Auction house Bonhams is set to enter the crypto art arena with an online sale of works by digital artists from Monday, until June 30. Held in partnership with SuperRare – a crypto art marketplace for non-fungible tokens, built on the Ethereum blockchain – CryptOGs: The Pioneers of NFT Art marks the first time an auction house has partnered with a digital art platform to offer a curated collection of crypto artworks.
“This will also be the first auction that explores the originators of the crypto art movement – those who were minting NFTs before they were in the global spotlight. These artists have had a lasting impact on the landscape of digital art and will go down in art history as pioneers in the field,” says Nima Sagharchi, head of digital art at Bonhams.
Meet the digital artists
Award-winning mixed-media artist Coldie from California is the creator of one of the leading lots in the sale. His Proof of Work – Genesis was conceived in 2018 and minted in 2021, and is a revival of one of the artist's first tokens. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $100,000.
The work is inspired by parallels between the 19th-century gold rush in California and the current zeal for crypto mining.
"Back in the early days of crypto art, a small group of forward-thinking digital artists from around the world began to tokenise art. All of us shared a vision of what digital art would become once the rest of the world found us. Until then, we focused on the art, grew a vibrant community, and inspired each other to experiment and push forward the possibilities [for this art form]," says Coldie.
XCOPY, a crypto artist who lives in London, will offer The Death of Cash (Sorry Anon) at the Bonhams auction. The work is a playful take on the predicted decline of fiat currency, and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.
XCOPY, who deals with dystopia and apathy through distorted visual loops in his works, was the second artist to mint on the SuperRare platform, and his Death Dip broke the SuperRare sales record in March when it sold for 1000 ETH (about $2.5 million).
Alotta Money will offer his Pauline at the Mall artwork at the auction, at an estimate of $40,000 and $60,000. The French cyberdelic artist is known for his "nonsense attacks" and visual desecration of Old Masters and classic artworks.
Other participating artists include Matt Kane, Osinachi, Sarah Zucker, Mattia Cuttini, Miss Al Simpson and Janne.Limited.
"We decided to go back to the roots of crypto art and have picked a theme honouring the originators of this art movement," says An Rong, the art & cultural programme director at SuperRare. "The CryptOGs sale will celebrate the innovators who helped develop the CryptoArt community from the early years."