When art is a virtual token

Kevin Abosch, Forever Rose

First virtual gifting and sympathy flowers entered our world, and now Blockchain technology has made collecting expensive virtual art possible. According to Digitach,  Forever Rose, a digital file created by Irish photographer Kevin Abosch and GIFTO, a decentralized universal gifting protocol, has been sold to a collective of investors for cryptocurrencies with a value equivalent to $1,000,000.

Although information about Abosch is scant, he considers himself a conceptual artist and has had exhibitions at the Millennium Park at the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (an installation of 100 painted oil barrels) and has a portrait of Bob Geldof, Olwen Fouéré and Brian O’Driscoll in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. In 2016 Abosch sold a virtual image of a potato titled Potato #345 for more than a million bucks. I watched him discuss the project on CNN and frankly it was a little like watching a mockumentary about the art world. Virtual transactions like this might seem ridiculous to painters who relish object, surface, and materiality, but apparently this type of project doesn’t seem as farfetched in the gaming and crypto currency industries.

 

Payments were made in IAMA and GTO-by-GIFTO cryptocurrencies, with each buyer paying the crypto-equivalent of $100,000 to get 1/10 of the ROSE on the Ethereum blockchain. Alas, traditional art collectors, none of whom are named among the buyers, must not have been moved by the project. The crypt-currency fans who did invest will be able to hold onto their Forever Rose tokens, sell them, or give them away.  Doesn’t this type of project seem like a fantastic growth opportunity for name-brand artists whose work is already eagerly collected by the money laundering contingent? Minimal shipping costs and no storage necessary. Perhaps they can come up with an image that’s more challenging than a rose.

 

 

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