A Beijing Museum Is Staging the World’s First ‘Major’ Crypto-Art Show, Featuring Artists Named Beeple, Fewocious, and Mad Dog Jones


Get ready for the world’s first NFT art exhibition, coming to the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. NFTs, short for non-fungible tokens, are unique digital assets, individually identified on a blockchain, allowing one person to own a widely disseminated digital artwork.

The show, titled “Virtual Niche—Have you ever seen memes in the mirror?,” is being billed as “the world’s first major institutional crypto-art exhibition.” It will feature works by more than 60 artists, including newly minted market darling Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

The digital artist’s work Everydays—The First 5000 Days is currently for sale in the first-ever purely digital art auction at Christie’s, where bidding is live through March 11. The work currently sits at an astonishing $3.5 million.

The auction house previously auctioned its first NFT artwork, one of Robert Alice’s “Portraits of a Mind” paintings in October for $131,250. The piece, covered in 322,048 digits of hexadecimal code, will be among the works on view at UCCA.

Robert Alice, <em>Block 21 (42.36433° N, -71.26189° E)</em> from "Portraits of a Mind." Photo courtesy of Christie's.

Robert Alice, Block 21 (42.36433° N, -71.26189° E) from “Portraits of a Mind.” Photo courtesy of Christie’s.

NFTs have recently become a major art-market sensation, driven in part by tech investors in cryptocurrency. Last week, another Beeple NFT sold on Nifty Gateway, an online marketplace for digital art, for $6.6 million—1,000 times the $66,666.66 it previously fetched when it first went on sale in October.

“As generational tastes shift, we felt it important to support an exhibition that showcases a demographic’s interest that has had little previous institutional examination,” Elliot Safra, a partner at AndArt Agency, which helped organize the show, said in a statement. “We hope this exhibition will help propel the dialogue surrounding crypto-art from the fringes into the mainstream.”

UCCA is hosting its NTF exhibition through its UCCA Lab, which it describes as “an interdisciplinary platform for new kinds of art-adjacent collaboration.” Sun Bohan, CEO of crypto-art company BlockCreateArt, is the curator, and Digital Finance Group and Winkrypto are co-hosting the show.

Beeple's "Beeple Everydays: The 2020 Collection." Courtesy of Metapurse.

Beeple’s “Beeple Everydays: The 2020 Collection.” Courtesy of Metapurse.

Among the other artists who will have work on view are DJ deadmau5, Mario Klingemann, Robbie Barrat, Pak, Fewocious, and Mad Dog Jones.

The biggest draw will doubtless be “Everydays — The 2020 Collection,” a selection of Beeple’s daily digital drawing series launched in 2007, on loan from Metapurse. The crypto-exclusive fund purchased 20 first-edition artworks on Nifty Gateway for $2.2 million in December, and is selling “tokens” for shared ownership of what they’ve dubbed the B.20 bundle.

“Virtual Niche — Have you ever seen memes in the mirror?” will be on view at UCCA Lab, 798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, March 26–April 4, 2021.

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