As NFT art sales decline, a handful of digital art stars seem to withstand the crypto storm.
The $ 69.3 million JPEG days may be over for now, but a handful of leading digital artists lingered during Christie’s charity sale on Tuesday, testing the enduring appeal of token art amid a recent collapse in cryptocurrency values.
Christie’s sold for $ 1.6 million, Cartography of the Mind, exceeded the house’s own expectations of $ 1.5 million, but none of its 27 offerings cost more than $ 250,000.
The sale comes amid a collapse in the cryptocurrency market, many of which, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have recently fallen to less than half of their peak values.
Christie’s sold out to any NFT artists, including Beeple, Refik Anadol and Mad Dog Jones. They rose to global prominence amid last year’s digital art award, thanks to cryptocurrency investors and the advent of digital receipts known as irreplaceable tokens or NFTs.
Yet few of these digital artists have passed a serious market test after crypto markets nearly collapsed this spring. The lack of market information means that collectors are now struggling to predict the trajectory of NFT art with blue chips other than collector’s tokens. This partly explains why collectors focused on this small sale of Christie’s, curated by one of their own alternative asset investors, Ryan Zurer.
Lower sales estimates on Tuesday could be a sign that the art market is recalibrating levels for its digital artists, traders said. This may also indicate the level at which artists are willing to donate works to a charity, in this case the Multidisciplinary Psychedelic Research Association.
On Tuesday, it took 10 offers for an online collector to win a $ 252,000 Beeple Worship. The digital landscape, which features a tiny man walking among towering mushrooms, exceeds his high estimate of $ 250,000. This pales in comparison to the kind of feverish attention paid last year to the artist’s founding $ 69.3 million, “Everyday: The First 5,000 Days,” which helped launch the NFT art boom. (His current estimate: $ 100.)
Christie’s said it was still ready to accept cryptocurrency for some of its offerings, but the house sold just $ 4.6 million in NFT art this year, including Tuesday’s sale. Last year, he sold NFT for nearly $ 150 million.
Nicole Sales, Christie’s digital sales business director, said collectors are sifting through the best digital artists from the rest, consolidating around a canon more likely to survive the turmoil of wider cryptocurrency markets. “It’s about art now, not speculators,” she said.
Sam Spratt, a digital artist from New York known for designing an album for rapper Kid Cuddy, launched the sale with his picturesque portrait of Lucy’s early human great-grandfather, lying in a knotted tree, “VII. Worm food. “The work attracted 15 bids and sold for $ 252,000, above its highest estimate of $ 120,000.
Another artist, called Elfytrul of the Forgotten Runes, pulled 23 offers – the most on sale – for a pixelated eyeball surrounded by dragons and angel wings, Quantum Uroboros. It sold for $ 138,600, above its highest estimate of $ 35,000.
Sarah Mayohas, a pioneering NFT artist who gained fame in 2015 with the creation of her own cryptocurrency, BitchCoin, saw her work “Liquid Speculation # 26” attract 14 bids and sell for $ 9,450, above her low estimate of $ 8,000 .
Elsewhere in the sale, Mad Dog Jones’ “Stupid Simon’s Psilocybin” sold for $ 75,600. Last year, the same artist sold a larger NFT art project at Phillips, Replicator, for $ 4.1 million.
Cartoon artist and director Jake Fried’s “Baby Eyes” sold for $ 63,000 after a single offer, as did pieces by Mr. Anatol, Tom Sachs, Brendan Dawes and Justin Aversano.
Ms Sales said the current market environment was “less than ideal” for pricing works by NFT artists, but she felt credible for the long term. At the NFT.NYC congress last week, she said the entry queue stretched more than a city block, adding: “It was crowded.”
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