/ One Million for a Work of Art

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
09:15 pm CET
By Ronny Waburek

Time machine

Art, Trend or Just a Bubble

Ronny Waburek

Dear readers,

we get into a time machine and travel back to the beginning of the year 2021, where we meet an art expert and ask him: Do you know Mike Winkelmann? He will probably say: No. Before February 2021, many art experts felt the same way. Winkelmann, born in the USA in 1981, studied computer science, worked for some time as a web designer, and enjoyed creating art in his spare time. Over around 13 years, he published a digital work on the Internet every day. His fan base grew. He could count two million followers on Instagram at one point. As was previously common in the art world, selling an individual physical work - an oil painting or a bronze sculpture, for example - was apparently not his thing. But with the introduction of NFTs, his world and art changed quite a bit.

Since then, the discussions about the record prices achieved with sometimes meaningless NFTs have not ceased. In the future, the question will be: Is this art, or can it be deleted from the hard drive? Strictly speaking, you can also look at it this way: One hype replaces the next hype. After decades in which the artworks of a small group of contemporary artists were traded for tens of millions of dollars, another trend may follow. NFTs are liked by investors who are mainly interested in capital appreciation. That will not change anytime soon. It is almost irrelevant how much art is really in an animation of cats flying through space to take the Nyan Cat by Christopher Torres as an example.

The auction house Christie's had published some interesting figures after the now legendary Beeple auction. 91 percent of the bidders had never contacted the auction house before, and 58 percent belonged to the Millennial generation. In other words, this is an entirely different group of buyers than at ordinary art auctions. Everyone in the art market is now thinking about winning over this new group of buyers. Sotheby's soon tried to follow suit with its own platform for digital art. In the meantime, recognized artists such as Damien Hirst, Urs Fischer, and Banksy are also beginning to deal with NFTs. Christie`s and Sotheby`s suddenly accept the cryptocurrencies popular with NFTs as payment, even for traditional artworks. And the relationship between galleries and artists is also beginning to change abruptly: The special attraction for artists is that they can sell NFTs directly. But can that succeed? Either way, NFTs bring a breath of fresh air to the art market. It was long overdue.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
09:15 pm CET
By Ronny Waburek

As ever,
Ronny Waburek

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