NFTs might arguably be the most divisive cultural topic of the past five years. Some say that they are the tulips of the 21st century. Others believe that the revolution is here to stay, and will dramatically upend the creative landscape.
Wherever you sit on the spectrum, you cannot deny the effect that NFTs have had on digital art. It’s this conversation that Right Click + Save, an exhibition by Coinhako and Appetite, wants to explore. The seed for this project began when the latter minted its own NFT earlier this year, piquing the interest of Coinhako’s CEO and co-founder Liu Yusho.
Kaushik Swaminathan, general manager and head of research at Appetite, said: “Our worlds collided once again [Swaminathan used to intern with Yusho in 2016], and that a large-scale NFT exhibition would be a meaningful and original partnership. When the qi is right, things fall into place. We put feelers out to artists and collectors, and before we knew it, we were building something really special.”
Swaminathan and Yusho wanted to demystify the technical jargon behind NFTs and prompt viewers to think about the value of digital art in a physical world. For many of us, so used to the idea that information should be freely accessible online, the concept of paying for something that cannot be touched in the flesh is impossible to comprehend.
Some of the NFTs on display include Bitchcoin by Sarah Meyohas, Andy Warhol’s Untitled (Flower) and a RarePepe Genesis (gallery below).
Interestingly enough, curating an NFT exhibition is like building a physical one, according to Appetite’s curator Clara Che Wei Peh. “NFTs introduce a way to track and trace on-chain provenance transparently, and the collecting history behind a work can become a part of the story itself. In curating this exhibition, we worked closely with influential collectors within the space to think about each artwork within crypto art history and the different players within the ecosystem holistically.”
She adds: “Curating an NFT exhibition isn’t so different from a traditional one. We approach each artwork – NFTs or not – with the same rigour, intentionality and thoughtfulness in our curatorial process. We looked to crypto art history and literature to develop a fuller understanding of the space and to understand how we can exhibit digital-native artworks, but we also drew from digital and new media exhibitions within contemporary art spaces to figure out the best modes of display.”
And if you’re wondering whether Peh simply right clicked to save the digital artworks, well, she didn’t. “The exhibited artworks are on loan from the artists and collectors of each work. We worked together closely and got permission from them to show the artworks, in a process similar to how we approach contemporary art exhibitions.”
Right Click + Save is on from now to November 14 at Fine Art Storage Services at Le Freeport.