Sotheby’s has announced that it will use a Dutch auction format for the first time in its 300-year history for a digital sale honoring the renowned artist Vera Molnár. The auction will inaugurate the introduction of the auction house’s Gen Art Program powered by Art Blocks’ Art Blocks Engine — a generative art solutions platform that provides technical infrastructure support for brands seeking to expand their generative minting capabilities.
The sale, titled Themes and Variations, is the artist’s largest on-chain generative art project to date and will be conducted exclusively on-chain via Sotheby’s Metaverse on July 26. It will feature an exclusive series of 500 one-of-a-kind artworks that expand upon Molnár’s 1960s-era forays into algorithmic art. The artist’s work is distinguished by the incorporation of letters as pure abstract forms combined with an appreciation for chaos. Martin Grasser, a renowned generative artist and creative programmer, assisted Molnár in realizing her vision.
Unprecedented for Sotheby’s
The Art Blocks Engine integration is a first for both the platform and the auction house. It also signifies the debut of Sotheby’s Gen Art Program, a new avenue for generative artists to offer works for sale on the primary market. Two to three artists will be featured annually in the Gen Art Program with exclusive sales of long-form generative art. All bidding and payments for Gen Art Program sales will be conducted in Ethereum (ETH).
In a press release announcing the development, Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s Head of Digital Art & NFTs, praised Molnár’s contributions to the field, stating, “Molnár is one of the undisputed legends of generative art, whose decades of experimentation with the form paved the way for what we know as algorithm-based digital art today.” He added that the collaboration with Art Blocks is a “milestone moment that will solidify her position as the preeminent generative artist who laid the groundwork for generations of artists.”
In conjunction with this revelation, Sotheby’s is introducing a new auction format: Dutch auctions. This method, which Art Blocks has employed since its founding in 2021, begins with a fixed initial price and decreases in predetermined increments until the first bid is submitted. The maximum price for Themes and Variations is 20 ETH, and the format adds a new dimension to the traditional auction process, incentivizing bidders and establishing a new price discovery model.
Sotheby’s is no stranger to the world of NFTs, having hosted digital art sales as early as April 2021 with the sale of Pak’s The Fungible for $17 million. Later that year, the company collaborated with Art Blocks for its first curated NFT auction, Natively Digital.
Erick Calderon, the founder of Art Blocks, described presenting the auction of Molnár’s work on their platform as a “truly humbling experience.” The artist who collaborated with Molnár on this project, Grasser, characterized the collaboration as a “true privilege” and praised Molnár’s work as “decades ahead of its time.”
Molnár entered the realm of NFTs in 2022 with her project 2% of disorder in co-operation, the first edition of which was sold at Sotheby’s Natively Digital 1.3: Generative Art auction.
Each piece in Themes and Variations is a dialogue between pre-designed letter formations by Molnár and the “machine Imaginaire,” the artist’s term for an algorithm or computer imagination. The series is an expansion of Molnár’s 2% of disorder in cooperation generative protocol, which investigates the force of the grid and color randomness. Molnár refined the system by incorporating the appearance of letters (in this instance, N, F, and T), a recurring motif in her work for decades.
Reflecting on her work, Molnár remarked, “All of these letter variations resonate with me like melody. So, I titled my first and only long-form generative art endeavor Theme and Variations.
Content Source: nftnow.com