T his April, Sotheby’s New York is delighted to present the third edition of Natively Digital, celebrating the revival of generative art in new forms on the blockchain. This hybrid sale offers both NFTs and physical works, retracing the history of the generative art movement from the 1960s to the most sought after artists of today.
This historical group of works includes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire the genesis NFTs of three historically important pioneering “OG” digital artists: Vera Molnar, Chuck Csuri and Roman Verostko. From Molnar’s performative protocol to Verostko’s web-based Universal Turing Machine, and Csuri’s self-portraiture, these freshly minted masterworks reconfirm the well deserved stature of these artists.
All three of these groundbreaking artists are also offering historical pieces that helped define the very field of computer art, including Csuri’s iconic Sine Curve Man, a Verostko Illuminated Turing Machine plotter drawing with gold leaf, and a rare Molnar 1% de désordre plotter piece (any of which would be a highlight in a contemporary auction of systems and computer art).
The term “Generative Art” mistakenly leads some to believe a computer has usurped the creative act, but nothing could be further from the truth. From the initial, creative act of writing the algorithmic code, to the frequent active interventions and roles of chance and randomness, generative art works depend on the human touch of the artist at multiple stages in their creation. The results of all of these are felt in the works of art stars Dmitri Cherniak, Tyler Hobbs, Manolo Gamboa Naon, ix shells, and Iskra Velitchkova, whose poetic pieces are as emotive as any drawn by hand.
Rounding out the auction and leading us into the future are a selection of pieces using artificial intelligence in a number of exciting ways. Anne Ridler takes on an exhaustive database-driven project that investigates the meaning of time and ways in which computers have shaped our perception of chronology. Anne Spalter brings viewers on a wild ride through a richly textured AI landscape of the future that uses custom tools to bring narrative to this new genre. Sofia Crespo explores ways in which AI can become a new type of naturalist in the hands of artists, and Pindar van Arman breaks fresh ground with the use of quantum computing to generate time-based work using superpositioning.
From the constructivist power of the simplest lines and squares to the most advanced and complex types of computation available today, Natively Digital 1.3: Generative Art represents a stunning series of firsts and high notes.