Directly from New York, Massimo Gaggi interviews Eleonora Brizi, critic and curator of Crypto Art,
about NFT artworks and the boom of Crypto artists.
This is a new way to collect and invest in digital assets, but also to create communities and new ways of connecting artists, sportsmen, actors and musicians to the audiences of their fans, Times Square has been transformed into an open-air digital art gallery: on a gigantic luminous board images of Crypto Art works by some of the most famous artists of this new market, exploded a few months ago with the record sale (69 million dollars) of a digital work by the American artist Beeple, were shown.
Each work carries a Qr code and anyone, even a passer-by, can make an offer to buy it on the digital platforms on which the auctions take place. The spectacle is surreal: next to the gigantic billboard on which the psychedelic or rarefied images of an art without physicality follow one another, there is the noisy and very physical world of a skyscraper under construction with the cranes that swing their loads in front of the luminous billboards and the Mexican workers who, while climbing the scaffolding, look puzzled at the cascades of images and colors of this art on the road.
“Crypto Art,” explains Eleonora Brizi, who discovered in New York in 2018 the application of blockchain technology to art after working for four years in China as an assistant to the artist Ai Weiwei, “was born in 2016, before the Nfts, which are a simple authentication protocol used for art as in other sectors, from fashion to music. Artists were stimulated in their creativity by the characteristics of immediacy and freedom of digital communication. Then they have taken advantage of the possibility of presenting themselves directly to the public, to possible buyers, by presenting themselves online without the mediation of art galleries, curators, banks”.
Eleonora, who with her Breezy Art has tried to reinvent the profession of curator in a digital dimension and now organizes physical and virtual exhibitions and manages the assets of investors who have purchased entire collections of Nfts, is convinced that crypto art is not at all overrated. On the contrary, it is a phenomenon that is still taking its first steps: “Maturity will come when we learn to make full use of all the possibilities offered by blockchain and smart contracts. It is inevitable that in a world increasingly immersed in digital reality, crypto artists are destined to gain ground on traditional ones. And with the arrival of experiences based on the new Metaverse ecosystems that Mark Zuckerberg is working hard on, this trend will become even more pronounced.”
“The crypto art market,” says Fanny Lakoubay, one of the most active consultants in the digital art market in New York, “continues to grow at an impressive rate: $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021 alone. The record sale of Beeple’s artwork inflamed it, causing fears of a bubble, but then the price surge stopped and the market found a new equilibrium. After all, it’s a market that is expanding into other sectors, from fashion to music to design”. Paintings, memes, collectibles of all kinds are sold, including the first tweet by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s big boss, as well as covers, drawings and special pages of newspapers, from Vanity Fair to the New York Times and Corriere della Sera.
The world of Nft is multiform and full of surprises, and it is making rich many young people who have not yet come of age and have discovered themselves as artists during the long months of lockdowns. But it is also a world full of secrets, such as those that Brizi has in her hands, to whom has been entrusted the care of the Whale Shark collection – one of the most important in the world of crypto art – whose owner, probably an Asian billionaire, perhaps of British origin, living in Hong Kong, has chosen to remain anonymous.