The .ART Market Recap: Holograms in the Auction Room, Metaverse Museums, Golden Lions and More This Week

This week we have it all; Simone Leigh awarded Prestigious Golden Lion in Venice, Punk6529’s Metaverse Museum, a New Coachella in Arkansas and a rare David Hockney on view in Toronto
Cover Image: David Hockney in his studio

The boundaries of virtual technologies are being pushed even further! Christie’s has announced that they are partnering with Proto, a three-year-old Los Angeles-based firm to display an iconic Edgar Degas bronze sculpture Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (estimate $20m-$30m) in their upcoming Collection of Ann Bass auction. In an effort to creatively curtail rising transportation costs, the Christies-Proto partnership allows the opportunity for the auction firm to virtually display the voluminous work in scale and dimension through the use of cloud technology. Using the Proto device, Beam, the sculpture is currently on display in San Francisco and will next be transported via the cloud to Hon Kong. Within the case, the delicate ballerina turns and viewers have the ability to tap the case to pause the rotation and further inspect details of the work. This futuristic iteration of the work also raises an interesting third version of the work. First created by the artist in wax to best reflect the flesh of the dancer and dressed in a dancer’s cotton faille bodice, linen ballet slippers, a tarlatan tutu, as well as a wig of real hair, braided and tied with a silk ribbon. Twenty-nine bronze castings were made after the artist’s death and are predominantly in major institutional and museum collections around the world. This third holographic iteration of the work opens a new door to the possibilities of artwork preservation and opportunities to share the work more broadly.

Edgar Degas’s Petite danseuse de quatorze ans as seen through a Proto device. Courtesy Christie’s

The Golden Lion for best contribution to the Venice Biennale’s international exhibition, The Milk of Dreams, went to American artist Simone Leigh for her sculpture Brick House (2019). Special mentions in this category went to Inuk-Canadian artist Shuvinai Ashoona and American new media art pioneer Lynn Hershman Leeson. The jury comprised of Adrienne Edwards, Lorenzo Giusti, Julieta González, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, and Susanne Pfeffer celebrated her work as “rigorously researched, virtuosically realised, and powerfully persuasive monumental sculptural opening to the Arsenale.” Using contemporary visual language, monumental scale and powerful imagery, Leigh gives a voice to the untold stories of Black women in her moving exhibition displayed in the Arsenale and the central pavilion in the Giardini. The artist celebrates the history, role and power of Black working women and importantly confronts the viewer with their power and authority in her charged work.

Simone Leigh, Brick House (2019)

The Golden Lion for the best national pavilion was awarded to Great Britain at the 59th Art Biennale with the artist Sonia Boyce. Photo by Felix Hörhager/picture alliance via Getty Images.

A rarely seen David Hockney, Santa Monica Boulevard, 1978-80, is now on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. The massive 24-foot canvas was unrolled and displayed in the museum as part of their current I Am Here: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces (running until August 14, 2022). The work has literally been rolled up and stored at the Hockney Foundation for nearly 30 years and has never been seen in North America. In fact, it has only been shown publicly once in Japan in 1994. The artist was using a new type of acrylic paint at the time of creation and the newer medium has been credited with maintaining their fresh vibrant colours on the canvas. Although the work does appear to be slightly ‘unfinished’, it is also a testament to Hockney’s artistic process is continually experimenting with new processes, ideas and techniques—as soon as he finishes one work, he is on to something new. A spokesperson for the Hockney Foundation notes that the work is one of his largest works on a single piece of canvas, and it captures the essence of the boulevard. “It’s almost the effect of driving along the street,” she said.

David Hockney, Santa Monica Boulevard, 1978-80, Collection The David Hockney Foundation. © David Hockney. Photo: David Egan

Punk6529 launches open Metaverse project with NFT museum district to give the opportunity for major NFT collectors to display their collections to the public. From Bored Apes, to CryptoPunks, to ArtBlocks, works will be “installed” in the virtual museum district of “OM”. The new virtual city is planned to support a virtual population of 100 million users in total with a greater purpose to create an ‘Open Metaverse’ free for anyone to access and build. While the initial draw to the space will be the opportunity to see some of the most high-profile NFTs on display, it will also allow the chance for the public to contribute their own collections for others to view. Currently, there are about 2000 NFTs on display belonging to either Punk6529 or the project’s other team members.

6529 Museum of Art

A group of contemporary art curators and tastemakers are working together to make Bentonville, Arkansas a new art world hotspot. Branded as a new Coachella, the music and art festival named For Music, Art, and Technology (Format) has backing from the major events planner C3 Presents, which is behind Lollapalooza and Bonaroo and organized Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies. The visual arts section of the festival is curated by Triadic, formed by Elizabeth Edelman, Mafalda Millies, and Roya Sachs, and will include works by Nick Cave, Jacolby Satterwhite, Doug Aitken, and Assume Video Astro Focus, among others. “Bentonville is entirely unique in the way culture and community are intertwined,” Sachs said. “I’m always amazed by what I discover when I’m there, from performances in an abandoned cheese factory turned museum [the Momentary], to James Turrell Skyscapes.” The festival will follow similar traditional formats of main and side stages for performers, open-air pavilions and other alternative settings to create an immersive experience. For Music, Art, and Technology (Format) is set to take place September 23-25, 2022.

Doug Aitken, New Horizon (2019). © Doug Aitken. Image courtesy the artist and The Trustees of Reservations (MA). Photo by Jamie Barron.

Katlin Rogers
Katlin Rogers