The world’s premier art fair was dominated by NFTs
Art Basel Miami, the world’s biggest annual art event, is a citywide marathon packed with officials and satellite events attracting galleries, collectors and fans globally. However, this year it was quite different, as the fair got a digital facelift from crypto-power, almost the entire NFT community, right from Beeple to the Bored Ape Yacht Club. They took their unique set of skills to South Beach hosting a week of immersive events, yacht parties, and other activities. According to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, this is the first time Art Basel has adopted a digital imprint. He went on to say that this fair was the first in history to conduct NFTs on such a wide scale.
- The official fair featured interactive NFT artworks, which was a crowd puller. Amid a crowded convention center booth, Tezos, an open-source crypto platform partner allied with Mario Klingemann, a German artist who created a piece of art using neural networks so that visitors’ likenesses were melded into a grotesquely unreal mashup, which could be minted as free NFTs on the spot by scanning a QR code. In a different location in the conventional hall, Pace, a major international gallery, exhibited its own NFT platform selling off a piece created by artist duo DRIFT for $550,000; a portion of the proceeding went to an environmental nonprofit organization.
- The Heart Project, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and other notable NFT collectives hosted events throughout Miami. Bored Ape Yacht Club, which enjoys an ever-growing list of celebrities like Post Malone and Steph Curry, had many reasons to celebrate; with sales of more than $1 billion, a deal between metaverse and Adidas, as well as a new mobile game. The fun just didn’t end there. On Saturday, FEWOCiOUS, an 18-year-old NFT star, along with 250 friends and collectors dressed in white coveralls, had a “paint party” creating art and inspirational messages with bright color over eight massive canvases.
- Attendees hopped between VIP parties across the metro region in the afterhours. The Heart Project and Doodles, two digital art collectives, teamed up with Gunna and Aminé for a warehouse bash rap performance. In another party, Probably Nothing, at Coinbase hosted by an NFT booster and an entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, Marshmello Djed entertained the vast crowd of creators, collectors, and crypto investors.” My aim is that the executives remember how wrong they were about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube,” Vaynerchuck said earlier in the day at a VIP brunch. “Perhaps we need to conduct [NFTs] differently,” he further added.
Long before the inception of Basel Miami 2021, there were some observers from the art world about clients’ huge purchasing power that can aid in big international galleries comfortably coexisting with crypto. The answer is yes! They can coexist; both digital as well as traditional art do have their presence at Basel Miami, and together they both are propelling art and collection into the future. FEWOCiOUS, at his paint-splattered bash, while summing up the possibilities, said that the art is not just restricted to painting, and there is more to be explored in fashion, literature, and more, as this is what NFTs taught him.