Image above: A still from Beeple’s HUMAN ONE, 2021.

1. Women account for just 16% of NFT art market

Women account for just 16% of the NFT art market, according to a report published by the research firm ArtTactic this week, which based its findings on primary and secondary market sales on Nifty Gateway over the past 21 months. Much as in the traditional art market, the “winner takes all” mentality is also pervasive in the NFT market, with 55% of all sales raised by 5% of artists (16 artists in total). Overall, the top 25% of artists account for almost 90% of total values. Regardless of whether the disparity is on the buyer side or the artist side, it’s one you can’t ignore. The musician Grimes was the only woman on Art Tactic’s list of the top 10 best-selling NFT artists, thanks to a blockbuster sale on the Winklevoss-owned marketplace Nifty Gateway earlier this year.

2. Beeple’s ‘Human One’ sculpture and NFT sells for nearly $29 million

Human One, a 3-D video sculpture and the latest creation by the artist known as Beeple, sold for US$28.9 million to an online bidder in Switzerland at a live Christie’s auction in New York on Tuesday evening. The more than 7-foot-high sculpture featuring dystopian imagery that is accessed through the Ethereum blockchain drew bids from collectors on the phone with specialists in New York and Hong Kong, before ultimately selling for a hammer price of US$25 million in just over 3 minutes.

3. Art named as one of the hottest markets on Earth

Online-only art sales topped $1 billion in 2020, up from $168 million the year before. The world’s chief auction houses—Sotheby’s, Christie’s and b Phillips—will seek to sell at least $1.6 billion worth of art during a two-week series of sales, setting an expectation they haven’t met in the past three years. The houses estimate at least 15 pieces will sell for over $20 million, including examples by Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko and Vincent van Gogh. Recent discoveries such as Reggie Burrows Hodges are also poised to fly to records.  Millennials comprise one-quarter of Christie’s global clientele in 2021, up from 15% two years ago. In Asia, more than one-third of Christie’s bidders are millennials. Overall, Christie’s Chief Executive Guillaume Cerutti said the house’s average bidder is now 46 years old, two years younger than at the start of the pandemic.

Auctioneer Gemma Sudlow helms the 21st-century evening sale at Christie’s New York on November 9. Photo: Katya Kazakina.

4. Art Basel in Miami Beach to host first ‘interactive’ NFT exhibition

Art Basel in Miami Beach (2-4 December) will for the first time host an “interactive” exhibition of NFTs next month, part of a new collaboration with the open source blockchain Tezos. What is more, visitors can create an AI self-portrait of themselves, then mint it as an NFT—to go. The exhibition, titled Humans + Machines: NFTs and the Ever-Evolving World of Art, will feature a number of works from generative and NFT artists including Helena Sarin, Matt DesLauriers, Sutu (Stuart Campbell) and Iskra Velitchkova. The German artist Mario Klingemann has also designed an algorithm, “embedded” into the exhibition space, with which visitors can interact to create their own abstract self-portrait, minted on the Tezos blockchain.

Renderings of the Tezos exhibition at Art Basel in Miami Beach 2021

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5. Yayoi Kusama’s Tel Aviv museum show just opened, and it’s already sold out

A comprehensive exhibition of works by legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, offers a near-total immersion in the intensely colourful and personal vision of the 92-year-old global phenomenon. Visitors will be able to see four of Kusama’s infinity rooms, mirrored art spaces with poetic names such as Phalli’s Field (1965) – the first such space – the 2015 The Spirits of the Pumpkin descended into the heavens and The Eternally Infinite Light of the Universe Illuminating the Quest for Truth, created especially for this exhibition. Roughly eight decades of artistic efforts will be on display, from a drawing Kusama made as a child featuring her now-famous dots, to paintings created for this exhibition. It was sold out in hours.

A visitor to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition in Tel Aviv. Credit: Hadas Parush