In the course of the month of May, 2 hundred people paraded through the Galería Habana art gallery to find out about a particularly novel phenomenon akin to NFT (Non-Fungible Token) art: digital works that could be bought and sold like several other sort of property, but that don’t have any tangible form and are offered as unique and inconceivable to repeat.
Even though it just isn’t a substantial attendance, the influx of tourists does give a measure of the interest aroused by the exhibition What’s real/art, curated by María Lucía Bernal, director, and Viviana Vázquez, essential specialist of the gallery, who brought together the digital works by Raúl Cordero, Humberto Díaz, Felipe Dulzaides, Luis Gómez, Octavio Irving and Mabel Poblet; six renowned creators, some with more experience than others in artistic and digital experimentation, but all well informed on the topic.
Fundamentally, academicians, artists and critics gathered on this space to approach the world of NFT, still not fully understood by many individuals. The exhibition opened a door to questions that, perhaps, have already been answered in other latitudes, where NFT art has existed for a lot of hours. Many young artists make up this community in Cuba, which at first was not only made up of visual artists, but additionally gamers, influencers and designers.
Nft.FAC: all Cuban arts within the digital universe
What’s real/art is the primary exhibition of its kind in a physical gallery on the Island, although in Fábrica de Arte, last January, a virtual sample of 34 artists was exhibited on the Open Sea platform. Singular can be the catalog of the exhibition, a cardboard cube designed by Víctor López and the Remache Estudio group, with the QR code that permits access to the text and the pieces of every artist.
Your entire organization of the exhibition, including the museography, has been conceived from probably the most advanced production. The curators’ text is an example of synthesized details about NFT art, its characteristics and the assumptions that led each specialists to enterprise into the project.
On the phenomenon of crypto art, they state: “Despite all of the controversy generated around NFTs or precisely due to it, it’s interesting to expand the works which can be presented within the digital space to the physical space. What’s real/art is channeled into this effort, which goals to play with these concerns, show a part of the Cuban art scene that’s venturing into this recent medium, and reveal dark areas within the technique of creating an NFT. The exhibition doesn’t aspire to reply all of the questions surrounding the NFT phenomenon. It’s a primary approach that opens a forum for debate on the probabilities around this medium that goes beyond the artistic event and the true plane.”
The gallery took on the correct environment for one of these art. The spectator was immersed within the darkness essential to find a way to understand the works on screen, a few of which might be seen with glasses suitable for that perception. They’re disparate works, very personal, considering the novelty of the NFT phenomenon, but attractive on the whole, ingenious and with a dynamic and suggestive visibility. Nelson Herrera Ysla recently commented: “It’s surprising how quickly a Cuban art area, and a high-ranking and experienced gallery in town of Havana, introduce the general public to the newest trend that has managed to beat physical constraints and materiality of the normal aesthetic expressions to put us before virtuality par excellence: the phenomenon of the NFT.”
The renowned art critic asks himself a series of questions, which largely coincide with my doubts and questions, and people of others, about this phenomenon. In his words, Herrera Ysla summarizes: “It’s interesting to this point to recreate in a set of works and artists able to playing or flirting, with a really delicate humorousness, what NFTs offer. Is that this a particular quality of up to date Cuban art, in comparison with what’s produced in other latitudes of the planet? Will it mark a modality of this trend worldwide? A contribution without realizing it? Does the Cuban artistic community maintain a real and powerful presence within the universal register that today identifies NFT production, because it is claimed in some media? Was the curatorship clear about that intuition, those precepts, such conjectures, to finally develop the final idea of the exhibition and convey it to a successful conclusion? I feel so…since I don’t see ideas or loose ends. And we will find answers to those questions after we visit the exhibition free of prejudices, and from a variety of burden gathered by art histories.”
This exhibition will probably be, any longer, when the history of insular art is finally written, a defining moment, a turning point for an art about which we still know little, aside from its accelerated registration and success in the worldwide art market. I feel that the NFT phenomenon, the most recent inside the visual artistic universe, is in a phase wherein it aspires to the popularity of artisticity, even though it moderately seems to not be very occupied with it, it’s selling and that’s enough. I feel it continues to be a difficulty that continues to be to be seen if it would finally be considered art or not and on which the academies and specialized critics haven’t yet made an announcement as they need to. For those involved it doesn’t appear to be something essential now, that’s to say, there it’s, outside and independently of our consciences and generating profits and media attention.
The NFT must be studied more in Cuba. As Viviana Vázquez, one in every of the curators, recently declared: “An amazing evaluation would must be carried out with the initiators, with the people from the Fábrica de Arte and crucial creators of this moment. The entire story is being documented and put together. Although not much is understood, the Cuban NFT community has a weight that goes beyond our borders. Now then, when are we going to feel that weight? It’s too early to come to a decision. There are consecrated artists who’re venturing into this space, just like the ones now we have on this gallery. What I can guarantee is that there are lots of people doing various things.”
The market, which engulfs the whole lot, took on this phenomenon immediately and, in accordance with figures from The Art Market, from 2019 to 2021 sales went from 4.4 million to 10.6 billion, a rare increase. This same platform revealed that 74 percent of enormous collectors bought NFT works within the biennium. In reality, NFT art artist Mike Winkelmann, referred to as Beeple, sold a bit at Christie’s in March of last yr for $69 million, with a starting price of $100. More recently, Refik Anadol said in an interview that he had sold in a short while around 20 million euros with one of these product and, with a single piece, the quantity of 1.3 million, truly astronomical figures. On the recently held Art Basel Fair, one in every of the biggest on the international circuit of business events, if not the biggest, there was space for NFT works and in addition for creating them in situ. It’s imposing itself.
One is inspired to take into consideration whether that is already art, definitively registered and made official by postmodernity and the society of the spectacle (or computers or whatever you would like to call this time) or is it one other “con” by illusion-making magicians so as to obtain income at any cost. These are pertinent doubts within the face of the brand new and, above all, in a landscape as deplorable for its lack of authenticity as that of so-called contemporary art. NFTs are digital works (to hold in your mobiles, computers, etc.), which could be bought and sold like several other sort of property, with images, video, audio and text included and which have incorporated the identical blockchain technology that shields bitcoins and other digital currencies. But, inside the artistic institution they officiate as artistic endeavors, in the meanwhile. It seems enough that the essential synergy be established between the creator, the product and the customer to think about that it’s art (that’s, merchandise) and period.
Right away, the 15 Documenta de Kasel, crucial promotional (non-commercial) space in the complete international art network, has undertaken a curatorial campaign against the servile subordination of up to date art to the market, encouraging news if one considers that the industrial became hegemonic in the worldwide art scene for a long time. British artists Gilbert & George said it a few years ago with a conclusive phrase: “the history of art has been written on a checkbook.”
At the very least the six artists curated by Galería Habana are creators of proven and recognized work in traditional art, which is why they encourage us to imagine of their NFT proposals. Time will tell. In any case, this appears to be the art that’s associated or arises with the current (and with the longer term) and even when it doesn’t make the unique paintings, engravings and sculptures disappear, which obviously won’t occur (just because the printed book didn’t disappear for a lot of competitions and rivalries that arose for hundreds of years), it will possibly be the succulent alternative for a high range of buyers and investors who’ve good enough money for this and other lives. Nevertheless, tycoon Bill Gates, at a recent conference in California, considered that the acquisition of NFT art could represent an excellent example of what he calls “the massive idiot theory,” showing that there isn’t any unanimity amongst the massive pockets on the industrial operation or investment on this merchandise.
For now, what is obvious is that it’s an expression of art that emerged in collusion with the market and probably the most advanced digital technologies; a novelty that must grow to be fashion for the extremely wealthy, no matter whether it’s art or not.
While these discussions (which perhaps only exist in my head) are happening, NFT art proliferates and the exhibition What’s real/art, by Galería Habana, is welcome, placing insular art and a gaggle of its most experimental creators in a level of frank update.