“Tbh, almost everything I’ve seen of NFT artworks makes me cringe or confused. Hopefully whatever I make produces a similar response." - Rob Pruitt
The contemporary art world today displays its embrace of the NFT (non-fungible tokens) marketplace with the news of 10x10 auctions (drops), whereby ten major contemporary artists will show inaugural, solo NFT artworks over a ten consecutive week period in an exclusive partnership with Verisart, the pioneering blockchain certification platform, and SuperRare, the leading NFT art marketplace. While NFTs have become popular and transformative mostly with digital and emerging artists, this auction signals a broadening of reach and market maturity in both the participation of established, contemporary artists and in terms of the mechanisms for authentication, licensing and provenance via both Verisart and SuperRare.
In 10x10, each week a leading artist will drop an original, Verisart certified NFT work on SuperRare beginning on Monday March 1st for a ten-week period. Artists include Shepard Fairey, Random International, Neïl Beloufa, Petra Cortright, Jonathan Yeo, Universal Everything, AES+F, Mark Titchner, Michael Joo and Rob Pruitt.
“The opportunity that NFTs bring to the entire value chain in the art world fundamentally changes the market as we know it. The explosive growth we’ve witnessed with NFTs over the last month has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Robert Norton, CEO and co-founder of Verisart, stated. “As with any new market, trust, transparency and guard rails are absolutely critical. Verisart is ahead of the challenge that many contemporary artists face selling works online with our blockchain approach to authenticity and dynamic certification.”
The 10x10 auction shows the opportunity for range and inclusivity in the NFT space, with participating artists coming from mediums including painting, sculpture, video, installation and street art. Represented by galleries such as Pace, Kamel Mennour and 303 Gallery, their works have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, Venice Biennale, MoMA, LACMA, Centre Pompidou among many others.
Shepard Fairey, whose acclaimed body of art includes the 2008 "Hope" portrait of Barack Obama found at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, states: “Art has power. I'm interested in using art to raise awareness for the important political and social issues of our time. Power has many forms and is embraced or feared depending on who that power benefits, who it oppresses, who it uplifts, and who wields it.”
The first work to come to auction on Monday, March 1 is by French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa. Historically, Beloufa’s NFT marks the first time an NFT has been displayed and incorporated into a major museum, whereby the NFT is a part of the physical art at his new solo show, “Digital Mourning,” at the Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan. NFTs provided a way for Beloufa to connect to the physical and digital realms.
“The three artworks in this exhibition, the ‘hosts’ of my show, give the visitors advice about what they should watch. By defining them as NFTs, it affirms their existence on the internet on an immaterial level and characterizes them and the subjects of the exhibition in an interesting way,” explained Beloufa.
Artists and collectors alike are seeking out NFTs for their benefits, whereby Verisart authenticates identity and uses blockchain technology for dynamic authentication and overcomes challenges in the physical art market, including licensing, royalties, provenance and authentication.
“In the past year, SuperRare has experienced record growth and revenue volume, with over 10 million dollars earned by both artists and collectors,” said John Crain, CEO and co-founder of SuperRare. “It’s great to collaborate with Verisart and the various artists on the platform we built to break down barriers to access for digital art, all while bringing a collaborative, creative social network for art and expression in which individuals earn money, build an engaged following, and have proof of ownership and authenticity of digital artworks.”
Each Monday at 6 p.m. GMT/ 1 p.m. EST over 10 weeks, a Verisart certified NFT by one of the participating artists will be available for bidding on SuperRare. Each auction will run for 72 hours, closing on Thursdays at 6 p.m. GMT/ 1 p.m. EST. The first auction will start on March 1, with Neïl Beloufa’s work.
Several artists in 10x10 will use Verisart’s Fair Trade Art certificate, which provides greater transparency and verification for artists as they donate a portion of the proceeds of the artwork sale to charitable causes.