The .ART Weekly Art Market Recap: Frieze New York, Playboy's Virtual Gallery, 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. Every week, we give you a quick update on this week's hottest art headlines.

Image: Liquid Summer by Playboy via Nifty Giveaway

1. Sotheby’s links up with Coinbase to accept crypto for Banksy

Fine art auction house Sotheby’s says it will accept the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether as payment for its upcoming sale of “Love is in the Air” an iconic work by the artist Banksy.

Bidding on the Banksy work, which goes up for auction on May 12, is estimated by Sotheby’s at between $3m and $5m, with the buyer for the first time having the “option to pay the hammer price with cryptocurrency”, the auction house wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

“With the growing adoption of digital art and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), along with our increased focus on digital innovation, we’ve seen an increasing appetite among collectors for more seamless payment options when doing business with Sotheby’s,” said Stefan Pepe, chief technology officer at Sotheby’s.

2. Art for India sale is fundraising for India’s Covid-19 relief

Art for India is a newly-launched online print sale fundraising for India’s Covid-19 relief. A group of artists from India and the diaspora – alongside a selection of friends – have come together to support the cause, with the likes of Nishant Shukla, Bharat Sikka, Rema Chaudhary, Prarthna Singh, Kalpesh Lathigra, Avani Rai and Ashish Shah donating photographs.

The one-week sale is live until Sunday (9 May), with all prints priced at £100 each, plus shipping. Proceeds from the sale of the prints will be donated to the Mission Oxygen appeal. Mission Oxygen is an initiative importing and distributing oxygen concentrators across India. It was launched by Democracy People Foundation.

Artwork by Kuba Ryniewicz. Courtesy of Art for India.

3. Frieze New York returns: it’s the first live art fair in a year

Art fairs are coming back in hybrid form. Frieze New York is taking place from 6 – 9 May, and it has left its former home on Randalls Island for the Shed, the arts centre in Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West  Side. It is hosting 60 dealers, a much smaller number than usual, with many from New York. It also has a concurrent online form, Frieze Viewing Room, with around 160 galleries from all over the world (including those at the Shed) who will be showing virtually. The pandemic has “been an opportunity to develop new models,” said Rebecca Ann Siegel, in her first year as director of American fairs for Frieze. The return of real-life booths to Frieze, which also has a fair in Los Angeles, in addition to the original in London, is certainly amazing news for art lovers worldwide.

Exterior view of Frieze New York’s new venue, The Shed, designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Photography: Brett Beyer

4. Havaianas, the Brazilian flip-flop brand, jumps on the NFT bandwagon

Artist Adhemas Batista, who’s worked with Havaianas in the past, has created five unique Non-Fungible Tokens – from a new shape created by the brand – that will be auctioned on May 12 on the NFT auction platform Foundation. Seven percent of the profits will be donated to Favela Galeria, a São Paulo-based gallery focused on bringing art to the local community.

Photo from Havaianas

5. Playboy is hosting a virtual art gallery to showcase new NFT collection

Playboy is the latest brand to take part in the NFT craze, announcing a digital art collaboration with the blockchain-powered auction hub Nifty Gateway. Playboy is also hosting a virtual art gallery, launched on May 4th.

The upcoming virtual gallery showing will feature a range of original NFT art created by digital collage artist Slimesunday in collaboration with Playboy‘s curators, titled “Liquid Summer.”  “My process has always involved scanning images from magazines, so when Playboy offered full access to their archive everything really came full circle for me,” Slimesunday says. “Working with Executive Editor Liz Suman and the entire Playboy team has allowed me to get the full story behind each image in a deeper way than I normally would be able to.”

Mosaic by Playboy via Nifty Giveaway

Carve out your own unique space in the digital world of art by signing up to a domain with .ART – find out more. 

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.