With dozens of participating artists, it was one of the largest auctions to date, exhibited across Sotheby’s galleries in NYC, Hong Kong and London. The nearly 300-year-old auction house also made history by unveiling a replica of its London gallery in the virtual world Decentraland. Sotheby’s and co-curator Robert Alice selected works to represent the history and progression of cryptoart to where it stands today.
As is to be expected, the collection featured some of the most prominent players in the cryptosphere. “Wherever you are in the world, you are about to witness the historical sale of the rare alien Cryptopunk #7523” started the auction for @sillytuna‘s rare alien Cryptopunk #7523. While not the first Cryptopunk to be auctioned off, the rare alien #7523 (one of nine existing aliens and the only one aptly wearing a mask) went for a record-breaking $11.8 million (approx. 4696ETH at time of the sale).
🚨There’s less than 24 hours left to bid in our #NativelyDigital NFT sale! Lots begin closing tomorrow 10 June at 10:30AM ET and tune into https://t.co/CT35EfK9qo at 10AM ET to view the live sale of @sillytuna‘s Alien CryptoPunk #7523. 1/2
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) June 9, 2021
The pieces at Natively Digital capture a range of styles from the manically colourful and poppy to the more minimalist and abstract. Together they cover the farthest reaches of what the NFT art world looks like, starting with the very first NFT minted in 2014; Kevin McCoy’s ‘Quantum’. Impressively, the collection also manages to cover a wide diversity of technologies crypto and beyond powered by nameless. True to the experimental and DIY nature of NFTs, the works incorporate interactive elements involving temperature servers, morphing colours linked to wallet addresses and artificial intelligence in Alice’s own ‘iNFT’.
Sotheby’s Commissionaire Hans Lomulder greeting visitors in Decentraland
In addition, artist and musician Don Diablo’s piece, ‘INFINITΞ FUTURΞ’ was auctioned for an astounding $927,500. Mixing the physical and the digital, the work consists of a hologram cabinet that a cartridge hosting various NFTs can be inserted into, resulting in different visuals. In essence, the collector of this piece owns this work and whatever future NFTs are hosted on the cartridge. Another highlight in the collection includes the work of Pak, whose series also constituted Sotheby’s very first NFT sale in collaboration with Nifty Gateway (Read our interview with Pak). This time Pak auctioned off ‘Fade,’ an ever-changing piece transforming according to time and wallet address, for $528,200.
Matt Kane, Meules after Claude Monet
In addition, the collection featured a sweet homage to impressionism with ‘Meules after Claude Monet’ by .art adopter Matt Kane, inspired by Monet’s ‘Meules’ record sale in 2019. Kane’s version is a layered gigapixel image, accompanied by an installation in virtual reality world Cryptovoxels.
While Kane’s version didn’t quite manage to reach the 110 million dollars of Monet’s original sale (‘Meules after Claude Monet’ went for $214,200), Natively Digital and its record sales represent a unique moment in art history. It’s just a matter of time before today’s NFT-artists get homages of their own in whatever exciting worlds technology opens up for us next.