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Art Market Report - May 14
A weekly report on the NFT Art Market, covering 1/1s, editions and other important news.
The Broken Keys by Alpha Centauri Kid
The biggest event of the week, if not of the year by far, was undoubtedly the launch and the auction of The Broken Keys by Alpha Centauri Kid, a collection of 48 1/1s with one underlying theme - Piano.
The 48 auctions all ended within the same 1-2 hours, were described by many collectors as intense, anxiety-inducing, highly competitive, reminiscent of the bull market’s passion, excitement and madness. The 48 pianos sold for 731.2 ETH (~$1.36M) in total, to some of the most notable art collectors in the space such as Curated, imo, Antxx, OSF, budfox, gGFunk, OG, @wsavas & @ZanzibarVenturz & @redbeardnft, 6529 Fund SZN 4, DrLeeNFT, 2070, Kutoa Capital, BUYINGYOURSTOPS, Tyler DurdΞth, BBA, michaely, and more. The “Piano Collective” was organically born out of this experience and will since exist to “serve the Muse”.
A secondary sale happened immediately the day after. nydoorman created pianDAO which in 24 hours raised the funds (21.5 ETH) to purchase The Mad Pianist (sold for 12 ETH the previous day). On the same day, 6942 AD, a 1/1 created by ACK back in February 2022 was collected by Cozomo de’ Medici through a private trade with LevelOneLevelTwo for an undisclosed price. In Medici Minutes - Issue #47, Cozomo says they “see this work as a prequel to The Broken Keys collection.”
The intensity of the bidding wars and the level of participation and engagement from the whole art community formed a memorable experience, which added another layer of performance art in line with what ACK has done and been known for throughout the years.
According to an interview with ACK (Alpha Centauri Kid, Part 1 - The Broken Keys by The Monty Report), the artist started working on the project since August 2021, and sees it as his “debut into the fine art world.” The one underlying theme of this collection, Piano, has been a known recurring theme for the artist as his “first gateway to the Muse”.
As an artist with a broad range of aesthetics and styles, ACK nevertheless stays madly obsessed and cohesive to the underlying story with his Muse, pianos, flowers, skulls, love, etc. through the pieces themselves, the titles, or the descriptions. Sharing the artistic elements and language, all his works interconnect and weave a large yet intricate universe, creating a unifying and enthralling experience for the viewers.
The Broken Keys will likely mark a significant moment in the NFT / art history.
Midwest by Grant Riven Yun was collected by Bob Loukas for $107,100 (~59.5 ETH) through Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale. The piece was formerly collected by Artifaction over a year ago for 16.9 ETH on SuperRare, in April 2022.
ripcache had another 2 big sales this week. branch 6 from the collection closed circuit was resold for 16 ETH (previously collected for 4.35 ETH in December 2022). seven from the collection network mythology was resold for 33 ETH (previously collected for 7 ETH in November 2022). Both collections are on-chain.
Some concluding thoughts… Is the market dead or alive?!
Outside the huge sales from a top few artists, the larger NFT Art market remains depressingly slow. In contrast to the $1.36M sold by a single collection in one day, SuperRare had ~$710k volume and Foundation ~$680K in the past 2 weeks combined.
We shouldn’t judge whether the market is dead or alive, in my opinion, whether according to the huge sales of the top few artists, or the slow sales for most of the artists. It rather shows a picture of a top-heavy market during a global recession. Similar to what’s happening in the traditional art market, the top-end of the NFT Art market is still alive and well. As is common in times of economic instability, wealthy buyers tend to pivot to the most established artists and works they perceive to be lower risk. In the meantime, lower segments of the market see dramatic decline. It’s perhaps also because unlike whales at the top end who are more impervious to general economic conditions, small art collectors had tighter budgets and were generally more cost-conscious in the current bear market.
Portraits of the Artist: Reflections of the Self
Self-portraits have been a prominent and enduring subject in the history of art. As an artistic genre, self-portraiture offers a unique opportunity for artists to examine and represent themselves, their identity, and their place in the world. Through the self-portraits featured in the exhibition Portraits of the Artist: Reflections of the Self curated by @anloremi / me, artists explore their inner selves, reveal their emotions, and convey their personal and social contexts.
Offering an unflinching and honest portrayal of the self, a vulnerable and intimate view that allows us to connect with the artist on a deeper level, self-portraiture remains a potent artistic form that challenges us to reflect on the societal norms, expectations, and ideals of the Self.