State Hermitage continues to dive into the non-fungible tokens (NFT) industry with its first all-virtual digital art gallery.
Shortly after raising more than $400,000 in its first NFT auction in September on Binance, Hermitage is now hosting a free exhibition of NFT art located exclusively in a virtual space, the so-called “celestial hermitage,” or digital museum avatar.
The exhibit at Hermitage, which opened Thursday, is called “On-air” and is based on the metavatars concept, which allows users to create digital avatars and view the virtual side using computers, smartphones, VR goggles and other devices. . The virtual platform mimics the interior of the local monuments of the old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange, but according to the curator of the project, the exhibition itself has nothing to do with trade.
Source: Broadcast Gallery.
Exhibition works are not for sale. We avoid all topics related to the price of these works in order to focus on showing what digital art really is, because the price of art is secondary to its value,” Dmitriy Ozerkov, Hermitage Director of Contemporary Art, told Cointelegraph.
Ozerkov noted that the Hermitage will return all artworks to their original owners, including artists and collectors, immediately after the exhibition ends on December 10. “Additional activities are not the museum’s prerogative,” he added.
At a press conference on Thursday, Ozerkov stressed that the Hermitage had “no financial interest” in holding a free exhibition, and noted that the museum was seeking to find out the true value of the NFT. “We want to see the rest of the NFT by removing the cash side,” he said.
The artists and works for the Live Air exhibition were selected by curators Ozerkov and Anastasia Garnova, employee of the Contemporary Art Department of the Hermitage.
“We believe the selection of curators is critical to a museum exhibition because it makes it more integrated by subject and chapter. The principle of selection is based on the importance of artworks to understand the essence of NFT,” Garnova says in an interview with Cointelegraph. “Artists cannot apply to participate in the exhibition,” she added.
The full list of works is available on the exhibition’s official website, 37 works in total, including Schrödinger’s Cat by CryptoKitties, a popular blockchain game created by Canadian studio Dapper Labs on the Ethereum network. The list also includes works by Saint Petersburg artist Darkzuu.
The fair also features NFT platforms and major industry players such as Snark.art, Masters digital, The Art Exchange, Rarible, Superrare, KnownOrigin, ArtBlocks, Alterhen.art and OpenSea. As previously reported, the exhibition was organized with the support of the Aksenov Family Foundation, a local fund for cultural and social innovation.
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The exhibition space is a joint work of augmented reality startup Arhead.io, Masters Digital, and meta-engineer Oleg Soroko. Ivan Pozyrev, one of the founders of Arhead.io, noted that socialization is one of the most important components of the exhibition. “We built a project on the idea that digital experiences should be shared. People share instructions, discuss work, and laugh when they get into the fabric of the room,” Pozyrev said.
Nadia Taiga, CEO and curator of art production platform Snark.art, is one of the key people behind Ethereal Aether and acts as a galleries consultant. “If a year ago we could only have predicted that museums would digitize their collections and create digital exhibitions in the metaverse, now, when we see the example of the Hermitage and this exhibition, we know that is indeed a fact,” she said.