American pop artist Jeff Koons will send 125 miniature sculptures to the moon with the help of multi-billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
“Moon Phases” statues will be sold as NFTs and buyers will receive a photo of their lunar location and a sculpture with a gemstone marking their alien counterpart’s place on the moon.
They are on sale at the Art Basel fair in Switzerland, a contemporary art event where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage this year.
NFTs are digital assets that function like certificates of ownership, they are built using the blockchain and each have a unique digital signature.
The sculptures will be installed 384,400 kilometers (238,855 miles) from their owners.
“We’re also seeing it for the first time,” Pace Gallery director Marc Glimcher said as he unveiled a moon-shaped statue the size of a beach ball at his stand in Basel.
The ‘Moon phases’ statues by Jeff Koons (pictured) will be sold as NFTs and then installed on the moon using a SpaceX rocket
A total of 125 miniature versions of the sculpture will be sold and then blown 384,400 kilometers to the surface of the moon
NFT buyers will be able to take home a smaller version of the sculpture with a gemstone marking its location on the moon
One of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets will carry the 125 sculptures and place them on the surface of the moon
Artist Jeff Koons is famous for works such as ‘Rabbit’ (pictured) which sold for $91.1 million and ‘Balloon dog’
Jeff Koons is best known for his gleaming stainless steel sculpture inspired by an inflatable children’s toy, called Rabbit (1986), which sold for $91.1 million in 2019.
The second richest artist in the world still holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a work by a living artist.
“Moon Phases” is the polarizing artist’s debut NFT project, which he says is “rooted in humanistic and philosophical thought.”
He said, “I’ve always loved the idea of creating global art, art that is really about the aspiration of every human being to have a more fulfilling life.
‘To be able to touch the meaning, what it means to be a human being.’
‘American Kitchen and Chinese Cockroaches’ (2019) by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping
French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ work ‘Spider’ is exhibited at the international art exhibition Art Basel and sold for $40 million
Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Togo poses in front of his work ‘Bilongue’ during an Art Basel preview day
A number of virtual artworks, NFT, went on sale at the art fair in Switzerland
A visitor walks past the Leonardo Drews artwork ‘Number 341’
WHAT ARE NFTs?
What is an NFT? A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature that verifies ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the coin.
What do they look like? Most NFTs include digital artwork such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into NFTs.
Where do you buy them? Currently, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called “drops,” timed online sales through blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea, and Rarible.
Why would I want to own one? There are a range of reasons why someone might want to buy an NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, as NFTs are considered collectibles. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, as the value could increase.
When were NFTs created? Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. NFTs only entered the mainstream five years later, when blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.
The fair, which runs from June 16-19, also showcases a host of non-digital works – from an installation by Franco-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping depicting a kitchen strewn with giant cockroaches, to a series of sculpted portraits in the wood by Franco-Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Toguo.
A spider sculpture by Franco-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois has been sold for $40 million.
Along with sales of yachts, luxury cars, watches and jewelry, the art market has recovered strongly in 2021 from the shock of the pandemic in 2020.
The stock market rebounded strongly last year, swelling the coffers of the ultra-rich – and inflation is giving wealthy collectors all the more reason to embark on a multimillion-dollar painting.
Pace is one of the few major galleries to have ventured into the realm of NFTs. According to Clare McAndrew, author of an art market report for Art Basel, only 6% of galleries sold NFTs in 2021.
The NFT market has seen dramatic growth from 2020 to 2021, NFT trade in 2021 grew to over $17 billion, up 21,000% from the $82 million total in 2020.
Since their peak in August 2021, NFTs have fallen. While art-related NFT sales volumes soared to $945 million in August, they fell to $366 million in January and then to $101 million in May, according to McAndrew’s records.
Cryptocurrencies, which are closely related to NFTs, have fallen in value in recent months.
Popular bitcoin has lost around 28% since Friday, more than half of its value this year, and is down 70% from November’s all-time high.
Overall, the blockchain-based currency is down around 59% in 2022, while ether backed by rival cryptocurrency Ethereum is down 73%.
These ups and downs in crypto and NFTs don’t bother gallery owner Pace, however, who believes NFTs represent a “new methodology for distributing digital art.”