Let’s get Surreal

Let’s get Surreal

Digital. Modern. Intimidating? Yes, for sure, and it doesn’t have to be. If you’re still unsure about the world of NFTs, a visit to 0x.17 Gallery at Pier 17 is a great place to start learning more and breaking down those barriers. There, you’ll see how NFTs are a democratizing force in a world ruled by decades of strictly enforced tradition. 

The latest exhibition now on show at 0x.17 Gallery, Fragments of the Dreams: A Surrealist Vision, invites viewers into a world where imagination knows no bounds. The collection celebrates the innovative vision of photographers who dare to explore the realms of the subconscious. 

Fragments of the Dreams is curated by An Rong, senior curator for SuperRare, the leading curated NFT marketplace for unique digital artworks. With a mission to revolutionize the economics of human creativity, SuperRare is building a new art market that anyone can access.

Here, Rong discusses how SuperRare is changing the art game, and why NFTs and digital art at large are so compelling.

What’s the deal with SuperRare? How does it work?

Each artwork on SuperRare is an original and authentic single edition produced by top digital creators, then tokenized for easy ownership and trading. Founded in 2018, SuperRare is a network, by and for creatives, focused on shepherding the digital renaissance as an emerging global art movement. 

What attracted you to SuperRare and to working with fellow curators, Mika Bar-On Nesher and Paloma Rodriguez?

I believe that NFTs will revolutionize the art market by enabling digital art to be collected, owned, and traded like physical art, and I want to be part of this revolution. SuperRare is one of the best NFT platforms with a special focus on fine art. So, it is a perfect fit for me. Mika and Paloma joined me later on, and I really enjoy working with them because we share similar values but at the same time have different specialties and perspectives that make us work very well together.

What does your role as senior curator entail?
My role is to work closely with the artists to help them succeed through curated auctions, exhibitions, collector relations, community events, social media marketing, and so on.

What do you find most exciting about crypto art and NFTs?

It lowers the barriers and truly democratizes art collecting. We have a lot of very young people, people who do not come from an art background, and people who are not extremely wealthy, collecting crypto art. The traditional art market is much more opaque and not as accessible to the general public. Technically, everyone with a computer connected to the internet could now become an art collector and support the artists they like. And, in turn, artists benefit from that, too.

How can people who are new to NFT art get involved?

Set up a Twitter account, find your community, follow artists and collectors you do know about. Then, gradually you can grow your network as well as learn a lot in real time of what’s going on in this space.

Why did you want to explore surreal photography in the new show you’ve curated, Fragments of the Dreams?

Unlike most photography, such as what most people can do by using their iPhone cameras, surreal photography has another layer of creativity on top of capturing reality — an alteration of reality. The tension between what’s supposed to be capturing reality (photography) and the manipulation of the imagery to make it more about the surreal, subconscious, mystic, etc. really fascinates me.

What questions or ideas do you hope to inspire in people who see this show?
I want people to feel surprised and even confused, not knowing whether these are paintings, or photography, or AI-generated images. I think that’s the beauty of surreal photography. It crosses the boundaries of multiple genres and themes. It makes you question the norms and rules of reality.

What are some of the highlights of the show for you?

“Chemical Baptism Three: Coming Down” by Summer Wagner is one of my favorite pieces in the show. Her work contemplates the spiritual and psychological threads of everyday life and the blur of poetry that is our society’s collective dreamscape. DiDonato’s work, on the other hand, proposes scenes of everyday life distorted by visual anomalies. Extreme domestic spaces stand in for the subconscious mind while bizarre scenarios call into question the boundaries of reality.

As a curator, you’re constantly looking for new artists and work. Where do you look for exciting discoveries?

I use Twitter mostly to discover artists. Because I’ve already followed a lot of artists and art collectors that I respect, whatever they retweet and like will show up on my feed. So, it’s a feed curated by them, where I can usually find very good artists. After seeing so much art from so many artists for the past years as part of my job, what excites me the most is to see something truly unique, innovative, something that’s different from everything else I have seen before.

Fragments of the Dreams is on show at 0x.17 Gallery at Pier 17, 89 South Street, through July 9, 2023. The gallery is open daily from 10am-8pm.