Art Update: NFTs
Blockchain. Non-fungible tokens. Decentralization. If you’re still not sure what all of these terms mean, consider the Seaport’s new exhibition of NFTs and digital art your non-intimidating entry point — IRL. NFTs Now, now on show at 0x.17 Gallery at Pier 17 welcomes you into the world of NFTs via the coveted collection of Jamie George and Harris Lipton.
The works curated by George and Lipton in this first gallery show of their shared collection demonstrate in a physical space what digital art can encompass. Here, the two co-founders of NFIP Holdings discuss what drew them to collecting digital art and some of the highlights you’ll find at NFTs Now.
What is your background in the art and tech worlds?
We both have very little background in the art and tech world, aside from a lifetime of appreciating art. Harris has been a speculator in the crypto space since 2016 and currently works at a crypto company. Jamie was always fascinated by crypto but didn’t really jump into it until 2020, and NFTs until February 2021.
How did you start working together?
We met in college our freshman year and were roommates during our senior year. In early 2021, Jamie was getting involved in the NFT space and Harris, naturally curious mind. The day Meebits were minting, Jamie reached out and asked if we should split one. From that moment on, we both fell head first down the rabbit hole.
(Note: Meebits are a series of NFT characters, rendered in 3D pixels with volume, that can be traded, animated and used as avatars.)
What are your shared goals as collectors?
To further the adoption of digital assets into the mainstream and help uplift creators/artists and brands. We really do believe that Web3 and digital collectibles have so much to offer, and will be strongly involved in everyday life in the future.
What can people expect at the NFTs NOW exhibition at 0x.17 Gallery?
An immersive Web3 experience that highlights some of the most prominent forms of digital assets such as profile pictures, digital art from OG’s like Beeple and Xcopy, photography, traditional artists like Nina Chanel Abney‘s foray into the space, and emerging digital artists.
It’s a current snapshot of our Web3 journey in which we are sharing what we chose to collect. We’ve been collecting NFTs/digital collectibles for roughly 21 months and you can see how our collection evolved. We hope to be able to have another exhibit in the future so we can compare our collection then to the one we have now.
What appealed to you about collaborating with The Seaport?
It was a great opportunity to get exposure and have people view our collection. In addition, the Web3 team at The Seaport is incredible. They’re doing amazing things and we hope to be a part of it in any way possible.
Are there a couple of pieces in this show that you’re most excited about?
Yes, for starters we have Into The Ether by Beeple. Jamie wrote a whole Twitter thread about why the piece meant so much to us.
FEWOCiOUS is such an incredible artist and we are displaying two of his pieces. It feels like a bit of his soul is in each piece of his work. We were lucky to be able to purchase his work at such an early stage of his career. We think the sky’s the limit for him.
Bored Ape Yacht Club really started the journey for us. Although it wasn’t our first NFT that we purchased, it was the first significant purchase and the first one that absolutely exploded. We’ve learned so much from the community and have made lifelong friends in this club. We cannot wait to see this brand continue to grow. We also teamed up with our friend, Alex Locke, to create a company to license the Bored Apes we own to manufacturers and retailers around the world — so they can create products using the images. To date, we have 12 agents around the world, and 18 fully executed deals in 40+ countries.
What are your thoughts on the current state of NFTs in the art world, and where do you think things are headed?
The art world is forever adapting and growing. We think it will take a while for collectors to recognize digital assets as equivalent with traditional art but once they understand the provenance and immutability that comes with the blockchain, NFT art will be embraced worldwide.
NFTs NOW is on show at 0x.17 Gallery at Pier 17, open daily 10am–8pm, through January 26, 2023.