On Tuesday, amid the crypto art craze that has taken hold of the market, Sotheby’s announced it will collaborate with the anonymous digital artist Pak for a sale this April.
The auction house’s CEO Charles Stewart said in an interview with CNBC that the sale will include both individual works of art as well as “open edition” NFTs, where multiple buyers can purchase minted tokens for the same work.
The announcement continues the NFT mayhem spurred by Christie’s sale of a work by cult digital artist Beeple last week for $69.3 million. “Obviously [NFTs have] come in a major way into our collective consciousness over the last couple of months,” said Stewart, “Partly that’s linked to the rise of crypto values.”
Sotheby’s said it chose Pak, who makes monochromatic designs featuring moving geometric forms, because of the artist’s established presence in the NFT realm. Pak has been working in the digital art sphere for over two decades, and it is unclear whether they are an individual artist or group of digital engineers. In September, the artist released a collection of five digital art works titled “Terminus” on the platform MakersPlace, and in December, they put an untitled collection of works up for sale on Nifty Gateway, a popular online marketplace that peddles NFTs.
“In the art world there’s been a pivot to digital in almost everything except the art, and now we’re getting there with the art as well,” said Stewart. Referring to a generation of younger collectors who feel less inclined to own physical works of art, Stewart said a main component of crypto art collecting is the notion of “borderless ownership.” He added, “Beyond the fact that you’ve got a new audience and new aesthetic, this really has the potential to bypass a lot of the traditional gate keepers and vetting processes of the traditional art world.”