One may think that NFTs are not all the rage anymore after their massive drop reported earlier this month. But it looks like one may be wrong, at least when it comes to some artists.
After selling his first NFT collection, artist Damien Hirst destroyed the original, physical copies of his artwork. He streamed the event live on Instagram as he burned a thousand of artworks in a controlled environment. And as expected, his performance sparked a lot of reactions.
“Tomorrow I will be burning my 1,000 The Currency artworks which I kept as NFTs,” Hirst wrote on Instagram announcing the event. According to the BBC, the estimated value of the burned works is almost £10 million, which is around $11,2 million. However, the artist claims that he doesn’t view all this through money. He says that he’s merely “transforming” his artwork.
“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.”
This is Hirst’s first NFT collection. he launched it last year and named it The Currency, and it was comprised of 10,000 NFTs corresponding to 10,000 physical pieces of art. Each of the artworks depicts colorful spots, and collectors who bought one could choose between an NFT or a tangible piece of artwork. According to London’s Newport Street Gallery, the results are nearly 50-50. 5,149 buyers choose the original artworks and 4,851 chose the NFTs, which were reportedly sold for £1,800 (around $2,000) each.
Of course, Hirst’s performance was fiercely criticized on social media, especially Twitter. Just look at these comments: people have been trashing everything, from artworks themselves to Hirst’s performance of burning them. Still, I don’t think the artist is too shaken about it. When he was asked how he felt to be burning his artworks, Hirst said that “it feels good, better than [he] expected.” This reminded me of sand mandalas, even though I’d say that they don’t have the same purpose or philosophy as burning the works one already cashed out as digital tokens.