Beeple “Everydays – The First 5000 Days”
A Meme Where the Punchline is Somebody Paid $69 Million For It
The goal of the Postmodern era we are living through is an effort to establish histrionic personality disorders as our dominant social order.
The sociopaths who gamed and cheated their way into power cultivate miseducation, anti-social media, and nonstop propaganda to create a phony world where they can rule over an unstable and easily manipulated populace. The susceptible are herded into being vain, yet insecure; inflamed with rash emotions, yet fickle and forgetful; overly sensitive, but shallow. Orwell’s Doublethink worldview is elitist dogma at this point.
Recently another symptom of profound contemporary irrationality has surfaced in art.
The elites corrupted art institutions before they took on the rest of Western civilization, because they know “Empire follows art, and not vice versa,” as the visionary William Blake noted centuries ago. But even in occupied territories like the arts there’s still more damage to be done, and still additional opportunities to mint cultural degradation into money.
Just when you thought elitist art couldn’t get any more nonsensical or overpriced, here comes Non-fungible Tokens.
The buzzword of the contemporary art market right now is NFT. If you don’t know what all the fuss is about, you aren’t alone. The world of blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and crypto art isn’t easy to unravel for newcomers. But with NFT art selling for prices higher than a Monet, we thought it was time to investigate.
Is NFT here to stay? Are we looking at the future of art collecting? Or is it a fad that’s destined to fade away? Time will tell, but having a firm grasp on the basics will, at the very least, keep you in the know and maybe even turn you into a collector.
Check out answers to some of the most common questions regarding non-fungible tokens—or NFTs—and start to learn why people are paying top dollar for everything from digital collages to Tweets.
WHAT IS AN NFT?
Non-fungible token. More simply put, it’s a piece of data stored inside a secure record called a blockchain. These blockchains are encrypted in a way that ensures that the data inside cannot be modified.
While the cryptographic tokens used to create NFTs are similar to cryptocurrencies like BitCoin, the tokens in NFTs aren’t fungible, or interchangeable. So, it’s impossible to exchange one NFT for another, as one would do in currency. It’s often equated to an autograph, just on a digital file. And an NFT not only tracks the creator of the artwork, but also the ownership and market value.
HOW IS IT RELATED TO ART?
Because it is securely stored in the blockchain, an NFT is unique and non-interchangeable. Photographs, videos, gifs, audio, and really any digital file can be represented as an NFT. Even Tweets are being sold as NFTs! NFTs can be as original as a painting or as collectible as baseball cards…
WHY WOULD I BUY AN NFT IF I CAN JUST SEE THE ARTWORK, GIF, TWEET, ETC., ONLINE?
Things get a bit confusing in this realm. Yes, it’s possible to still see Jack Dorsey’s $2.95-million tweet on Twitter. And yes, an NFT of a popular gif may still be shared millions of times online. But, only one person is the actual owner of the content, and that is the person who owns the NFT. The Verge’s Mitchell Clark equates this to the fact that “anyone can buy a Monet print. But only one person can own the original.” [emphasis mine]
So paying top dollar for an arrangement of pixels is just like buying a painting? Here’s where the analogy breaks down for me. A painting is a unique physical object, made with the artist’s own hands – something especially precious in today’s mass production environment. No other tangible object can be that same thing; a print or reproduction may look the same, but it’s not. In fine art painting, those material components were applied by a particular person at a particular time onto a particular object. It is an unrepeatable moment in time, the result of a singular process.
(Don’t counter with the example of Andy Warhol’s prints made by assistants to give legitimacy to the value of surrogate art. Warhol was a prototype for today’s art market con games, and he would have been the first one to admit it.)
The so-called originals in NFTS are indistinguishable from their reproductions, unless you have the capacity to do a deep dive into the technology behind them, or if you chose believe in “The Certificate of Authenticity.” The Franklin Mint used to pass those out, too, on their schlocky tchotchkes. Ultimately, that’s what is being bought: a voucher from a dubious authority which claims the infinitely repeatable file purchased is somehow special.
What good is “owning” something that literally billions of others could have, with no detectable distinction between your “original” and their “copies?”
Take the art world headline star du jour, Beeple – please. He has Instagram followers! He’s collaborated with Katy Perry! Definitely evidence of his genius. Now Beeple is the $69 million dollar man for taking the crappy graphics he posted daily to his website for 13 years and clumping them together into a single crappy image. It’s right at the top of this blog, for free. If someone feels like sending in $69 million for the privilege of looking at it, be my guest.
Christie’s, a sleazy money-laundering operation posing as a serious cultural institution, saw the dollar signs dancing for whoever crossed this digital frontier, so they swung all their establishment clout behind the sale. Of course, trying to open a new progressive tactic to manipulate for status and profit leaves NFTs vulnerable to the tried and true progressive tactic of deconstructive complaining. There’s nothing Prig-gressives won’t defecate upon in their attempts to polish their woker-than-thou credentials.
The potentially non-diverse and not inclusive imagery of NFTs? Problematic!
One of the Many Quality Images Embedded in Beeple’s Masterpiece
“Upon closer review of Beeple’s viral crypto artwork, one finds an alarming amount of racism, sexism, and homophobia,” huffs Surface Magazine.
The amount of carbon emissions needed to generate NFTs? Problematic!
My Modern Met identified a smoking gun of blasphemy: computers use electricity.
…NFT isn’t without controversy. Part of the issue involves the cryptocurrencies used to purchase NFTs. Currently, cryptocurrency mining uses an exorbitant amount of electricity and so has a large carbon footprint. To put things into perspective, Bitcoin’s annual estimated electricity consumption for 2021 is 128 terawatt-hours. That’s more than what the entire country of Argentina uses in a year.
The website cryptoart.wtf once gave the estimated carbon footprint of a single NFT. It’s since been taken down following the misuse of information, which led to harassment. However, the creator, Memo Akten, stands by his decision to put up the website in the first place. “I believe we have a responsibility to be critical of businesses whose values are opposed to the values that we wish to see moving forward, while simultaneously we work towards building and supporting equitable platforms that avoid senseless damage to our planet,” reads a statement on the homepage. “CryptoArt is a tiny part of global emissions. Our actions in this space is a reflection of the mindset that we need in our efforts for larger-scale systemic change.”
Artists have been making their opinions on the matter heard in a number of ways. For instance, ArtStation’s plans to include NFT in its marketplace were halted after a social media outcry. Individual artists are also finding their own ways to reconcile the marketplace with ecologically sound practices. For his part, Beeple plans to ensure that his work is carbon neutral by giving money to projects that take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. At the moment, that means investing $5,000 for one of his collections and he’s confident that other artists will follow suit.
I actually see a big connection between the climate change hoaxers and the digital art hoaxers. Both of these phenomena are ruling class gambits to rake in cash and prestige based on just making up shit, instead of actually producing something tangible of worth.
Postmodern elites can’t perform in the actual world, with its powerful forces of cause and effect. The universe doesn’t respect their preferences or bow to their authority. So, shielded by their manufactured Narratives, the elites are trying to form a substitute world, made in their own presumptuous, incompetent image.
The establishment needs a cloistered environment, a monopoly of thought where everyone is in on the scheme together, so they can try to will their dominance into becoming the only option available. They think they can rule by fiat; claiming digital files can be worth tens of millions of dollars is just the latest absurdity we are supposed to believe just because they say so.
In my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of Art Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I wrote about how the swindle plays out:
Billions are being spent on unskilled and intangible contemporary art. Just like in the good old days, many of the suckers are the newly rich or globalists looking for social credibility and a fast buck. There’s a lot of money laundering and tax evasion in the equation as well.
How does the art world convince well-heeled fools to part with their money, when they are offering so little real value in return? Simple. The art market follows the tried and true methods honed by generations of confidence tricksters: the elaborate pantomime known as the long con…
The long con is a complex, long term swindle that goes for big money. It requires intensive planning and execution, and a whole team of grifters working in unison. Fortunately, the payoffs are so great everyone can get a piece of the action. A unified front is crucial; the unwitting potential victim of the con must be surrounded by a cast of characters dedicated to the lowering of the mark’s defenses to gain access to their wealth.
Major money visibly changes hands these days at art auctions and art fairs. The whole machinery of these angles of the establishment art racket are the equivalent of the fraud technique called “The Big Store.”
The Big Store sets up a controlled environment where everyone except the marks are creating the appearance that they are transacting legitimate business. In the art market version, offering valueless art through once reputable auction houses or in the celebrity soaked version of a swap meet gives a veneer of legitimacy to the proceedings.
Everyone the mark might encounter at such events—artists, dealers, journalists, academicians, other patrons—everyone is invested in perpetuating the delusion. There’s careers on the line and billions of dollars at stake in keeping the hype alive, because hype is all that keeps this ridiculous bubble inflated.
There are lots of different parts to play in the Big Store. A “Shill” operates to promote the con game without revealing their personal stake in the outcomes. For instance, auction houses like to present themselves as if they were scholarly institutes objectively discussing the amazing importance of the works displayed. The fact they are looking to collect fat commissions from the sale of said objects is discretely overlooked.
The “Face” is a glamorous participant intended to distract the mark from thinking clearly. The glut of celebrities and Beautiful People that are drawn to exclusive art happenings guarantee buzz will exceed rationality during such events. The “Roper” is probably the most strategic player in the art market these days. This is a person whose affluence leads to influence, a savvy and powerful individual whose participation gives credibility to the whole enterprise. What is ignored is how much moguls like this manipulate the market to serve personal interests, using insider trading, shady financing and backroom deals to inflate the value of their own collections.
In any other industry, common practices of the establishment art market could probably lead to criminal charges. But in the unregulated free-for-all of the art world, it’s very hard to bring these cases of potential white-collar crime to justice, and the victims here are less than sympathetic. After all, the buyers are people who have so much money it’s meaningless to them. Who cares if a bunch of billionaires are getting ripped off?
It’s not really the suckered patrons who are the biggest victims here. Our society as a whole is being debased. By taking art, the manifestation of the soul of our culture, and replacing it with a cynical system that exists only to enhance egos and bank accounts, we’re undermining the quality of everyone’s shared existence.
These self-indulgent poseurs are subsidizing Postmodernism’s attempt to destroy Western civilization. The self-serving attitude of big money art world participants is a public disgrace, and it’s about time they were made to feel it. As a society, we need to speak out, and strip the prestige away from the nihilistic, expensive hackwork our institutions promote.
Recognize the actual agenda behind these baffling choices: it’s all about control.
Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience
My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.
Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART
Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.
Please send any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!