The bad boy of the international contemporary art scene has yet another surprise in store: with his project “The Currency”, Damien Hirst is offering 10,000 NFTs of physical works for sale at $2,000 on the HENI marketplace. But beware: only the luckiest people will be able to win them!
Damien Hirst’s spot paintings are probably among the most recognisable and widespread works of contemporary art, known for their perfect coloured circles distributed on canvas in a grid format.
First created in 1986, these works have since become part of a series with many variations, and it was only in 2016 that Hirst chose to make it more organic. It was in that year that Hirst’s project The Currency was launched, with which the artist challenges the concept of value through money and art.
Each of the 10,000 unique artworks, A4 sheets with the characteristic coloured dots signed, numbered and hand-stamped one by one along with a hologram of the artist (now stored in a secret vault in England), are re-presented as NFTs on the PALM blockchain, created by Joe Lubin – co-founder of Ethereum – which is 99% more energy efficient.
Each artwork features a title generated with machine learning applied to some of the artist’s favourite song lyrics. In addition, Hirst has chosen with this project to completely unsettle his collectors and investors by giving them a choice: the collector has just one year to choose whether to keep the NFT in his wallet or claim the physical work. However, the decision implies that by 3:00 PM BST on 27 July 2022, collectors who have not handed over the NFT for a print will no longer have a chance to get it because it will automatically be destroyed at the artist’s will.
According to Hirst, the project is more than just an opportunity to buy his works, but in itself “challenges the concept of value through money and art” by inviting people to participate in the process of buying, owning and selling the artwork, forcing them to confront “their perception of value and how it influences their decision”.
Thus, a traditional collector entering the world of NFTs for the first time might readily exchange the token for a physical work, while a crypto collector would choose to keep their NFT, effectively declaring that it is more valuable than the physical work.
NFTs will be distributed from 29 July 2021 at $2,000 to be then paid in any currency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, USD Coin and Dai, as well as through the use of credit or debit cards.
It will be interesting to find out a year from now how many works will be destroyed…