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Art Forward: Digital Art that is “Original”?

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This article is written by Greg Vadney, Executive Director of the Rahr-West Art Museum.

If I asked you to name an artist who created one of the top ten most expensive auction sales of 2021, you’d probably do okay. Picasso was at the top of the list. Van Gogh and Monet were there. Paintings from popular Late-Twentieth Century artists Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat were high priced, as they have been for decades. But among the regulars on this high-priced list was the sole living artist, Beeple, whose digital composite NFT ‘”Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ sold on March 11 at Christies Auction House for $69,346,250.

Artwork from the inception of that peculiar human experiment has traditionally been bound by the physical world. An artist creates something tangible. A collector buys that tangible art piece. Perhaps a museum exhibits that tangible painting, or sculpture, or photo. It exists physically as artwork. The most popular trend in visual arts over the past years obliterates this construct, instead favoring a new digital organism…

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