Christie’s was there at the height of non-fungible token (NFT) hype when it became the first international auction house to put up a cryptoasset for sale. It hosted, and sold, Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days on March 11 for a show-stopping S$93.8 million (US$69 million). The house has continued to sail on that craze since then, racking up over S$126 million in NFT sales to date – more than double any competitor, states a press release.
It’s no wonder, then, that despite the cooling of the digital art market – NFT sales have dropped nearly 90 per cent since their peak in early May – Christie’s is continuing to drive demand in the sector, even as pundits declare the death of the NFT bubble.
They’re not offering digital art though. Instead, the auction house is bringing to bear ten design NFTs by modern day Renaissance man Misha Kahn. Instead of digital oeuvres, he will be presenting a rendered 3D model that morphs into various furniture types, along with a corresponding video of the design piece spinning on a pedestal.
The New York-based designer first gained recognition when he was featured in the Museum of Arts and Design’s Biennial in 2014, with many of his works finding space in museums across the world as well as permanent homes in fine arts museums across the US. He’s spent plenty of time working with physical mediums like glass, textiles, metal and cement, which is why it’s only natural that he’d eventually find himself in the digital space as well.
That said, this NFT auction is unlike the others that’ve preceded it at Christie’s: the eventual owner of each of the ten lots may 3D-print as many examples of their NFT as they’d like, as well as commission a unique, signed example for Kahn to create in a material that both parties are happy with.
That’s not to say that Christie’s is losing confidence in the ability to draw eager bidders with purely virtual assets alone.
The NFT market is in its young days yet. Declaring its death in a matter of months seems, at best, to be a little shortsighted – particularly when the stakeholders of the nascent art sector is evolving as quickly as ever.
Christie’s Furniture Unhinged will run from August 18 to 24.