2021 was no doubt the year of crypto art, seeing an explosion of interest and transformation in the NFT space. From digital native artists to the fine art world, creatives debuted innovative projects and collections that challenged our perception of art and what’s possible in the crypto space. To mark the end of 2021, we asked leaders in the NFT arena to reflect on their top drops of the year.
Pak released “The Fungilbe” collection, leveraging blockchain technology and NFTs. Experimenting with digital art and ideas around value, the collection featured Open Editions that let buyers acquire—for a fixed rate—as many fungible cubes as they’d like within a set amount of time. The open edition was $500 at release, with some having sold for over $56 thousand in secondary sales.
“Lost Poets” by Pak included 65,536 obtainable NFTs and 1024 origin NFTs and is both a collection and strategy game released in stages. The first number is inspired by the number of poets in The Library of Babel waiting to be discovered, the second from their number of origins. Each is AI-created for a specific purpose, all unique from one another. Pages were 0.32 $ETH at release and several traded for many times that.
“Human One” was Beeple‘s first-ever physical artwork. The life-size video sculpture is perpetually updated remotely by the artist and accompanied by an NFT representing the underlying digital assets. Inviting buyers experience the work anew, via a pool of imagery the artist will continue to add to through his lifetime, this is a unique journey between artist and collector, physical and digital art.
Unsupervised – MOMA
Since 2016, Refik Anadol Studio has been working on “Machine Hallucinations”—a mulit-channel curated experience of AI and human consciousness. “Unsupervised” pulls from MoMA’s collection of 138,151 pieces, creating a transformative experience of over 200 years worth of art embedded in 1024 dimensions. Sorted into image datasets and clusters of themes, the ever-expanding universe of data results in new art forms altogether. It imagines, “What would a machine mind dream of after “seeing” the vast collection of The Museum of Modern Art?”
Machine Hallucinations – Coral
Refik Anadol debuted “Machine Hallucinations: Coral” for the launch of Aorist, with a monumental screen installed right on the beach at Faena Hotel Miami Beach during Miami Art Week. The digital work is based on millions of photographs of underwater corals, interpreted by AI to create a mind-bending, mesmerizing loop of shifting shape, color, and movement. Proceeds from the sale of the collection are donated to The ReefLine, an artificial reef, marine habitat, and sculpture park in Miami Beach.
Andres Reisinger – RAC – Arch Hades
Aorist and Christie’s
“Arcadia” is a collaborative short film created by Andres Reisinger, RAC, and Arch Hades, released with Aorist at Christie’s. Engaging the collective existential crisis of the 21st century, it combines poetry with digital art and msic. Themes of anxiety, lonliness, rebellion, passion, and beauty are imagined over chapters that pay homage to philosophers, poets, artists, writers, and more.
Urs Fischer created 500 original NFTs, each a digital sculpture created with two unique, everday objects colliding in motion (a canvas and soup can; a red glove and VHS tape; a watch and a set of dentures; etc.). The work CHAOS #501 is made from all 1,000 individual objects combined. Each NFT includes a reference rendering, the data to construct the work in any digital space, and a set of instructions.
Eroding and Reforming Bust of Rome (One Year)
Daniel Arsham launched his first series of NFTs, in collaboration with digital art sale platform Nifty Gateway.The first NFT to be released, Eroding and Reforming Bust of Rome, was a three-dimensional sculpture that Arsham fashioned after a bust from the Louvre’s collection. Positioned in the center of a virtual courtyard surrounded by a lush garden, the sculpture and its surrounding space evolve in real time—which sees the bust slowly deteriorate and rebuild itself over the span of a year, as the trees around it blossom and wilt. The series draws on Arsham’s interactions with the choreographer Merce Cunningham and the artist and composer John Cage, whose practices both followed concepts surrounding the passing of time.
Aku The Moon God
Micah Johnson has created the story of Aku told over 10 animated NFT chapters. As the story unfolds, each collector of the successive chapters gathers more information on what’s next for Aku. Full of larger meanings and exciting easter eggs, the interactive tale comes with its own rewards and responsibilities for owners of each chapter.
Hideki Tsukamoto created a collection of 1024 pieces. Each artwork that makes up “Singularity” is unique, created by the generative artist to explore themes of symmetry, chaos, mass, force, and turbulence driven by data extracted from the transaction hash.