The .ART Art Market Recap: Bored Ape Strikes Again, Saatchi and More

So little time, so many new things going on in the world of digital art and more... If you want to stay clued in, but don't have the time to trawl through endless content, you've come to the right place. Here is your recap of all the hottest art market news.

1. Eminem spends $462,000 on Bored Ape NFT

The Bored Ape Yacht Club can now count the real Slim Shady as one of its members. Eminem, the rapper/entrepreneur/entertainer whose real name is Marshall Mathers, has paid roughly $462,000 for one of the non-fungible token ape drawings, quickly making the ape his Twitter profile picture.

The purchase occurred last Thursday and is part of a larger collection owned by the artist. His Shady Holdings alias on OpenSea owns 22 NFTs as of midday Monday, including eight purchased at the start of the year. The BAYC NFT appears to be the biggest, though, selling for just over 123 Ether. The art bears a striking resemblance to Eminem, with the ape wearing a hat that’s virtually identical to one Mathers is frequently seen wearing in photographs. It’s also wearing what appears to be a gold chain.

Eminape, Eminem’s Bored Ape NFT. Photograph: Bored Ape Yacht Club

2. Tracey Emin is turning a former Margate bathhouse into a free art school

Turner Prize–nominated artist Tracey Emin will establish an art school and museum in her seaside hometown of Margate, England. She plans to house the school, titled TKE Studios, in a former bathhouse and mortuary located near her 30,000-square-foot studio, which was formerly a commercial printer. The Times of London first reported news of the school on Wednesday.

Emin’s plan for the school’s redesign will see 30 affordable studios erected for its enrolled students. The mortuary will be converted into a small museum that is set to house a collection of Emin’s own work.

Tracey Emin

3. Online art gallery Saatchi Art debuts its landmark NFT collection

Available to the public on January 9, the non-fungible token collection features more than 2,000 ‘non-generative art avatars’ which draw inspiration from artists like Vincent van Gogh and creative thinkers whose approaches are “ahead of their time”.

More than 150 global artists, who have contributed to over $5m in Collective Sales on Saatchi Art, were hand-selected by a curation team to design the series of “handmade, originally-designed, and stylistically-varied avatars”. Each artist will create 10-20 unique avatar artworks – many of which are digital creations developed from physical artworks.

 

4. A new NFT venture requires buyers to prove knowledge of the artist before bidding

Launched by Christie’s veteran Xin Li-Cohen and Audrey Ou, a specialist who has worked with the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, TR Lab was conceived as an antidote to the runaway speculation that has taken root during the crypto art craze. “We really try our best to make sure that the artworks are going into the hands of collectors who appreciate the pieces and are not just bots who are trying to flip it on the secondary market,” Ou says. “You can only successfully apply to be a part of the white list [bidding intake application form] if you answer all the questions about the artist, their background, and previous works.”

5. A new Jean-Michel Basquiat biopic is on the way

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s story is one of inimitable genius, influence and tragedy. A forthcoming biopic directed by Julius Onah will seek to tell this story, marking the first time a Black director has portrayed the artist’s life on film. The feature, titled Samo Lives, will star Cyrano actor Kelvin Harrison Jr, who the director previously collaborated with on the Film Independent Spirit award-winning drama Luce, in the lead role.

Samo Lives will trace the meteoric rise of Basquiat, his whirlwind personal life and artistic legacy. For though Basquiat’s life was tragically cut short – he died of a heroin overdose in his apartment in 1988, aged just 27 – he is widely considered to be one of the most influential artists of his generation. Basquiat was a leader in the Neo-Expressionism movement of the 1980s, and he used his art to put forward sharp social commentary on racism and class struggle in modern America.

Jean-Michel Basquiat with Andy Warhol at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1985. Associated Press

Veronica Morozova
Veronica Morozova
Veronica Morozova is a London-based content writer and copyeditor. She has a Master's in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths University, and writes about a range of topics including political and social activism, mental health awareness, Eastern European culture, and more.