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Will crypto art be artists' salvation? Doubtful – The Globe and Mail

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Somebody just paid US$69-million for a jpeg. Not any old jpeg, but a file containing a collage of 5,000 images representing the daily output of the digital artist known as Beeple since he began posting his art online in 2007. The online auction at Christie’s Thursday makes Beeple, or Mike Winkelmann, the third-most expensive living artist after David Hockney and Jeff Koons and, in midst of a scorching hot market, it sets a new record for crypto art.

It used to be that you would not want the word crypto attached to your best efforts. There were crypto-Communists and crypto-fascists, and if there were more benign uses of the modifier out there, you would now have to pull a physical dictionary from the shelf to find them. Google the word crypto today and all you will uncover is the current rage for cryptocurrencies, followed closely by crypto art.

For the currencies, the crypto is intended as a good thing; it’s the digital code that keeps virtual coins unique and secure, available only to their rightful owner. Just remember to leave the password with your spouse or your mom, in case you get hit by a bus.

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A digital-only artwork sold for almost $70 million at Christie’s on Thursday, now possible as part of a lucrative class of digital assets authenticated by blockchain, known as Non-Fungible Tokens. Reuters

And, in theory, making art crypto might be a good thing too. Crypto art is assigned an NFT – or non-fungible token, which associates a unique code with a digital work so that one person, and only one person, can own it. (Fungible assets, such as currencies, are ones that are interchangeable: one $20 bill is like another and can always be traded for two $10s. Non-fungible assets, such as houses or original art works, are unique.)

Unlike the password that protects your bank account or your Canadian Tire shopping cart, the code associated with a NFT is protected by a blockchain, one of those digital databases that store chronological lists of transactions in linked blocks with security protocols so sprawling and so intricate they are all but impossible to hack.

Because a blockchain can take an easily reproduced digital file and indicate to the world that it has one owner, the technology has sometimes been held out as the salvation of the creative industries. It might end piracy and fix a broken market where distributors get rich while producers starve. If individual musicians, writers and visual artists could control the sale and digital distribution of their work, perhaps they could finally get fair compensation.

Crypto art is gaining traction and one of its biggest stars is an artist from Thunder Bay

But while we are waiting for that to happen, a handful of artists and speculators are getting rich selling crypto art to crazed collectors who have been stuck inside the house too long and can’t get to Art Basel to see the real thing.

Digital art – whether that is a computer-generated image or video, or a photograph rendered as a digital file – is a varied and perfectly legitimate endeavour, but its creators and collectors are often stymied by the ease with which it can be reproduced. Who is willing to pay for an image anybody could lift off a website?

Crypto art tries to solve this problem. You buy an NFT created by an artist, whether in an edition of one or of hundreds, and a blockchain acknowledges you as its owner and the only person who can resell it. Recent examples include not only Beeple’s single collage, but also short videos sold in large editions by the Canadian musician Grimes and a real print by the British graffiti artist Banksy that speculators burned and reproduced as an NFT.

Meanwhile, others can still see the work and could potentially reproduce it. All the recent news stories about crypto art are accompanied by illustrations that you could easily copy and paste. At this point, advocates for crypto art like to haul out the Mona Lisa. It doesn’t matter how many postcards you have; only the Louvre owns the real Mona Lisa.

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Unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t really hold because there are demonstrable differences between a photographic reproduction of a painting and the actually paint-on-canvas original. That is much less true with digital art, where the individuality lies in the idea not the medium, and where one copy is indistinguishable from the other except for the degree of resolution. Christie’s Beeple auction is an attempt to associate the aura of uniqueness that we attribute to physical art to an infinitely reproducible digital image; it’s a bid for something that every Picasso and every toddler’s finger painting can claim: non-fungibility. So far, the market has gleefully embraced this pseudo scarcity, encouraging rampant speculation amongst bonkers billionaires.

To top it off, like cryptocurrencies, crypto art is an ecological disaster. Because they rely on computing at scale for their security, both bitcoins and NFTs use vast quantities of electricity. How vast? Estimates are that bitcoin mining is currently using the same amount of energy every year as a small country: Ireland, New Zealand or the Netherlands, depending on who you ask.

After all that, it seems almost irrelevant to point out that most of the crypto art that has been earning these exorbitant sums appears to be bland and flip, little more than glorified internet memes. Successful crypto artists aren’t necessarily talented or interesting. They are, however, very rich.

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat

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Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.


Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman

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Source:- TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Article content

WENDY RAYSON-KERR

Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit bellevillelibrary.ca/armchair-traveller.php. The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at gallery@bellevillelibrary.ca.

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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