How NFTs are revolutionizing the art market

By integrating the concepts of property and rarity into the digital world, NFTs have enabled the emergence of a market for artists in the sector as well as for galleries and collectors.

In March 1847, playwright Ernest Bourget and composers Paul Henrion and Vincent Parizot sat at a table in the café concert Les Ambassadeurs. They hear many of their songs performed by different artists. And then the waiter comes to present the note on their drinks. They then refuse to pay it and claim that this establishment has just distributed their compositions without paying them!

A trial ensued, and surprise, the judge ruled in favor of the three creators. This incident led to the creation of Sacem in 1850, who then endeavored to honor songwriters for the exploitation of their works.

So much to say: itappearance from digital and D ‘The Internet was not kind to the creators and originally represented a clear setback. Digital art gained momentum during the 1990s with artists such as Evan Roth, Gregory ChatonskyMaurice Benayoun or Ubqui, who have developed what has been called “Net Art”, using digital tools and sometimes alsoartificial intelligence. Only then has digital established a new state: a musical work, a photography or an animation is never more than an exact sequence of 0s and 1s and as such can be duplicated indefinitely. Photographers have thus discovered on the internet that their images could be reproduced from place to place without respect a priori of any right. And from 1997, the exchange of songs in MP3 format caused panic in record companies as well as among songwriters, especially as it was fashionable in certain deliberately demagogic magazines to explain to all of them that on the Internet, art was in principle free. Singer Tori Amos had then had this healthy reflection that she declared herself ready to offer her music the day she would walk into her bakery and the croissant would be free! At the time, the record industry managed to bring the Napster website, which promoted illegal music downloads, to its heels, but could not prevent other services like uTorrent from taking over.

Digital technology had therefore created a situation that was generally unfavorable to artists who were easily deprived of their rights and unable to assert a notion of rarity.

The emergence of NFT has therefore represented a revolution: this technology allows the appropriation of a work, whether to indicate its author or its purchasers, and it paves the way for potential rarity.

NFT birth certificate

that NFT phenomenon is newer. We usually place its outbreak in 2017 with the parallel appearance of Cryptokitties and Cryptopunkers. Dieter Shirley, co-founder of Dapper Labs (Cryptokitties) is the originator of the ERC-721 standard, which laid down the specific rules for NFTs. An NFT can be compared to one certificate of inviolable authenticity since inscribed on one blockchain.

For digital artists, the situation has completely changed. As NFT certifies that a work is linked to its creator and that it identifies the chain of successive buyers, it has become possible to assign a value to JPG, video clips, interactive animations, works that are the result of artificial intelligence … Platforms like Rarible or OpenSea have given everyone the opportunity to put works protected in this way online and even set the price, sale, number of copies available. While they can be blamed for this overtly lenient approach, open galleries like OpenSea have played a role similar to the one that Amazon could have in self-publishing by directly exposing authors like Agnès Martin-Lugand to the public.

The emergence of a digital art market

It was from the end of 2020 that the NFT sector saw prices rise. So that they came from a computer code, Cryptopunks from Larva Labs have seen their ratings reach new heights. Other “collector’s items” of the same type, Bored Apes, experienced a similar phenomenon.

Traditional galleries had traditionally shown distrust of the virtual universe. The emergence of NFTs has led them to reconsider their position. Famous galleries, such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s, have now included this type of art in their offerings, offering artists an unexpected aura in passing. A typical digital artist, Beeple, who until then had not managed to sell a work over $ 100, could thus break record after record. In March 2021, during a sale organized by Christie’s, the work Weekdays: The first 5,000 days de Beeple was won for $ 69.3 million.

The fashion world quickly showed interest in sponsoring art NFTs, thus contributing to the diversity of opportunities to sell digital art. Thereby, Guerlain associated the sale of representations of bees, the cryptobes, with the possession of a package of a nature reserve near Rambouillet. And in late June 2022, Gucci opened a crypto art gallery in collaboration with SuperRare: Vault Art Space.

Make possible what was not possible before

One of the main points of NFTs is to give artists opportunities that did not exist before. Here are some examples.

Promoting the fleeting

Some works are essentially volatile, such as sculptures on ice or in true. that street art is another example. As a rule, these types of artists paint on walls public buildings in a city, near highways or in places where they are located, for example an unused building belonging to a bank or a town hall. Since they are not the owners of those supports, they cannot sell their creations.

However, from the moment of working with street art is photographed on its original support and connected to an NFT, it becomes possible to sell it. Thus, in June 2022 Maison Boischaut offered painters that street art to utilize their creations in the form of NFT. It is, in fact, for such artists, the opening of a hitherto non-existent market.

To break geographical boundaries

Some artists develop in countries where it is not easy for them to distribute their works, or even to transfersilver… The possibility of placing a snapshot of a work on an online gallery such as OpenSea or Rarible, again opens up an unprecedented possibility, implying that they will be paid in cryptocurrencies.

art photography

Photographers have traditionally practiced what are known as numbered art prints. The number of copies must be less than or equal to 30. However, it is usually necessary for the person arranging such a draw to go through a gallery or a page such as. Art coupleand the audience is usually small or elitist.

For photographers, NFT opens up new ways of selling their art and the ability to attract new audiences. The buyer, in turn, is free to decide what use he wants to make of the image in question:

  • digital prints placed under glass;
  • reproduction on canvas;
  • reproduction on a wallpaper

Thus, photographic art becomes more “malleable” in relation to its use.

Can NFT be interesting for classical artists?

What about classical artists, those who prefer to stick to traditional tools (painting, sculpture …) and also some collectors who make it a point of honor to avoid the digital?

The sometimes misunderstood view is that an artist, even if he has sold a work to an individual or to a museum, still and always has a subsequent right of use. If he has taken a photograph of his work, he is entitled to make one lithograph, a numbered print, to reproduce it in a beautiful book or even, if he wanted to, on a medium like a T-shirt – but at the risk of alienating his favorite audience. Either way, NFT gives such an artist an extra opportunity to leverage a creation.

What may deter a traditional artist, however, is the prospect of seeing his works live together, in places like OpenSea or Rarible, with creations of every kind, some of which are far from deserving of the artistic brand. However, various initiatives have emerged to make the sector more frequent eyes industry people. First of all, there are more elitist platforms like SuperRare, Zora or Foundation that practice what is called “curation” (selection of works hosted in their galleries). For his part start up Pour intends to create a platform where collectors can purchase NFTs ” from people with a good reputation in the art world Also the gallery Return, is proud to host NFTs from renowned artists such as Lucas Samaras, but also Jeff Koons, one of the world’s highest rated living artists. The latter plans to forward Moon 125 miniature versions of his sculptures Moon phases and planned to sell, as NFTs, a photograph of their location on the Moon.

Public domain and plagiarism

The NFT field knows its youth mistakes: in January 2022, OpenSea had to admit it via -one tweet : 80% of the files uploaded online using the tool specific to this platform were “plagiarism, fraudulent collection and Spam OpenSea says they have taken drastic measures to curb this movement.

On the side NFT artists’ rightscalls on several artists’ estates – including those from the Picasso and Magritte families – to build the NFT market with respect for artistic property rights.

It must be borne in mind in the clearest possible way that, in accordance with the rules applicable to copyright, established at international level, any reproduction and dissemination to the public of a work of art, whether in whole or in part, can only take place with the consent of the artist or his successors. »

The marketing of a work in connection with an NFT is no exception to this rule: no one is authorized to publish a digital work on a sales platform or to inject it into a metaverswithout the consent of the artist or his successors (heirs, foundations, etc.). »

It is the responsibility of anyone considering an NFT project related to an artist’s work to ensure that the necessary permissions are obtained from the rightholders or the competent copyright collective management organizations. »

And to mention the fact that more than a thousand fraudulent works and forgeries have been removed from NFT sales platforms.

Clearly, the young universe of NFTs is changing. After’euphoria in 2021, the market experienced a significant decline from $ 945 million in August 2021 to $ 101 million in May 2022 according to Clare McAndrew, author of a report on the subject. But if some want to see a parallel with the Internet bubble in the late 1990s, it’s easy to remind them that aftercollapse In the spring of 2000, this sector has seen the emergence of many giants Google, Facebook Where Twitter. Seen from this angle, the NFT market seems to have a bright future ahead of it.

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