Christie’s is now the leading purveyor of high-end memes after an NTF for a Beeple sold for $69 million at auction. Now there’s a sentence that would have made zero sense 10 years ago. Hell, who am I kidding, it barely makes sense now. But it does clearly illustrate what an absolute scam the concept of money is (see also: fine art). This is a perfect example of one of the situations I often find myself in when trying to explain something I’ve written on Dlisted to my aunt who is in her 70s. Where do you begin? How do you explain a Beeple to a woman who still uses AOL?
Seriously, please help. Reader, that woman is me (but I only use that email for signing petitions, I swear!). Ok, let’s break this down. According to The Verge, Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist known as Beeple, is now “among the top three most valuable living artists” after an NTF (non-fungible token) for his collage titled Everydays – The First 5000 Days sold at auction for $69 million.
Christie's is proud to offer "Everydays – The First 5000 Days" by @beeple as the first purely digital work of art ever offered by a major auction house. Bidding will be open from Feb 25-Mar 11.
— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) February 16, 2021
Because the art is digital, the buyer doesn’t actually receive anything tangible. But they can use it as their computer background with the full knowledge that they actually own it unlike everyone else who just right-clicked on that shit like I just did. I’ll let you know if the art cops show up. Go ahead and try it! The Verge reports:
The record-smashing NFT sale comes after months of increasingly valuable auctions. In October, Winkelmann sold his first series of NFTs, with a pair going for $66,666.66 each. In December, he sold a series of works for $3.5 million total. And last month, one of the NFTs that originally sold for $66,666.66 was resold for $6.6 million.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique files that live on a blockchain and are able to verify ownership of a work of digital art. Buyers typically get limited rights to display the digital artwork they represent, but in many ways, they’re just buying bragging rights and an asset they may be able to resell later. The technology has absolutely exploded over the past few weeks — and Winkelmann, more than anyone else, has been at the forefront of its rapid rise.
Yes, someone has been profoundly punked.
— beeple (@beeple) January 8, 2021
And if Kanye West hadn’t wasted all his money on running for president, it would probably have been him. The Verge reports:
The piece that was sold, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, is a collage of Winkelmann’s work starting at the beginning of the project, when he was posting somewhat crude sketches. It runs through years of evolving digital shapes and sceneries up through the beginning of this year, when he was posting extremely crude political illustrations.
The auction’s winner doesn’t get much: a digital file, mostly, plus some vague rights to present the image. But Winkelmann expects to work with the buyer to find various ways to display the piece physically, whether that’s on a TV in their house or projected onto “the side of a fucking building” at Art Basel.
I still don’t get it, and I don’t think I ever will. And I’m OK with that. And at the end of the day, it will be easier for me to explain this story to my aunt than the time I tried to explain to her who Bella Thorne is. Here’s Beeple explaining how he shaved the wool off all those sheeple.