In the wake of Christie’s record-breaking sale of Beeple’s non-fungible token, ‘The First 5000 Days’, comes lot 11 A: nine twenty-four by twenty-four pixelated heads. These so-called ‘Cryptopunks’ are estimated to sell between seven and nine million dollars USD, and like Beeple’s NFT are utterly virtual. They are the next erosion in the thinning membrane between the art world and digital, or perhaps more precisely old wealth and bitcoin.
The kind of questions one might typically ask of art - is it beautiful, what does it say about life, history and identity and so forth - are strangely moot in the face of Cyrptopunks. The fruit of an algorithm written by technologists Larva Labs, these randomly generated NFTs (aesthetically inspired by British punks) are about the machinations of value. They ask, with the thrill of a Silicon Valley start-up or a Pokemon card collector, what is someone willing to pay to own the intangible; what’s the value of ownership in and of itself?
In his work ‘after LARVA LABS 9 Cryptopunks fungible token’ Philippe Le Miere joins the NFT conversation. Rather than create a digital work of art however, he paints the Cyptopunks, evoking the storied tradition of appropriation art. Translated from pixel to paintbrush, these strange characters are like Warhol’s Marilyn Monroes. They refract against the dizzying ends of postmodernism. As art moves further from the physical to the conceptual and now digital, what’s gained and lost? What’s art without beauty and value without meaning?
For collectors of contemporary and pop art, journey into Le Miere’s brave new world. As one half of Larva Labs told Christie’s, “welcome to the future”. How does it look?
Philippe LE MIERE (1975 - )
'after LARVA LABS 9 Cryptopunks fungible token' 2021
acrylic on canvas
Image Size: 51 x 38 cm
Dimensions: 51 x 38 cm
Signed: Signed lower right Le Miere, inscribed verso Philippe Le Miere, title and date
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Work of art comes unframed to allow for safe and economical shipping. Contact us if you would like to arrange for this to be professionally framed.
Availability: in stock
Condition:As New: The work of art is in the same immaculate condition as when it was created. This could be the description for a work of art that may have been in storage for years, never sold on the market but may still be some years old.
© The Artist or Assignee