The art world has maintained a regular outlook by exhibiting the art of artists in "traditional" gallery exhibitions but the "norm" is beginning to change.

Artists have been showcasing their work in the form of unmade beds (Emin) and livestock cut in pieces with formaldehyde (Hirst). Reinventing themself is a trait of the art world and a common thing. Some of those representations are not always well received by some people but many artists appreciate this as it influences the factor of surprise, shock or change. Nethertheless physical spaces are rather a traditional way of representing their works.

Further out, a survey conducted by Art|Basel (UBS The Art Market) pointed towards a fact that the majority of small art galleries are dependent on a single famous artist for their successful runs. According to Dr. Clare McAndrew (who lead the research report), the galleries are vulnerable after the famous artist leaves and their demise begins to exist as a possibility which is very dangerous. The report also said that about 93 percent of people from the millennials purchase art online on platforms like Paddle8, artnet, or Artsy. This group actually points towards people who are open to trade in a different way. Therefore technology is naturally inspiring distributors and artists to adopt different modes of exhibiting their works with different modes of participation for an interested audience.

Photo by Faurschou Foundation

Virtual Reality (VR) experience is one future

The need for the hour is to assist current rare digital art marketplaces such as MakersPlace to transition into the virtual realm enabled by eg. Cryptovoxels or Decentraland. These are actually two digital- or – to be precise – virtual worlds where trade is possible through cryptocurrency (ETH). A person can digitally visit the world and trade as she/he would do in the real world. She/he can purchase land, stores, art galleries and even open marketplaces to drive sales on their own. So, the possibilities are limitless. The assets inside these worlds are named as parcels and once a user buys a parcel, she/he gets complete ownership of the asset while she/he pays for it in Ethereum ERC-721 (cf. my own article: Predicted antiques of the future).

Image by Decentraland

Decentraland

In 2017 Decentraland made its debut with a custom coin in August of 2017 called MANA. MANA raised a whopping 24 million USD worth of Ethereum in half a minute through an ICO. Currently, 39 million USD market capitalization has been done by MANA. In December of the same year, parcels in Decentraland got to be auctioned and 28 million USD were exchanged for about 1000 to 2000 MANA as the average price of every trade. When the auction completed, MANA spendings were exhausted and its existence was burned away – which reduced the availability of MANA and increased its price in USD. Since then, the same average priced MANA purchase has been done in about 32,000 USD on average. Once Decentraland goes fully online (currently there is only limited access towards developers), users can use their mobiles, web browsers, and VR headsets (like Oculus) to enter the world.

This world has many museums as well – where visitors can see the work of many artists. They can even participate in VR art events to trade real artwork that is showcased in the virtual world. The purchased item will be delivered to their physical home address. The main purpose of the digital museum is (hopefully) to provide the same experience as the traditional one. People will be able to meet and interact with curators, or rent a gallery and showcase their creations towards their target audience.

Image by SuperRare

Cryptovoxels

Ben Nolan started Cryptovoxels on April, 1st 2018 as a side project but it got his full attention in June of the next year. For comparison, the world is like Minecraft where you can use boxes to play with your creativity. However, here you can use images, hyperlinks, texts, art, audio, and even gifs to advertise that can help to make your virtual assets gain value.

Although Ethereum based Cryptovoxels did not see a massive auction, however, it is continuously growing. Initially, it was a small online community and today many of their parcels have been minted and the community is getting bigger at a steady pace and is successfully aiming to "compete" against Decentraland.

Image by xrdevlog.com

Comparison of both Virtual Worlds

The Decentralized Virtual Worlds Report has compiled the following data to compare both approaches.
  

Virtual World Marketcap Current supply Total supply
Decentraland $35,800,000 45,000 parcels 90,601 parcels
Cryptovoxels $142,000 1,246 parcels 3,026 parcels

These figures were as of 25th July 2019.

Image by Acute Art showing Marina Abramovic’s first VR artwork at the 58th Venice Biennale

Important Players Currently In The Field

  • ART404 is using digital metrics available on social media to find the “Sentimental value” of an artist and their work. This will in return be manifested as a gallery where creations of artists can be sold in Ethereum. The details from social media platforms can determine its worth.
  • Synthesis Gallery. The pioneer in art galleries in virtual reality is the synthesis gallery. Its debut was supported by the artwork of Marc Lee, a famous Swiss artist. The gallery included his works from his famous series of “Non-places” and ”10.000 Moving Cities”. Both the series provided insight into how the digital revolution has linked itself with our lives.
  • Anne de Vries. Held in London, Zabludowicz Collection provided a platform for this Dutch artist who tried to portray how technology has affected our perceptions and experiences of the world. The work portrays thoughts how new technologies have rooted themselves in our need to overcome our mental and physical limitations. The artist believes "that science, spirituality, and art have held hands for centuries through the quest of changing our daily life’s reality and our future’s reality".
  • Nikita Shalenny is a Ukrainian artist and architect who works as an artist of mixed-media since 2011. He enjoyed a Public Choice Prize in the same year from “Pinchuk Art Centre” and “Best Installation Prize” in 2015 in Lithuania. Inspired by bridges, he worked on a conjunction piece. It is called “The Bridge” and mixes sculpturing, water coloring, and VR. The work is distributed by Khora Contemporary.
Photo by Anne de Vries
  • DiMoDa. Based in New York, this virtual institution launched TRANSFER Gallery in 2015. Since then they have successfully completed multiple exhibitions based on VR experiences that have been designed by the artists.
  • Bjarne Melgaard And Acute Art. Hailing from Norway, Melgaard joined hands with Acute Art and came up with “My Trip”. A cyberdelic trip in Wonderland of Virtual Reality. This was his first project at Berlin’s Julia Stoschek Collection. This 360-degree experience consists of a combination of cyberdelic aesthetics of a lo-fi glitch form with psychedelic styles of the 60s influenced by art nouveau.
  • Acute Art. Since its creation in 2017, Acute Art is working as a research hub along with a curatorial laboratory for artists. Their mission statement plans to "empower the artists by assisting them in easier access to technology and digital art". Many world-famous artists like Jeff Koons, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, and Marina Abramovic have been assisted by Acute Art in making their digital galleries. The artistic director of this company is Danel Birnbaum who quit his job at Moderna Museet as its director.
  • Artland. Mattis and Jeppe Curth are two brothers from Copenhagen who established Artland in 2016. It’s a "platform for artists and people who are interested in art". They aim to make Artland a platform where people can sell, buy, share, and view art online "just like Zillow" (the real estate platform). They pay international visits to artists and make 3D scans of their art which are then portrayed in a digital gallery designed to replicate the physical space. A million USD were raised in their 1st funding round through Shaka Loveless (songwriter and musician), Andreas Helgstrand (Olympic dressage champion), and Mikkel Hansen (professional handball player). Matterport is the technology driver of this platform.
Video by Artland (on YouTube)

Final thoughts

The world of art is always reinventing itself and the traditional ways are soon going to become obsolete for the new generation that prefers making their deals within the digital realm. Such conditions are favorable for the art world to have a smooth transition into the digital representation world of art and make use of the multiple Augmented Reality applications or – even more extreme – Virtual Reality for art exhibitions and galleries.

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