Your NFT Sold for $ 69 Million, Now What? Beeple turns to a new project and old masters.

Now, Winkelmann is opening up and reveals that he has had a difficult entry into the art establishment despite currently ranking as the third most expensive living artist in the world after Jeff Koons and David Hockney. Rather than chatting with the world’s best collectors and curators, he is primarily focused on launching a new NFT venture next month that will seek to transform historic moments into collectible NFTs. He’s planning to start with tennis star Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon in 2013.

“I wouldn’t say the art world has been too welcoming,” Winkelman said. “Everyone is taking a cautious approach towards me and the NFTs, and I understand that because it all happened so quickly.”

Winkelmann’s skyrocketing rise and bumpy aftermath echo the entire NFT artistic phenomenon, which began to gain traction last fall when digital artists realized they could attach data that was already being used to track cryptocurrencies. on your own pixelated images and sell unique work. the way painters sell original canvases.

In the immediate aftermath of Christie’s sale of Mr. Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,” a gold rush atmosphere swept through the art market, with dozens of artists and galleries clamoring to sell NFT art. The initial fever appears to have subsided, although NFT’s seminal and pioneering artworks created by digital artists such as Pak, Mad Dog Jones and FEWOCiOUS continue to sell at auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips for record sums.

Beeple’s digital collage sold for $ 69 million.


Earning the respect of the art world has not been easy for Winkelmann. Even before the Christie sale, Spike Art magazine critic Dean Kissick dismissed Winkelmann’s lush sci-fi landscapes and political portraits as “images from hell.” After the auction, ArtReview critic JJ Charlesworth wrote an editorial, “Why the art world loves to hate NFT art,” in which he said Beeple’s “pictures suck.”

Collector Scott Lynn, whose firm buys top-notch art, said that Winkelmann’s $ 69 million sale represented “a moment in time when art and the world of cryptocurrency overlapped,” but believes that convergence is over, adding: “He is not going to stand the test of time.”

Others think that the artist is already an icon. Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency collector and investor Jehan Chu has said that Winkelmann is “emblematic of a new digital art movement” and hopes that “the art world will catch up soon.”

Initially, Winkelmann said that he tried to make his mark among the elite of the art world, attending a posh art fair in New York and viewing million-dollar bids at several major auction houses there. He attended a street art conference in Hawaii, but said that in traditional art circles he has often been met with dismay bordering on contempt.

“People in the art world move slowly,” he said. “They look at the change in hundred-year increments, so it’s easy to dismiss me.”

A photo of Andy Murray playing in the final game at Wimbledon in 2013 is part of Beeple’s new NFT project.

AELTC / Matthias Hangst

Winkelmann’s trajectory offers clues to the long-term assimilation prospects of hundreds of NFT artists, as well as cryptocurrency collectors and art buyers who are curious to add digital art to their collections.

Winkelmann said his lifestyle hasn’t changed significantly since the sale of his album. “We went from a Corolla to a Camry,” he said. He also expanded his design studio operations, hired at least seven employees, and increased his footprint from his brother’s garage to 24,000 square feet.

He said he also had to reevaluate what he calls his own “disdainful” attitude toward traditional art, gaining guidance from experts in the art world like Fair Warning auctioneer Loic Gouzer, best known for negotiating the auction of a Leonardo da Vinci of 450 million dollars ”. Salvator Mundi “.

“Art is not as esoteric as I thought it was,” Winkelmann said. “I was very shaky and I used to think art history was stupid, but I realize that I need to know art history if I’m going to move that story forward.”

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, exploded on the digital art scene last year. Proponents say they are a way to make digital assets scarcer and therefore more valuable. WSJ explains how they work and why skeptics wonder if they are built to last. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds / WSJ

He is contemplating becoming a patron of art, he said. Growing up in Wisconsin, the 40-year-old graphic designer and animator said he didn’t collect art, and the walls of his home now in suburban Charleston, SC, remain bare, he said.

His recent foray into the world of fine arts has intrigued him to consider collecting art, both digital and physical. Old masters, in particular, “give me the creeps,” he said. “There is something so relaxing about them.” Traditional art, he thinks, “is already influencing my art in new ways.”

Before his sale of Christie, he says, he began developing his idea of ​​creating NFT from historical moments and auctioning them off.

Although he admitted that there is no practical way anyone could claim to own a publicly experienced moment, he and his new company, WENEW, plan to offer the “most canonically comprehensive” package of physical and digital memories alongside linked in-person celebrity experiences. to important moments in music, sports and comedy during the last half century. Your goal is to sell those packages as NFT.

From July 2-5, his company site will partner with Mr. Murray to auction the athlete’s victory at Wimbledon 2013. Bidding will start at $ 100 and the winner will receive a set of digital images of the winning match. The winner will also be invited to play tennis with him and will receive tickets to attend the next Wimbledon tournament. Most of the proceeds will go to Murray, Winkelmann said, although WENEW and any photographer whose images were used as part of the NFT will also get an undisclosed stake.

WENEW, in association with Wimbledon and Andy Murray, will host its inaugural auction with a single-run NFT of the winning point from Andy Murray’s match at Wimbledon 2013.

Tim Hans / WENEW

Murray, in an emailed statement, called the NFT landscape “an exciting new space and one that I am looking forward to participating in.”

Winkelmann said he hopes people see the company as the “next step in the evolution of collecting,” comparing it to the way baseball cards once “made it possible to collect sports.” But he’s also aware that the company may seem like a bit of a field to those in art circles who are still adjusting to him as a top-of-the-line artist. Winkelmann said he views WENEW as a design-driven effort distinct from his artistic career.

Some in the traditional art world say they are willing to give the artist’s latest project a shot. Art consultant Elizabeth Jacoby said she’s intrigued to see if he can establish a “secondary market for experiences” that doesn’t exist now apart from physical memories. “He’s looking at the NFT market and seeing people, like rock stars and athletes, who couldn’t participate in it, and he’s finding a way to monetize our memories of them in a new dimension,” he said. “I like this idea more than its artistic material.”

Andy Murray wins the men’s singles final on center court at The Championships 2013 in a photo that is part of Beeple’s upcoming NFT.

Bob Martin / AELTC

Write to Kelly Crow in [email protected]

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