Last month, Jimmy Fallon spoke at length about NFTs on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and even showed off his Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, so it’s no surprise that when Beeple debuted his first art world gallery show last night, the iconic host showed up in support. But perhaps more interesting than Fallon’s presence was that of other art world elite who seemed—until now—to have little to do with Beeple.
Beeple became the third-most expensive living artist after his NFT Everydays: The First 5,000 Days sold for $69.3 million at a Christie’s auction in early 2021. Despite having made such an impressive splash, Beeple hasn’t had a gallery show until now, with his first exhibition of the sort, “Uncertain Futures,” having opened on Thursday at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York.
Max Kulchinsky, an NFT curator, commented that this show would be a big test for Beeple. “More than anything I’m interested to see how the art world reacts to the show, which institutional collectors latch on,” he said. “This could be a paradigm shift for crypto art.” Though it isn’t yet known who will walk away with Beeple’s very in-demand IRL works, the crowd present at the show seems to have been a big validation for the artist.
Present at the show were artists like Cindy Sherman (whose partner is dealer Jack Hanley), Peter Saul, Sally Saul, and Tom Sachs; art critic Jerry Saltz; White Columns director Matthew Higgs; NADA director Heather Hubbs; Pioneer Works artistic director Gabriel Florenz; and Loïc Gouzer, who organized the Beeple sale at Christie’s before leaving to start his own NFT startup. Other VIPs in attendance include film director Darren Aronosky and Elon Musk’s mother and brother. Apparently, the Musk family is a big supporter of Beeple, and the Tesla founder’s immediate relatives were also at the dinner held for the artist at Frenchette.
Tracey Ryans, an arts consultant who went to that event, said, “People kept saying this is a parallel world, but there were all of these art world luminaries there. It definitely wasn’t a parallel world!”