British artist Damien Hirst has burned a thousand of his spot paintings. The paintings were part of “The Currency” collection. The artist even live-streamed the event on Instagram.
Buyers to choose between physical or digital art
Hirst had decided to take the step after selling his artworks as non-fungible tokens (NGTs) which are digital forms of assets. He took to Instagram to explain in a post why he took such a step.
“Tomorrow I will be burning my 1,000 The Currency artworks which I kept as NFTs. A lot of people think I’m burning millions of dollars of art but I’m not, I’m completing the transformation of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning the physical versions, the value of art digital or physical which is hard to define at the best of times will not be lost it will be transferred to the NFT as soon as they are burnt and I will be live-streaming the full burn here on Instagram,” he wrote.
In another post, he put his own picture with a burning suit and captioned it as “Finished the Burn”.
The physical paintings feature his signature multicolored dots which are made from enamel paint on handmade paper. The artworks were initially available for $2,000.
After launching his NFT collection, Hirst offered a choice to his buyers between keeping the NFT of the artwork or its physical version. He destroyed those artworks which were not bought by people and instead they chose their NFT version.
The idea gets mixed reaction
The global art market newswire Artnet News’ Caroline Goldstein wrote, “The Currency’ pitted Hirst’s foray into the new world of digital art against his old-school practice, asking the art market to decide which was more valuable.”
The buyers were almost equally divided in their decisions, with 5,149 wanting to give up their NFT in exchange for the original one and 4,851 opting for NFT. The artwork is on display at the Newport Street Gallery in London and will be destroyed during the Frieze London art event, which takes place from October 12 to October 16.
Some were amazed by the idea while others were not pleased. An Instagram user wrote, “Incredible moment in the history of the arts.” “Brilliant. Was there to see it! “, added a third. A third person said, “Waste of material.” One more just wrote “iconic.”
A digital identification called an NFT verifies the legitimacy and ownership of a physical or digital asset. It serves as a kind of receipt, and because it is special, it is valued.