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  • New York Times
  • The Art World Returns to a New Normal
  • M.H. Miller
  • 14 June 2021

It’s been a weird year, hasn’t it? Some things haven’t changed since T published its previous online Art issue last summer: We’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, for one. But there are also signs of the bourgeoisie trying to return to normal.

So what does normal mean to the art world in 2021? Allow me to quote from some of the basically illegible press releases I’ve received about nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, a concept I hadn’t heard of before February of this year, and which taken together form a loose narrative arc of the art market’s latest bubble:

  • I’m writing to offer you an exclusive interview with Beeple (a.k.a., Mike Winkelmann) to discuss the first ever crypto art NFT auction going live with Christie’s this week.
  • Results: Beeple’s Purely Digital NFT-Based Work of Art Achieves $69.3 Million at Christie’s.
  • The Urs Fischer NFT release marks the first time a major gallery enters the world of crypto art.
  • John Gerrard will release an NFT of his iconic environmental artwork “Western Flag” today at 6 p.m. E.D.T. … This will be the first “superneutral” NFT in the marketplace. [Editor’s note: The word “superneutral,” despite the scare quotes, is never fully defined. I still don’t know what it means.]
  • Artist FRIDGE Releases an Invisible NFT Artwork With a Billboard Happening
  • Sotheby’s will offer Pak’s highly anticipated NFT artworks through a novel multi-day day [sic?] drop on Nifty Gateway, redefining our constructions of value & ownership.
  • 3,000+ Buyers Propel Sotheby’s Debut NFT Sale by Pak to $16.8 Million.
  • In a groundbreaking moment for the NFT space, Natively Digital will introduce a new category of NFTs: the intelligent NFT or iNFT. … Centered around the idea of bringing an art manifesto to life, Robert Alice and Alethea AI present a character that can discuss with the audience the nature of itself alongside any subject the viewer wishes to discuss. With each question asked, the iNFT will continue refining itself, reflecting the audience’s input. [Editor’s note: Yikes.]


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