Two Famous Art World Stars Think Artists Should ‘Be Careful of NFTs’ – ARTnews.com
Renowned artist Laurie Simmons and influential figure in the art market Amy Cappellazzo believe that artists should “be careful with NFTs” and blockchain, and that the new phenomenon cannot be “set aside”.
speaking to the spring meal for American Friends of the Israel Museum in the Rainbow Room on Tuesday, Simmons and Cappellazzo engaged in a wide-ranging discussion that was mostly in a format that Cappellazzo compared to vogueit is ever-popular ’73 Questions’ interviews with celebrities.
After Simmons answered a series of quick questions, what was your first thought today? Kittens or puppies?—Cappellazzo opened up to questions from the audience. The first was the one that occupied the mind of any casual art lover: “What do you think of NFTs?
While Simmons and Cappellazzo were wary at first, more or less saying they were watching with interest but not ready to jump in the pool themselves, they both eventually signed on to the liberating potential of blockchain, if not quite the NFTs themselves.
“I’m more interested in NFTs as vehicles or mechanisms than actual end art forms,” Cappellazzo said. “But I think every artist these days needs to pay attention to NFTs, because it’s the only way to follow the work – on the blockchain – as it travels around the world. They will be able to get royalties, if they design it with this mechanism. It’s incredibly important to artists.
Simmons, who noted that she is an advisor to Fairchain, a New York-based startup that uses blockchain for title management, authentication of works of art and documentation of transactions, in agreement with Cappellazzo. Simmons added that the issue of tracking provenance and ensuring artists receive royalties has been a topic of conversation among major artists since at least the 1970s.
“I think blockchain is really important for artists,” Simmons said.
Simmons is a photographer and filmmaker primarily known for her feminist work that incorporates mannequins, dolls, and objects that reference domestic scenes. She rose to fame in the 1970s within the Pictures Generation, alongside artists like Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger.
Cappellazzo is co-founder of art consultancy Art Intelligence Global. She was previously president of Sotheby’s global fine art division, having joined the auction house in 2016 when it acquired her company, Art Agency, Partners, for $85 million. She previously held positions at Christie’s and the Rubell Collection in Miami and was appointed one of the most powerful women in 2019 by Crain’s New York.
Like Artnet News noted in an article on FairchainRobert Rauschenberg, along with other artists, successfully pressured California to pass the Resale Royalty Act in 1977, which required artists to receive a royalty if an artwork was resold in California or if the seller was based there. This law was repealed in 2018.
Cappellazzo hasn’t been shy about talking about crypto in the past. In an interview with the FinancialTimes last year she suggested that the art world has always dealt with an “alternative currency”.
“There’s a lot of talk about the rise of NFTs, but I feel like I’ve been in the crypto business for about 20 years. Jeff Koons is an altcurrency, so are Andy Warhol and Mark Bradford, just read every market,” she said. say it FT.
Here is the full exchange:
Laurie Simmons: I will say I get a DM on my Instagram probably every other day and I’ve had so many offers or proposals. For me, I don’t do anything until (a) I have an idea and (b) I understand it. I’m not there yet personally, but I’m certainly watching with great interest… There are people who think this is the future and there are people who think this is a trend that will die out next month. I don’t think we know, but I think it’s all part of the mad rush and upheaval that we’re going through.
Amy Cappellazzo: I liken it to the idea that it’s 1990 and we’re all sitting around talking about this thing called the World Wide Web. You’re like, “Oh my god, are you going to be able to ask him a question and he’ll give you a reasonably accurate answer?” That’s crazy.” And we probably wouldn’t believe that we’d all be carrying personal computers connected to all of our financial and personal information. We wouldn’t believe—
Audience Member: But do you think it’s real art?
Cappellazzo: I’m more interested in NFTs as vehicles or mechanisms than actual end art forms. I think there are artists who are digital natives, they’ve only ever made art in the digital world and that’s all they do. They don’t paint, they don’t draw, they don’t sculpt. They only work in digital formats. For them, it’s the format. And maybe some of us are more into physical, old-fashioned plastic arts, as they say. But I think every artist these days needs to pay attention to NFTs, because it’s the only way to keep up with the work – on the blockchain – as it travels the world. They will be able to get royalties, if they design it with this mechanism. This is incredibly important for artists.
You can’t want a first-mover advantage…you can say, I want a second-mover advantage on this. But I don’t think we can get away with it… I think there are some…I think we’ve all learned during the pandemic that there are some things about physical presence that are less relevant than we thought. We have all learned to adapt without certain physical realities…
Simon: I think blockchain is really important for artists. Full disclosure: I’m advising a company called Fairchain and it’s a group of young kids at Stanford looking for a way to do something about resale and artist royalties. Imagine your painting is a puppy and you put a chip in it and you can trace that painting when it changes hands wherever it is in the market and the artists will get a small royalty when it changes hands hands. It’s something that people started talking about when I came to New York in the 70s. I remember Rauschenberg…and all these different people back then trying to put in royalties and artist rights. …