The famous artist Laurie Simmons and influential art market figure Amy Cappellazzo believes that artists need to “pay attention to NFTs” and blockchain, and that the new phenomenon can not be “brushed aside.”
Speaks at the spring breakfast to the American Friends of the Israel Museum in the Rainbow Room on Tuesday, Simmons and Cappellazzo engaged in a broad discussion that was mostly in a format that Cappellazzo compared to Vogue‘s always popular “73 questions” interviews with celebrities.
After Simmons answered a series of quick questions – what was your first thought today? Kittens or puppies? – Cappellazzo opened up to questions from the audience. The first was the one that every casual artist had in mind: “What do you think of NFTs? “
While Simmons and Cappellazzo were cagey at first, more or less saying they look with interest but are not ready to even jump in the pool, they both eventually wrote about the liberating potential of blockchain, if not quite the NFTs themselves .
“I’m more interested in NFTs as vehicles or mechanisms than actual end-art forms,” Cappellazzo said. “But I think every artist these days needs to be aware of NFTs, because that’s the only way to track work – on the blockchain – as it goes through the world. They’ll be able to get royalties, if they design it with that mechanism, it’s incredibly important for artists. “
Simmons, who noted that she is an adviser to Fairchain, -one New York-based startup using blockchain for title management, art approval and transaction documentation, agreed with Cappellazzo. Simmons added that the issue of tracing ancestry and ensuring that artists receive royalties has been a topic of conversation among great artists since at least the 1970s.
“I think blockchain is really important for artists,” Simmons said.
Simmons is a photographer and filmmaker primarily known for feminist work that incorporates puppets, puppets, and objects that refer to domestic scenes. She became famous in the 1970s as part of the Pictures Generation along with artists such as Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger.
Cappellazzo is a co-founder of the art consulting firm Art Intelligence Global. She was former chairman of Sotheby’s global fine arts division, having joined the auction house in 2016 when it bought her company, Art Agency, Partners, for $ 85 million. She has previously held positions at Christie’s and Rubell Collection in Miami and was named one of the most powerful women in 2019 of Crains New York.
As Artnet News noticed in a feature on FairchainRobert Rauschenberg, along with other artists, successfully lobbied California to survive The Resale Royalty Act of 1977, which required artists to receive a royalty payment if a work of art was resold in California or if the seller was based there. That law was repealed in 2018.
Cappellazzo has not backed down to talk about crypto in the past. In an interview with Financial Times last year, she suggested that the art world has always been concerned with an “alternative currency.”
“There’s a lot of talk about the emergence of NFTs, but I feel like I’ve been in the crypto industry for about 20 years. Jeff Koons is an alternative currency, so are Andy Warhol and Mark Bradford, it’s just a coincidence of reading every market, ”she told FT.
Here is the exchange in its entirety:
Laurie Simmons: I will say I get DMed on my Instagram probably every other day and I have had so many offers or suggestions. For me, I do nothing until (a) I have an idea and (b) I understand it. I’m not there personally yet, but I’m definitely following with great interest … There are people who think it’s the future, and there are people who think it’s a trend that will be away next month. I do not think we know, but I think it’s all part of the crazy ride and shakes we’re experiencing.
Amy Cappellazzo: I’m comparing it to the idea that it’s 1990 and that we’re all sitting and talking about this thing called the World Wide Web. We’re like, “Oh my god, you want to be able to ask it a question, and it’s going to give you a reasonably accurate answer? It’s crazy.” And we probably would not think that we would all carry around on personal computers associated with all of our financial information and personal information. We would not believe –
Audience member: But do you think it’s real art?
Cappellazzo: I’m more interested in NFTs as vehicles or mechanisms than actual final art forms. I think there are artists who are digital natives, they have only ever made art in the digital world, and that’s all they do. They do not paint, they do not draw, they do not sculpt. They only work in digital formats. For them, it’s the format. And maybe some of us are more tied to the physical, old-fashioned plastic art, as they say. But I think every artist these days needs to pay attention to NFTs because it’s the only way to track work – on the blockchain – as it goes through the world. They will be able to get royalties if they design it with that mechanism. It is of incredible importance to artists.
You can not wish for a first-mover advantage… you can say I want a second-mover advantage on it. But I do not think you can take it aside … I think there are certain… I think we all learned during the pandemic that there are certain things about physical presence that are less relevant than we thought they were. We all learned to adapt without certain physical realities …
Simmons: I think blockchain is really important for artists. Full disclosure: I’m advising a company called Fairchain and it’s a bunch of young kids from Stanford who’s figuring out a way to do something about resale and artist royalties. Imagine your painting is a puppy and you put a chip in it and you can track that painting when it changes hands wherever it’s on the market and artists will get a little royalty when it changes hands. That’s something people started talking about when I came to New York in the ’70s. I remember Rauschenberg… and all these different people at the time who were trying to lay down some laws for royalties and artist rights. …