The World’s First Exhibition About NFTs is Available in Austria, or in the Metaverse
Author: Rachel Martin
Ausstellungsansicht „PROOF OF ART. Eine kurze Geschichte der NFTs,
von den Anfängen der digitalen Kunst bis zum Metaverse“, 11.06. – 15.09.21,
Francisco Cartolinum Linz © OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH, Michael Maritsch
Currently on view at the Francisco Carolinum Linz is the first museum exhibition in the world analyzing the history of NFTs and digital art. Presented by OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH (curated by Jesse Damiani, co-curated by Fabian Müller and Markus Reindl) Proof of Art is an interesting opportunity to analyze a new, still unfolding trend in the art market as well as its full history. In line with the topic of the exhibition, it can be viewed in person in Linz or online through Cryptovoxels, a blockchain-based virtual space.
Currently, NFTs are at their peak in terms of discussions and debates about the future of art and its relationship to digital worlds. As discussed in other blogs, an NFT is a form of digital art, created by adding a unique signature to the work through blockchain technology. This signature becomes a Non-Fungible Token (or NFT) that only the buyer owns, even though people can still view the artwork online. One major goal of many artists and others involved with this movement is a decentralized and accessible art world in which the traditional capitalist marketplace is removed.
Although “NFT” became a buzzword in 2020 and 2021 – exacerbated by the pandemic as well as more accessibility to and understanding of the cryptocurrency market – this concept has a long history. It is this history that Proof of Art seeks to address, as well as discussing the legal questions that arise around such digital works for artists, museums, and collectors. The exhibition sees the need to push the NFT further out of the art market and into the public realm, forcing cultural institutions to “ask fundamental questions about the artistic, material and sociological value of digital art and to give answers”.
OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH is using Proof of Art as an opportunity to bear this challenge and give a history of both the origins of NFTs and their development. This includes the first formative attempts at digital technologies, through the first artistic experiments with the blockchain, to the current CryptoArt available for purchase.
In their own words: “The main question the exhibition investigates is rather simple: what is the development’s basis? Which artists have been working with record-based art before the NFTs turned the world upside down? What were their expectations from decentralization before there was even a hint of monetary output? What does it mean to determine the worth of oneself or one's art? Could technological automation lead to a positive systemic change?”
Source: https://www.ooelkg.at/en/exhibition/exibitions/detail/proof-of-art-eine-kurze-geschickte-der-nfts-v on-den-anfaengen-der-digitalen-kunst-bis-zum-metaverse.html
Proof of Art is an interesting opportunity for artistic newcomers (who are primarily self-taught outsiders of the art world) as well as CryptoArtists who had worked in this medium prior to NFT marketplaces. “All of these artists inform the discussion about the new standards by which art is "successful" and can be received as such”, states the exhibition’s webpage. While dealing with a new system of meaning and values, one must reanalyze the role of the artist in a new technological environment, as well as the effects of these virtual spaces on our everyday life. In the timeline of the exhibition we can see how the original experimental works of the early and mid-2010s have been overcome by works that address the “metaverse'', a hybrid space that combines the physical and digital worlds.
This group show offers the world a unique chance to experience a new artistic movement which intersects with a new technological advancement through various means. Even if one cannot physically fly to Austria in order to experience this collection of works, the nature of the exhibition itself is underlined by its online accessibility.
Proof of Art runs from 10th June- 15th September 2021 at Francisco Carolinum, Linz Museumstraße 14, 4020 Linz, Austria
Opening times: Tues - Sun: 10 am - 6 pm. Closed Mondays
The catalog of the exhibition is available at: https://www.instagram.com/ooe.art/?hl=en