, you get a certification of ownership registered on the blockchain, linked to a copy of the digital work.

The artist often sends to the client a high-quality version of the file, or other extras, in some cases the physical copy of the artwork, but it is not a rule.

To comprehend and appreciate the phenomenon of NFTs, it is opportune to abandon the back-thinking that something immaterial has less value than something tangible and spacially placeable.

The idea is deep-rooted in all of us for what concerns, in this case, the acquiring artworks. If we just tried to shift the focus to the things we can’t touch, we would understand that they are invaluable to everyone, like music, culture, stories and ideas, all of this, maybe, would make more sense.

WORDS: Manuela Palma

Which impact is having this phenomenon on the art world?

Artists who until recently did not earn anything or almost nothing from the sales of their works, now they can live, sometimes more than well, of their art: this is certainly one of its most impactful consequences.

We must say that those who follow and purchase NFTs works, do not do that because is passionate about art. Most of the NFTs collectors do not have any interest or artistic taste: they are simply investors in crypto values that want to enrich themselves.

This generates an artistic flattening in favour of a purely utilitarian privilege.

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