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When NFTs get Physical

By July 21, 2021September 7th, 2021No Comments
When NFTs Get Physical

Brick-and-Mortar Art Galleries and Museums, taking bold steps into the unknown (NFTs as “Terra Incognita”), can be seen, in an increasing fashion, either featuring NFTs in their permanent collections, or organizing NFT events. This is a fascinating turn of events. These institutions have chosen to not ignore NFTs: they know they cannot afford to remain indifferent to the fast changing technological landscape for very long.

In addition to traditional spaces including NFTs in their collections and organizing events, galleries fully dedicated to NFTs, such as Superchief, the world’s first NFT gallery, are also popping up. Superchief is currently showing the works of 300 artists on high-resolution screens (at a 4K and 60 frames per second, no less).

When NFTs Get PhysicalThe rate at which such specialized spaces are appearing is increasing so quickly that it is difficult, even for insiders, to keep up.

For NFT aficionados looking to contemplate Crypto Art in the flesh (so to speak), there is no shortage of fantastic events to choose from.

In March, Atlanta’s ABV Gallery collaborated with Nifty Gateway, a well-known NFT marketplace, to present Chain Reaction, showing works by crypto artists on 20 digital displays within the gallery and across various public displays in Atlanta and Boston.

In Germany, Kenny Schachter, a vocal advocate of NFTs, is curating a show, Breadcrumbs, at Galerie Nagel Draxler in Cologne, showcasing a group of early and present NFT adopters, with the aim of exploring what NFTs really mean for both digital and physical art.

When NFTs Get PhysicalMost recently, the largest Bitcoin event ever to take place, the Bitcoin 2021 conference, featured a peer to peer pop-up NFT art gallery with artwork from more than 30 Crypto Artists.

But why, you might ask, do artists feel the need to expose NFTs in spaces traditionally dedicated to physical art? What is the rationale here? And why are spaces fully dedicated to NFTs popping up left, right and center?

The first and most obvious reason is that traditional galleries have failed to meet the specific needs of NFT artists, both in terms of technology and collector interest.

When NFTs Get PhysicalThe second reason is that featuring NFTs in traditional spaces such as galleries and museums provides a much richer experience than seeing the artwork on a laptop or on a mobile phone. We agree with Edward Zipco, the director of Superchief, when he states that “one aspect of the NFT Market that was severely lacking was physical presentation”. It is crucial to show the works in full resolutions, just as the artist intended.

Museums and Art galleries that choose to dive in head first and methodically implement an NFT strategy will become more self-reliant and more aligned with a new generation of art fans.

NFTs present highly improved opportunities for museums to upscale their revenue generation opportunities. Instead of relying on a combination of ticket sales and public money (Museums have learned that this is a risky strategy during a Pandemic), museums and art galleries can tokenize all their paintings and artefacts, to possibly offer them, with stakeholder authorization obviously, on their own marketplaces (the creation of museum-owned marketplaces would put them in direct competition with the Openseas, Raribles and Nifty Gateways of this world). Not to mention what is possible for Museums if they only look at what is being done at the convergence of NFTs and Decentralized Finance: Staking, Lending and Borrowing.

Lukas Merville

Lukas Merville

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Lukas Merville graduated in Literary Studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and in Art History at the University of Montreal. He then flew to Japan to complete an Art Internship at Shizuoka's Center for Creative Communications (CCC) under the guidance of Curator Pamela Jewell. Lukas is a patient and prolific writer, having published numerous articles and books, mostly on the Phenomenology of the Artistic Experience and Aesthetics. His approach is inspired by Wolfgang Iser's Phenomenological method applied to the reading experience, Husserl and Ingarden.