NFTs to date: The need for curation.
NFTs will be considered one of the groundbreaking artistic breakthroughs of the century. They have risen to prominence since first entering the global stage late last year, moving from a subversive creative counterculture to artistic and media mainstream in a matter of months. And yet, the art and crypto worlds alike are still asking questions surrounding the idea of NFTs as a medium, their unique art history, and the increasing need for a curated view of the space. What we do know is that day by day NFTs continue to redefine the very nature of both art and the artist's place in the world.
The importance of the curator has risen to the forefront with the unprecedented growth of the NFT space. The curator’s role is to observe the current ecosystem of NFTs, understand intimately the history of this medium, and identify the trends, preferences, and technical innovation that indicates where the space is moving towards. Co-curated by Sotheby’s and Robert Alice, our first NFT group show is an artist-led survey of the many strands that comprise this emerging cultural ecosystem. The NFTs in this sale present our view of the most historically important works produced to date alongside a diverse selection of groundbreaking artists working in the space. Introducing Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale.
Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale
Natively Digital is a collection of remarkable, unique artworks co-curated with Robert Alice. We showcase some of the earliest, raw NFTs built on pre-Ethereum chains alongside newer, complex NFTs that showcase the cutting edge technical innovation. From across four continents, we have sourced emerging crypto artists and the ‘old masters’ alike to exhibit their works. The landmark auction will provide an opportunity for collectors, curators, and enthusiasts to focus on the emerging ideas and aesthetics contained within these works. The Natively Digital auction will occur between June 3 and June 10 online at sothebys.com.
The Natively Digital sale is curated with Robert Alice. Robert Alice is a London based artist and pioneer in the crypto art and NFT space. He is best known for the landmark work, Portraits of a Mind (2019 -). A global art project to decentralise Bitcoin's codebase into 40 fragments, the project is currently globally decentralised to 15 cities on 4 continents, from San Francisco to Tokyo, including a number of institutional collections to be announced later this year.
“Firsts” in the Natively Digital Sale
In a Sotheby’s first, Natively Digital will feature the work of one artist nominated by the crypto and digital art communities. Starting today, Sotheby’s will accept nominations and personal submissions for NFT artists whose work the community believes should be featured on the global stage in this historic collection. The nomination process will be facilitated exclusively on Twitter and take place starting today, May 18, and will close at 9:00am UTC on May 21. Sotheby’s will announce the artist selected for the community submission at x on May 21. For more details on how to nominate an artist, visit xyz.
Natively Digital will also feature the first-ever intelligent NFT (iNFT), To the Young Artists of Cyberspace, built by the show’s curator Robert Alice in collaboration with synthetic media company Alethea.ai. This category-defining piece is a 3D humanoid avatar that uses GPT-3 technology to communicate intelligently with its viewers, making it one of the most technologically advanced NFTs ever made or available at auction. Centered around the idea of bringing an art manifesto to life, Robert Alice and Alethea.ai present a living, breathing document delivered through an A.I.-powered character called Alice. Using seed text written by Robert Alice as the basis for Alethea’s proprietary AI model, the avatar has been coded with its own personality and will answer any questions on the nature of itself and NFTs, ranging from the profound to the absurd. With each question asked, the artificial intelligence that sits behind the work will continue refining itself. To the Young Artists of Cyberspace offers the audience the ability to converse with an iNFT and a collector the ability to own every experience, exploring ideas around owning and collecting intelligence itself.
Natively Digital Sale Overview
Larva Labs, CryptoPunk 7523
Larva Labs, Autoglyph #177
Terra0, Two Degrees
Rhea Myers, Secret Artwork (Content)
Kevin McCoy, Quantum
Serwah Attafuah, Creation of My Metaverse (Between this World and the Next)
Sarah Zucker, Self Transcending
Matt Kane, Minutes after Claude Monet
Don Diablo, INFINITΞ FUTURΞ
Mad Dog Jones, Visor
LaJuné McMillian, Self-Portrait 2
Mario Klingemann, Mitosis
Art Block, 19 works in the lot
Anna Ridler, The Shell Record
Casey Reas, There's No Distance 2.1
Brendan Dawes, The Pandora Variations
Robert Alice x Alethea AI, To the Young Artists of Cyberspace
Pak, to be announced
Simon Denny, Backdated NFT/ Ethereum postage stamp (2016-2018-2021)
Ryoji Ikeda, A Single Number That Has 10,000,086 Digits
Addie Wagenknecht, Believe Me v1.1
Sara Ludy, Sky Lapis
Ikaro Cavalcante, Perennial Links
Lethabo Huma, The Self
Community Submission Artist, to be announced. See Sotheby’s Twitter for more information.
The pre-sale exhibition will be viewable in collaboration with Samsung at Sotheby’s headquarters in London, New York and Hong Kong and across the metaverse, making it the largest multi-venue NFT exhibition to date. Details to come. Browse the entirety of the Natively Digital sale here.
Sotheby’s is proud to have developed portions of the Natively Digital sale in collaboration with partners from across the ecosystem of art and technology.
Sevens Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to elevating artists. They provide a framework for curators and organizations to connect through art exhibitions and grants with charitable or benevolent intentions. Sevens Foundation empowers emerging artists by highlighting them, operating pro-bono, taking 0% profits, and providing a unique and innovative tool for collaboration. Learn more.
Mint Foundation is a community-run and funded project helping international creators to mint their first digital art NFTs, with a focus on the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. Along with providing artists with a Mint Fund grant, we also offer guidance and mentorship about how to approach the crypto space. Since the Mint Fund was created in February 2021, supporters have donated over 33 Ether to provide gas fees for artists in the program. Learn more.
Regen Network is the open marketplace for climate solutions. Regen Network’s platform aligns economics with ecology to drive regenerative land management. Regen Registry allows land stewards to sell their ecosystem services to buyers around the world, functioning to reverse climate change, and improve their soils, through incentivized carbon removal.
Samsung and Sotheby’s have partnered to display the Natively Digital NFTs in Sotheby’s physical gallery in NYC.