Artist and theatre director Robert Wilson is the latest entrant to the cryptoart space. He is auctioning his first NFT – an eight-year-old video portrait of pop star Lady Gaga.
The digital artwork, called GAGA/MARAT, features the pop star in a restaging of French painter Jacques-Louis David’s iconic 1793 painting, The Death of Marat. The NFT will be auctioned at auction house Phillip’s, as part of its “20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale” on June 24 in New York. The bidding starts at just $100 and the auction house accepts both USD and Ether as payment.
More on the Lady Gaga NFT
The two minutes, six seconds long video shows Gaga featured as the French revolutionary journalist Jean-Paul Marat. Royalist sympathizer Charlotte Corday had murdered Marat, who fueled the French Revolution.
David had painted Marat, lying dead in his bathtub, in the months after his murder. It is considered the first modernist painting for “the way it took the stuff of politics as its material and did not transmute it.”
In Wilson’s adaptation, the light on Gaga shifts slowly, bringing the seemingly still image to life. Meanwhile, in the background, one can hear an audio score based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade recited by Gaga.
“The next day another turn came and so it continued always the same, coitus, Christ, curses, ejaculation, always the same,” Gaga recites.
In order to mint the work as an NFT, Wilson recently re-edited the work. “This new iteration serves as a continuation of Wilson’s engagement with themes of reproduction, authenticity, and editioning found in the painting’s subject matter and medium,” Phillips noted.
Wilson had created a series of portraits of the pop star from the Louvre’s collection. The original piece is part of that collection. According to Artnet, the American theatre director also cast Gaga in an adaptation of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1806 canvas MademoiselLe Caroline Rivière. The Head of Saint John the Baptist, a 1507 painting by Andrea Solari, was also reimagined to feature Gaga.
In 2013, Wilson had premiered the video portraits in a solo exhibition at the Musée du Louvre. The same year, he had also designed the singer-songwriter’s MTV Video Music Awards set. Gaga had performed “Applause” during the Awards.
A new life for digital art
In the last couple of months, NFTs took the digital art world by storm. The industry, worth billions of dollars now, has given a new lease of life to digital art. Because of its digital nature, one can easily replicate digital art. As opposed, NFTs have made it possible to determine an artwork’s authenticity and uniqueness.
Even though many doubts still remain, crypto is predicted to dominate the art world for years to come. Meanwhile, day after day, NFTs are surging in popularity. As a result, artists are also minting many traditional artworks as NFTs.