Digital Art Takes New York City By Storm
Learnings, quotes, and main takeaways from my trip to New York City
Hey there, friends!
As I mentioned in the last weekly digest, I visited New York City for an array of incredible digital art events. I saw unique art, met incredible people, and learned a lot!
If you're wondering why there were so many events in NYC recently, it's because NFT NYC has become a popular destination for NFT fans worldwide. Things have changed a lot, and even though the main event is still happening, the most exciting stuff related to digital art was actually taking place at side events.
Even though four days (including travel time) wasn't a lot to catch up on everything happening, I think I did a good job of running around Manhattan and Brooklyn to see as much as possible.
Here's an overview...
Tezos NFT Summit
Tezos put on a cozy and well-planned two days event with multiple speakers, portfolio reviews for artists, food, drinks, and plenty of art displayed next to impressive Manhattan views. I participated in a panel with Micol from Vertical Crypto Art, Richard Entrup from KPMG, and Wade Wallerstein from Outland.art. The conversation was very diverse, touching on the benefits of blockchain technology for artists and collectors and exciting innovations happening these days.
From the other talks, I took some notes on the future plans from the objkt.com founder — Brian Mc Allister — who is releasing a new “galleries” feature and improving their AI discovery tool to help navigate the 6M tokens in their platform. Paul Schmidt, from fxhash, mentioned how in their first year and a half, they have focussed on artists and would like to provide more features for collectors over the next year.
The panel with Tezos artists was exciting as well. One discussion topic that caught my attention was the figure of the artist manager in the digital realm. Laurence Fuller mentioned how managers and agents are responsible when onboarding traditional artists in the space.
They should make sure artists get their hands wet, understand and participate in the culture and also comprehend how things work regarding wallets, decentralization, smart contracts, etc.
Zancan had an interesting point about Web 3 artists handling their careers.
In the trad art world, there were vertical roles, an artist had a manager, accountant, lawyer, a gallery, PR, etc.
Today, it is more horizontal. An artist can manage these roles with social media, Web 3 marketplaces, using smart contracts to automatically and efficiently manage collabs with other artists, curators or promoters.
It feels like five jobs in one, but it is possible.
Organic Matr / Zancan
The exhibition was packed. It featured zancan’s latest physical works, displayed next to the experiments he put together with the Artmatr team since February. The final pieces were as exciting as the experiments, which used various materials from charcoals, ink, pencil, and fabric surfaces. There was also a massive plotter running live during the event.
Besides the artwork, two panels included artists, curators, and founders like Tyler Hobbs, Ix Shells, Sofia Garcia, Seth Goldstein, and Sara Kay—discussing topics related to the bridge between digital and physical art, their art practice, speculation in the space, the emergence of AI art, and more.
Creating physical work gives you more control over how your piece is displayed. When working on a physical piece, you take into account all the factors together with the gallery or exhibition, while in the digital medium you lose control. Your work can be shown on a low definition screen, small thumbnail or over social media feeds, causing less impact and missing key elements.
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Seth Goldstein, the founder of Bright Moments, had some deep thoughts about the role of the art dealer in today’s digital medium. He questioned if art dealers should be forcing artists to mind their supply, to which gallerist Sara Kay replied, “Dealers should guide the artists on how to best perform in the market.”
The topic of NFTs as a speculative vehicle was brought to the table, to which Seth had strong opinions.
The art world has been always speculative. Web 3 and NFTs are just way more transparent and puts it out. Is it all speculation? No.
These artists are working with code, libraries like p5.js, AI models, and multiple advanced technologies that have a lot of meaning and require hard skills.
Bright Moments Seaport Side Gallery
Bright Moments just opened a new pop-up gallery on the Seaside of Manhattan. It was prepared for the release of Agar by Emily Edelman, inspired by abstract expressionism, pixel art, and the grid rules studied in graphic design.
I had the chance to mint immprint by imma (artist in residence) for free, as I was among the ten first to show up. Interestingly, imma represents a digital entity that lives in the metaverse.
Rafik Anadol’s Unsupervised at the Museum of Modern Art
I couldn’t miss visiting Unsupervised by Refik Anadol at MoMA. Let me tell you, it is so good that even these mesmerizing photos don’t give it credit.
The impressive artwork is on the first floor, next to the MoMA entrance. Besides the main display, visitors can mint a “gift from the MoMA,” an NFT called Momento, powered by Autonomy.io wallet on the Tezos blockchain. It was a three click, slick and smooth process.
Proof of People by Vertical Crypto Art
In collaboration with Refraction DAO, the second edition of Proof of People took place in Brooklyn, New York. It featured a similar underground and grungy vibe as the first edition, showcasing diverse digital art, live minting, music performance, and talks spread across a vast warehouse-like place.
Gen2GAN book signing by Dmitry Cherniak x Helena Sarin
I was lucky enough to get one of the 200 editions signed by Dmitry Cherniak and Helena Sarin. The event took place at bitforms gallery in Middle Manhattan, the same gallery hosting the “Code Chronicles” exhibition curated by Aleksandra Art — which I mentioned last week.
Top-class galleries, exhibitions, and solo shows at the heart of Manhattan and Brooklyn are incorporating digital art in bunches. This is a clear sign of exciting things to come for the digital art space.
Many renowned artists and galleries are blending physical and digital art through material creations, hinting at a growing trend of coded and AI art with tangible elements.
Education about blockchain technology is still a challenge, with its complexity and media portrayal creating fear. There is a need to make it more accessible to newcomers and attract curious sightseers in the future.
Until next time,
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Damn that Zancan quote hits hard. Explains why so many artist get burned out a bit. Great work!
Great write 🙌