Sotheby’s has confirmed its ‘Natively Digital’ NFT art auction, running from 3rd to 10th June 2021. The auction house’s latest non-fungible art sale, it will be hosted at the firm’s New York location.
The auction features a single Pak NFT, rare masked Alien Cryptopunk from LarvaLabs, and the first NFT ever minted — ‘Quantum’, by Kevin McCoy (pictured). New work from auction curator Robert Alice is also included.
Simon Denny, Anna Ridler, Mario Linkemann, Oseanworld, X Copy, Ikaro Cavalcante and Mad Dog Jones are among the other creatives involved. Meanwhile, Erick Calderon (Snowfro) and Jeff Davis have contributed 19 pieces for one lot. Their work represents the generative design project, Art Blocks.
Sevens Foundation, a non-profit elevating artists, and Regen Network, which focuses on climate solutions, are partnering. Mint Foundation, an initiative helping BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creators mint their first NFTs, is the third organisation credited. Proceeds after artist royalties are paid will be distributed among the causes.
Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s contemporary art specialist, told Penta the auction is “a mini-retrospective of digital art and NFTs”. All work will be displayed simultaneously at Sotheby’s in London, Hong Kong, and New York.
NFTs in the high art world
Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’ NFT art auction is the latest non-fungible high art activity. Christie’s became the first auction house to experiment, in 2020. Its sale of an NFT for Robert Alice’s Bitcoin-themed sculpture netted £131,000, a price far exceeding estimates between $12,000 and $18,000.
Christie’s again made headlines with ‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’. NFT artist Beeple brought in $69million from the sale, despite bidding starting at just $100. The institution then turned more heads earlier this month by selling original NFTs by anonymous digital feminist collective Rewind alongside traditional paintings. The auction is considered the first to combine virtual and IRL art.
Sotheby’s is no stranger to the NFT space, either. Its partnership with crypto art marketplace Nifty Gateway secured $16million for original work by Pak earlier this year. Meanwhile, the auction house’s recent decision to allow crypto payments for physical artworks is significant.
Clandestine UK artist Banksy’s ‘Love Is In The Air’ became the first piece auctioned since the option was added, selling for $12.9million on 12th May. Hong Kong’s Ora-Ora gallery has also green-lit crypto payments during Art Basel, which runs 21st to 23rd May 2021.
Open call for Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’ NFT art auction
NFTs and the blockchain are presented as ways of democratising ecosystems. And Sotheby’s clearly understands this concept given its announcement on Twitter yesterday.
An open call for artist nominations was put out on the network to fill Lot 28 in the Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’ NFT art auction. In doing so, the auction house has opened potentially high value art sales to anyone producing strong NFT works. In turn, this mirrors hopes non-fungibles and crypto can improve accessibility to creative revenue streams.
‘Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale’ features a selection of extraordinary digital artworks. Community is vital to the growth of the NFT space, so we are opening up the 28th auction lot to an NFT artist of the community’s choice.
⬇️ Read on for details of how to nominate ⬇️
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) May 18, 2021
The art world has helped drive a meteoric rise in NFT market value so far this year. But communities remain divided on their impact. Some believe NFTs and crypto will come to dominate the sector, while critics voice concerns ranging from systemic discrimination to the blockchain’s questionable environmental record.
Image credit: Sotheby’s