It was all fun as Art Basel conducted its largest-ever event in Miami beach last week. This year’s event marked Art Basel’s landmark 20th anniversary, celebrating two decades of growth in art. This event featured some groundbreaking developments regarding the NFT industry, and we have captured some of them here.
The largest Art Basel event?
Art Basel opened its doors to 282 premiere galleries from 38 countries and territories. There were multiple new exhibitors as well as other international returning exhibitors. Marc Spiegler, the network’s outgoing Global Director, spoke about the event:
“Our 20th edition was not only the largest ever, but also the strongest in terms of the absolute quality of work… And it had the most diverse range of galleries and artistic voices ever present, making this show remarkably rich in discoveries. We are immensely proud of what has been achieved together with our galleries, partners, and the city’s cultural community.”
NFT’s thrived in Art Basel despite the crypto winter
This year’s Art Basel at Miami beach occurred at a time when there were massive crypto winters. However, despite the market being down, the NFT space was probably the biggest winner of this 3-day event.
The preceding Art Basel was held in December 2021. The crypto market was at its strongest point at this time, with BTC trading a little off $60k. Due to the crypto bulls then, there was a strong NFT craze, making digital assets thrive.
It was the general expectation that the crypto winter, especially after the recent fall of FTX, would lower confidence in NFTs, probably affecting their performance at Art Basel. However, it was evident in the event that NFTs can still thrive despite the current situation. There were a lot of positive developments in this period. Here is a recap of some of the most exciting events this year.
Standout events day one
Random International Launches blockchain-powered immersive art installation
As one of the earliest events on day one of Art Basel, Random International launched its newest installation, Living Room. The installation remained on display from December 1st to 4th.
According to reports, VIP visitors to this installation received NFTs for paying a $200 entrance fee. Regular entry tickets were going for $25. The project organizers note that their piece bridges blockchain and immersive art.
Discussion on the future of gaming
Taking center stage was also a lengthy discussion by web3 developers concerning the future of gaming. This was part of a panel titled “The New Wave of Gaming: Interoperability and Empowering Gamers.”
The discussion highlighted how gaming has shifted from a solitary endeavor to more of a socializing system. A former strategy officer at Faze Clan, Kai Henry, mentioned: “It’s a whole new meeting space and social experience.”
According to Faze, web 3.0 allowed gamers to build a career. Betty, the co-founder of Deadfellas, also shared her thoughts, stating that gamers have recently been exploring and understanding the value of excellent communities in gaming.
Porsche introduced an interactive NFT collection
One of the most exciting events in this year’s Art Basel Miami is the introduction of Porsche’s own NFT collection. Porsche AG is a German automobile manufacturer focused on high-performance sports cars, SUVs, and sedans.
According to reports, in the Art Basel Miami event, Porsche forayed into web 3.0 by announcing the inception of its NFT collection. Porsche collaborated with Patrick Vogel, a Hamburg-based 3D artist and designer.
The NFTs created by Vogel rotate around a white Porsche 911. A press release indicates that NFT buyers can influence the design and shape of the NFT. Their reports also indicate that from January 2023, all parties interested will have access to a total of 7500 unique NFTs. The President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc, Kjell Gruner, recently said;
“Porsche has longstanding links to the creative arts and we’re excited to take this next step at Art Basel in launching a beautiful, and of course unique, set of NFTs to allow private ownership of a piece of Porsche art. We’re excited for the launch in Miami, and to witness the work of the NFT owners as their bespoke artwork develops over the course of the coming months.”
Rug radio announces PFP project “Faces of Web3”
Meanwhile, Rug Radio, a decentralized digital native outlet owned by Farooq Darmad, has plans to foray into the web 3.0 landscape. Rug Radio is the best definition of a merge between Radio and Web 3.0.
Farooq announced in a Panel that his radio outlet would be making significant expansions via PFPs. According to reports, the avatar project, titled Face of Web3, will feature several features and combinations.
This project aims to be successful because of a collaboration between Cory Van Lew and Rug radio. Cory Van Lew is known popularly as a multi-faceted artist with some involvement in the web3.
Farooq mentioned that many people in the market still want to see meaning from their PFPs as part of a digital identity. As such, the collaboration will help provide just that. Farooq, however, has yet to provide any further specifics concerning the total supplies and dates.
Standout events day two
Collectibles featuring entertainers launched
The Art Miami Basel also saw the launch of NFTs backed by Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Queen, Tiger Woods, Aaron Judge, Don Mattingly, Stan Lee, Muhammed Ali, and other celebrities in the sports and entertainment industries, all courtesy of the Nifter NFT marketplace.
The value of these rare collectibles ranges from $500 to $15k, with a special 2 of 25 Topps Sterling MJJ card going for $50k. Accordingly, reports show that the rare collectibles and memorabilia are certified by Iconic Authenticated, Upperdeck Signatures, and Topps.
Sources indicate that the launch features art created by Uncuttart, Music by Melky Jean, etc. Nifter plans to continually sponsor events such as Vibes Basel as they commit to enhancing a global presence.
A collaboration between Christie’s auction house and NFT Now led to the creation of an exclusive NFT exhibition at the Art Basel Miami. The general public got the first opportunity to experience the new creation called The Gateway on December 3rd.
The Gateway brought an immersive maze, providing visitors with an audiovisual journey. The guests were then exposed to a corporate lobby and released above the Miami Harbour to explore rooms with the artwork. This journey gave the attendants a chance to experience a merge of physical art and the digital world.
When talking about the event, SuperRare CEO John Crain said:
“SuperRare is pleased to partner with Christie’s and nft now on an incredible showcase of NFT artworks in Miami during art week… This is a major moment for collectors and digital artists as the contemporary art world embraces NFTs and cryptoart.”
Nike x RTFKT reveal their smart footwear line
On Monday 5th, at the Miami Art Basel, Nike and RTFKT revealed their new footwear line Cryptokicks. This was one of the most exciting launches in Art Basel Miami this year. The announcement cemented Nike’s commitment to venture into the metaverse. According to reports, Nike will release around 19 thousand pairs of the Cryptokicks iRL.
Nike notes that people must create RTFKT accounts and enter a public draw for the new shoes. The shoe merges different technologies, including walk detection, auto-lacing, and haptic feedback.
According to reports, the new Nike shoe collection will be the first physical footwear from Nike and could eventually be used to interact with video games.
Nike has in the past announced its plans to venture into the metaverse. Nike methodically laid the groundwork for its foray into the digital landscape. Last year, the wearables giant purchased RTFKT studios, a platform focused on NFT creation. This was the company’s first step in entering the metaverse.
Later, in December 2021, Nike purchased a piece of land in the Roblox videogame in an effort to explore the digital ecosystem. The piece of land Nikeverse would help bring Nike’s metaverse vision into reality. The new launch of a footwear collection makes clear Nike’s plan.
Instagram NFT venture praised
This year’s event came when Meta had already launched some of its NFT-focused products. At the event, Instagram was widely praised for allowing people to showcase their art.
Edward Dowling, the blockchain product lead at Instagram, participated in a Panel discussion on the social network’s web3 journey. The panel included several creators and artists. Dowling mentioned Instagram’s NFT venture mainly targets empowering artists.
Amber Vittoria, one of the panelists, noted that “Instagram circumvented the traditional gatekeepers (middlemen)” who acted as agents representing artists. Instead, now the creators have direct access to cans. Another panelist, Johnson, mentioned that people can now easily buy his art, all courtesy of Instagram’s support to creators.
Standout events day 3
Arcual art-focused blockchain was launched
A new blockchain named Arcual, which prides itself on being an art-focused blockchain, came to life. Following the launch, several extensive art galleries pledged to host some digital pieces in their inventory on the new blockchain. This launch was all courtesy of a collaboration between MCH Group (Art Basel’s parent company) and the Luma Foundation (Zurich Based arts nonprofit).
This new blockchain makes art-focused smart contracts rather than the NFT world. The smart contracts are by themselves not NFTs but art.
The contracts will help institutions, galleries, artists, and collectors enjoy standardized provenance and sales agreements. It will also help in distributing royalties and offering digital certificates of authenticity. This is one of many platforms to offer an Art focused blockchain network. Fairchain and Lobus launched last year with similar services.
Cryptopunk #305 debuts
In the same 3-day event, there was a debut of Cryptopunk #305, commonly called the “virtual lady.” The debut of this Punk brought the entire Cryptopunk community together. In fact, at just about the same time, Cryptopunks tweeted:
“Punk #305 is home, hanging on the walls of @icamiami next to a Warhol. This is where she belongs. She will be on display until December 20th and remain in the museum’s permanent collection.”
According to reports, the photo of the virtual lady was displayed next to Andy Warhol’s piece of art, the “American Lady.” This was part of an exhibit titled “Why Warhol.” Andy Warhol is the uncontested “Greatest Postmodern Portrait Artist,” according to many people. The portraits associated with Warhol’s society have been largely commissioned as an emblem of the society’s status.
Reports indicate that the idea to showcase #305, together with American Lady, helps illuminate some conceptual and aesthetic affinities between Warhol’s portrait and the Cryptopunks collection.
Recently, Bored Ape gazetted that Yuga Labs donated Punk #305 to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami to be part of the “Punks Legacy Project.” Gordon Goner, Yuga Labs co-founder, feels that Punk displayed next to Warhol’s pieces is a big moment. He tweeted: “Can’t get over how monumental this felt for @cryptopunksnfts and the entire NFT ecosystem.”
Nolcha shows returns to Art Basel
Nolcha Shows, an award-winning event, returned this year with a satellite web 3.0 event. Nolcha shows have been producing events regularly for the past 15 years. The creator recently led an entertaining mixed realities fashion event at the World Trade Center in the New York Fashion Week.
According to reports, this year’s shows feature around 50 artists, including Jack Storms, Endstate, Crashpunks, Jo Jerusalem, Gretta Kruesi, Living Opera, Zevi G, Kfir Moyal, AToP, Alex Alpert, GRACE.BTC, Killer GF, Rich Greene, and Super Buddha.
Co-founder of Nolcha Shows, Arthur Mandel:
“It’s only natural for us to spotlight digital artists during Art Basel. Communities gather in person to learn, partner and be creative. Art and fashion are heavily invested in web3 technologies, where the new generation spends their time on mobile, gaming, and collecting digitally. At the cross-section of it all, think, Nolcha Shows.”
ETH co-founder talks on the future of NFTs
The FTX debacle, which began just about a month ago, also got a mention in the Art Basel Miami this year. Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum, spoke with Matt Medved, the CEO and co-founder of NFT NOW. He shared his journey into the blockchain space and even spoke lightly about crypto and NFTs:
“A lot of people have been harmed for millennia by bad centralized systems… I’m grateful that it is going to enable us to drive a narrative that really lays out, in stark terms, the value of decentralization.”
Celebrations in Art Basel are now over. NFTs proved to be reliable assets for arts even in the midst of the coldest crypto season. One thing that stood out is that NFTs are gaining adoption, mainly from institutions. Now, enthusiasts can look forward to next year’s event, which will most likely be held in December.