Research

The Meta NFT Salon

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0. Overview

  • Traditional galleries are primarily for-profit professional galleries that maintain operating costs by earning commissions and selling art to high net worth individuals.
  • In the NFT era, virtual galleries are emerging, bringing a new paradigm of NFT operation and viewing in terms of immersion, interactivity, editability, finance, and aesthetics.
  • Returning to the principle of firstness, we believe that the virtual gallery is a version of NFT that cannot be ignored. When we already have a hand full of NFT to express ourselves, why don’t we need a virtual gallery to let our souls inhabit?

In the course of human civilization, the form of art has been changing with the development of technology. Starting from the Paleolithic era, when humans used rudimentary tools to depict life and visions of the future on rock walls, to the emergence of computer-generated art, new forms of art are bound to bring new sensory experiences and changes in the way works are presented in the iteration of creators’ productivity tools.

Left: The Cave of Altamira Right: everydays — december 2019, Beeple

With the NFT market hot and the need to find a new way to display digital native artwork, the NFT gallery was born. This article will take a slow journey from traditional galleries to explore whether virtual galleries are the new value pockets and explain in detail the four existing types of NFT galleries.

1. Traditional gallery narrative

When we talk about a gallery in the traditional sense, we usually describe an aesthetically pleasing space that is used to showcase its owners’ artistic tastes and collections. However, the majority of artists’ work will reach collectors through these commercial galleries, both large and small. A professional gallery will actively select artists and maintain operations through income from art sales and exhibitions. As agents, galleries bear the burden of choosing artists for the public and collectors, and their decisions will follow market trends.

Generally speaking, traditional galleries have specialized agents and channels to find high-end clients, such as private banking clients, luxury members, etc., and set up offline showrooms to promote the exhibition, expand artist awareness, plan exhibitions, sell works, and handle insurance in order to close art transactions and guide clients’ subsequent long-term investments in art. Most commercial galleries charge commissions in the range of 20% — 60% of the retail price of the artwork, and it is not uncommon for reputable galleries to charge a 50% commission. When the artwork is sold, the gallery then pays the artist. A successful gallery may net about 15% of gross revenue. A community gallery sells about $250,000 worth of art to break even and double that in large cities (excluding New York and Los Angeles).

a) Epidemic — Revolution — Opportunity

Over the past two years of the epidemic, approximately 90% of the world’s arts and cultural organizations have been affected, with 93% of galleries closing for an average of 10 weeks in the first half of 2020 and sales dropping by 36%, with smaller galleries with annual turnover between $250,000 and $500,000 being hit the hardest, with sales dropping by as much as 47%.

In search of new growth and opportunities, from top museums to private galleries have begun to experiment with digital transformation. In just two years, artwork sales traded online have gone from $6 billion in 2019 to $12.4 billion in 2020, representing 25% of the market share for the year 2020 and continuing to rise.

Despite the relative decline in opportunities to purchase works in person, 66% of collectors surveyed said that the epidemic had increased their interest in collecting. An even more significant 32% said their interest in collecting had grown significantly. 83% said they had purchased art online, a percentage as high as 91% among the new generation of collectors, according to Artsy’s 2021 annual report.

Notably, 16% of millennial collectors appear happy to purchase works over $1 million online, with 30% of these buyers using social media platforms such as Instagram to buy art in the first half of 2020. Now more than ever, galleries need to consider the opportunities that the online marketplace presents for galleries and consider the diverse needs of a new generation of collectors.

Trends in online art sales, 2013–2022 Price range ratio of works traded online and offline Ratio of the frequency of transactions between online and offline transactions at different price ranges

As traditional galleries look for new opportunities on the Internet, it is not difficult to imagine that virtual galleries and online auctions will continue to grow and transition into the NFT collection.

b) The Moon and Sixpence for creators

Art lovers can easily see that despite the sting of sarcasm about NFT being a cultural Ponzi scheme, traditional artists and creators continue to flock to the field, clamouring to be the first to release their own NFT works.

  • Why do artists want to release their NFTs?

Traditional artists are often limited to private/public sponsorship and the sale of their work and often have to make trade-offs between self-expression and financial income. By creating their work entirely of their own free will, artists take the risk that the market will not appreciate their artwork. NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is significant for creators, and through blockchain technology, the relationship between the work, the author, and the collector becomes clear and unambiguous: the work can be traced, the author receives royalties for each transaction (usually 5–10% of each transaction), and the collector receives proof of ownership. Dissemination is naturally enhanced due to the monetization of the work.

  • Ownership of the work

“Digital art is art and the artist’s royalties will never be taken away from the culture.” — Superchief NFT

Since the beginning of time, artists have not stopped fighting for the ownership of their works. From the start, they looked for galleries to represent them and later expanded their own channels. The emergence of NFT has brought about a reshaping of relationships, breaking the traditional distribution/definition of roles. To some extent, the market did solve the long-standing problem of artists’ works not being fairly compensated, and the structure of NFT sales cut off the middlemen such as galleries and institutions that would normally control sales from beginning to end. At present, however, the rights standard for NFT is still at a very early stage, and standardized and clear definitions of NFT personal use rights, secondary creation licenses, and commercialization rights have yet to emerge. At the same time, the development of machine-readable NFT rights standards in the future is something to look forward to.

Sturtevant Warhol Diptych, Christie’s
  • Traditional Platforms Participate

With the booming NFT market, mainstream art-related portals have added NFT options, and even the collector website 1stBids has opened its NFT trading portal to provide a channel for non-crypto native 1stDibs collectors to buy. Currently, the platform allows vetted creators and artists to upload their works and casts to be displayed on 1stDibs for sale. The secondary marketplace feature allows any NFT owner who has purchased through 1stDibs to list and sell their work on the platform.

Auction of Girl with balloon, Banksy
  • Public and Private Interests in Artwork

In addition, the release of NFT works by artists helps to serve both the public domain and private collectors. The public interest in art lies in the ability of anyone to appreciate a great work of art, even though they did not create or own it. Broadly speaking, this is why public and private museums exist. In most cases, the public benefits of a work of art far exceed even the private benefits.

In traditional art, the private interest of the collector and the public interest are often opposed — a physical work can only be in one place at a time, and you can’t hang a painting in your home for everyone to enjoy — yet there is also a public interest in art that belongs neither to the artist nor to the collector. Take the most mundane example, there is hardly anyone who doesn’t love the starry sky of Van Gogh or the smile of the Mona Lisa, but none of us owns them. In a broad sense, this is why there are public and private museums.

The Starry Night Over The Rhone, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh

In many cases, the public good may far outweigh the private good in terms of social value, and at least so far, we have been unable to find a way to quantify the public good of art. Artists declare their positions or criticize things through their work, and people of the same magnetic field are brought together by their work, and a “consensus” is thus reached, more or less.

NFT offers a very superior model for maximizing both private and public interests. The first and most obvious one is that NFT separates ownership and identity from the display. Holder of a BAYC has the identity, the ownership, the private interest of a connoisseur of art, and the proof of vision and subsequent appreciation, yet at the same time, everyone can enjoy and view it.

Sometimes non-NFT’s, maybe right click to save at this stage when people freak out. “But if everyone else can see it, why would you pay so much for it?” But people don’t want to hide their art collection. In this case, and NFT offers a model for achieving both private and public benefits.

  • People know who the collector of a particular NFT is, but they don’t need to wait until the collector is old enough to donate the work to a museum before they can see it,** and the creator gets more exposure as a result. **Creators get more exposure.
  • Thanks to the combinability of NFT, a single work can be used and viewed in several different places, achieving public benefit without the cost of building a physical museum.
Galerie Perrotin

“Mean and petty collectors let art languish in warehouses in Freeport, great collectors build museums and galleries for the public good. “ — Twitter @punk6529

2. NFT Gallery landscape

Museums without material costs

The virtual gallery eliminates the high costs of offline galleries in terms of installation, transportation, and rent, and facilitates the inclusion of new and emerging art forms with easy accessibility and interactivity through the Internet and hardware. It is no longer an unattainable vision to see and socialize with friends from around the world across physical distances in the Metaverse.

How does the NFT Gallery fulfil our needs?

Game engines such as Unity and Unreal are the main suite of tools to enable immersive digital experiences, scene modeling relies on other 3D software, and finally, the platform grabs the NFT information from the on-chain contract to allow curators to display their collections. To achieve the best possible experience in the virtual gallery, it is also necessary to have the help of real-time renderers and physics engines, the platform’s support for new hardware such as VR\AR\MR, optimization of interaction design, etc.

Virtual Gallery Landscape

While physical art is seeking online exhibition channels, crypto native digital art is moving offline. Let’s review the definition of a gallery in the traditional sense: a space that shows the owner’s taste and sells the artist’s work. As the line between virtual and real is blurring, do people also need a Cyberspace gallery to display their NFT collections?

I will have exhibition properties of the “virtual gallery” is divided into the following four categories.

  • AR gallery combined with offline
  • Online purely virtual 3D gallery space
  • Virtual land-based galleries in the metaverse
  • Traditional museums/galleries/institutions that build their own virtual 3D galleries

In addition, content screening platforms representing the role of “curators” are likely to build their own 3D galleries in the future, so I have divided them into a separate category.

a) AR, offline combination

  • Illust Space.

A global provider of AR (Augmented Reality) infrastructure that allows users to place and interact with NFTs in real-world maps, and also provides a platform for NFT trading. Currently more NFTs are being placed in North America.

Crying Dragon
  • Veve.

Cooerating with Marvel, Disney, Pixar and other big IP official to launch 3D models and related comic series NFT, the goal is to bring pop culture into the digital world through interactive experiences, and favorite characters in AR interaction ECOMI life and death currently through the fiat currency to pay dollars for Gem to buy collectibles, the more Gems users buy, the more OMI tokens are destroyed.

b) Pure Virtual Gallery

A VR gallery that focuses on immersive art experiences and easy-to-use interactive features. It is currently accessible on mobile and VR devices, and supports NFT in 2D+3D.

Spatial.io
  • Oncyber:

It is offering four free gallery templates, with paid gallery prototypes designed by creators. Offers Holder exclusive gallery space, with the possibility of developing Social.

  • Monaverse.

An immersive 3D NFT space platform that combines museums, galleries, and artists provides a high-quality sensory experience and real-time social features through a game engine. Users can purchase Mona spaces on Opensea, or create their own spaces using any 3D modelling software, package them in Unity, and upload them to the platform for casting. A VR device interface will be available in the future, with the potential for integration with games.

NeonGlitch86 & 78Special,Neon City Streets Archonomous, Cloud Agora
  • Dissrup: Artist-centric Curation platform and collaboration with industry-leading artists to create collections that consumers can own and use in the virtual world.
Artur De Menezes — ‘Sugar‘ Pill (2022).
  • Realm.

Users can view immersive art exhibitions in AR galleries, interact with the immortal 3D pet NFT, plant trees (the team will plant a real tree for every tree in Realm), and build their own metaverse using the Godot open source game engine on Ether L1 or L2. The art gallery is only part of the functionality.

  • Vrnft.

A pure VR gallery where users can create their own VR artwork and add it to the gallery in virtual reality, currently in beta.

c) meta-universe of NFT galleries within the platform, the disadvantages and advantages are equally obvious — in the case of Crypto Voxels, while it is less difficult to build a virtual gallery and plots are relatively cheap, the Voxels model is not destined to achieve some spatially complex sensory experiences.

d) Traditional museums/art galleries explored in the virtual world

Compared to Crypto native’s NFT galleries, traditional museums and galleries face more problems in that they need to re-model or scan the original artwork and then place it in a virtual space. This is why the virtual versions of traditional galleries are used more for science and education, while commercial galleries or auction houses want to use them for new commercial activities.

  • Washington History Museum
National museum of natural history virtual tour
  • Sotheby’s auction house in decentraland
Sotheby, Decentraland
  • Art discovery platform Artsy has developed the “View in Room” AR augmented reality feature in its APP, which allows users to experience the effect of artworks in real space through the APP.

e) Curatorial Platform

Provide screening and highlight the taste of curators, the quality of content is relatively guaranteed.

  • Art block.

It’s an Ethereum-based platform for generative art, with curated series selling at high prices.

entretiempos by Marcelo Soria, Artblock Curated Collection.

entretiempos by Marcelo Soria, Artblock Curated Collection
  • Foundation.

Invite-only community focused on high-quality creativity and art, using a limited automated time auction sales method, the platform features a variety of art, mostly carefully curated and generated specialized artworks NFT, but also music and memes, among others.

Foundation.app
  • Rarecandy.xyz.

An ethereum-based NFT online publisher that screens artists and then makes available a selection of digital artists’ works, assuming the role of curator. Part of the NFT on the site is a license to access the 3D animation space created by the creator, not the space itself.

The beta version has just been launched and can only be accessed through links created by selected artists themselves.

Ashtar Command, Monochrome Portrait phtograohy

Currently it’s Asia’s largest decentralized NFT encrypted digital art trading platform, with certain requirements for resident artists.

Although the above-mentioned virtual galleries are presented in different forms, they can be classified according to their functions as follows.

  1. Public display space for artists’ private work display/portfolio
  2. Private space that allows collectors/blue-chip NFT holders to display their collections to showcase their artistic taste or satisfy their bragging rights.
  3. A platform for curators/curators to integrate artists’ works and then publish/display them, usually with a commercial nature
  4. Virtual space with social attributes, where events and parties can be held
  5. Museums/professional thematic galleries with an educational aspect

3. All about human and humanity

What are we looking at when we visit a gallery? Why do we need galleries and museums?

Looking for inspiration / to empty our brains / for selfies / just passing by…… There are countless factors bring us into offline galleries. Everyone sees something different in an art gallery, a venue where people relax, learn about art, develop an aesthetic, and inspire creativity, or go to collect and enjoy a range of events hosted by the gallery.

a) Aesthetic Experience

People don’t need to be professionally trained in art to pursue art and beauty instinctively. Apple’s design aesthetic has brought great commercial benefits. The function of clothing is to protect against the cold and shelter the body, but people will add design to fabric to form fashion. Aesthetics and design invisibly influence how people think and feel, giving us pleasure and satisfaction from products and determining our long-term attitudes toward them and even people.

b) Curiosity

Curiosity is another attribute that is engrained in human bones. Evidence of a broader public awareness of the civic role of museums as educators and institutions of knowledge, which translated into their value during the epidemic, is that.

“They are looking for things that come from reliable sources, so they don’t want anything that can be found online, they don’t necessarily want more things that come from entertainment sources, they really do, they are looking for things that they think have educational value because they come from museum institutions.” — Noehrer

Back to the business part: who is buying art? **

  • According to U.S. trust, about one in five high net worth individuals choose to collect art, and the wealthiest are more likely to use art to build wealth and diversify their investments. 63% of purchasers have a bachelor’s degree or higher in their household.
  • A growing number of new generation collectors are flooding the art collecting market, with UBS reporting that 30% of new generation collectors will spend more than $1 million in 2020 (compared to 17% of baby boomers). They are often more likely to do their own research and rely on their own judgments rather than traditional agents to make buying decisions, and they are more receptive to online showrooms.
  • In 2020, 72% of art purchases originated from private collectors, while museums, private institutions, art consultants/specialists and interior designers account for just 28% of total purchases.

Who is collecting NFT?

According to the NFT transaction tracking website nonfungible.com, approximately 28.6 million wallets traded NFT as of 2021, and NFT sales grew 131 times between 2020 and 2021, with collectibles being the most popular form of NFT.

New entrants

  • Approximately 44% of all bidders in Sotheby’s NFT auctions in 2021 were first-time bidders, and 80% of all NFT bidders were newcomers. In its year-end report, Sotheby’s said that more than half of those who shopped for NFT were under the age of 40.

Millennials

  • According to Morning Consult’s research, Millennials are the most likely to participate in NFTs. They are three times more likely to buy and sell these assets than their Generation Z counterparts.
  • The study also shows that general interest in NFT is growing, based on a love of “collecting. About one-third of U.S. adults say they collect some form of a physical object as a hobby.
Giant Whale
  • Giant Whale

According to the Financial Times and Chainalysis, about 360,000 NFT owners hold about $2.7 million in NFT. However, about 9% of the entire group is responsible for about 80% of the market value. This suggests that most of the value of NFT belongs to some of the whales currently holding the most expensive NFT.

Why do people buy art?

According to the 2021 Artsy report, 67% of collectors buy art out of a passion for collecting, while 58% want to buy art for decoration. Purchases made in the hope of supporting the artist accounted for 47%, purchases inspired and enlightened by artwork accounted for 46%, and 42% of collectors said their purchase was an investment decision.

Why do people buy art NFT?

Not only has the NFT boom that came with crypto made people FOMO, but the global inflation and consumer K-type recovery that came with the epidemic has made collectors consider whether art NFT has similar properties to physical art to be used as an investable asset.

a) Being an art collector looks cool

Before doing something because I really want to do it, or just because it looks cool? Herding and lack of independent thinking are very prominent phenomena among NFT collectors. When one person starts clapping, a group of people start applauding. And collectors/giant whales with discerning tastes are more likely to make huge waves in this market.

b) Community — Social, Cultural Circle

Socialization is an evolved mechanism. In ancient times, it was difficult for an individual to resist natural disasters and find food alone, so they needed to establish cooperative relationships with other people to exchange information and resources with each other and work together to be able to improve their chances of survival for themselves and their offspring. As human civilization has evolved, the desire to connect with others remains the most powerful human motivation, although the ways and requirements of socialization are constantly changing. NFT can indeed be thought of as a ticket to a circle of cool people.

c) Identity and Belongingness

We unconsciously follow trends and so-called “decent” lifestyles, and most of us cannot escape the influence of “ideology”.

In a sense, it does bring some sense of identity and belonging to the lonely web surfer.

d) Sense of ownership, joy of collecting, security and instinct

There are many reasons to collect. Some people do it for pleasure; others to learn more about the object; others seek status or prestige; many do it to show loyalty to something. People, for fear of being forgotten, want others to find them at all times and try to define the value of their self-existence through other frames of reference.

For those who collect, the value of their collection is not monetary but emotional. Collecting can provide psychological security by filling a part of the self that a person feels is missing or meaningless. In addition, people need to own “objects of desire” to gain a sense of ownership and control.

e) Investment Attributes

Who has never thought they would win the lottery? There is never a shortage of stories of overnight riches in this circle, I don’t need to write about it.

It’s cool to bet on artists you admire and prove your vision after the bull and bear rotations.

4. Future — Possibilities

  • Combination of physical gallery/offline use scenario and online

a) If we can virtualize traditional galleries, why can’t we physicalize NFT galleries?

  • Superchief Gallery.

opened the world’s first physical NFT gallery in New York, leading NFT works from virtual to reality.

Superchief gallery
  • Seattle NFT Museum (SNFTM).
Seattlenftmuseum

b) Possibility of combining immersive exhibitions and NFT

With a physical exhibition of art shows, offline visitors can interact with the generated art in real time on site. Moreover, immersive art generally comes with a strong visual impact, which is in line with NFT consumer preferences.

Ouchhh Studio

c) Free curatorial space platforms may also develop paid shelf formats in the future, and artists may find such platforms profitable by charging monthly fees to galleries

What are the commonalities and differences between virtual galleries and physical galleries?

Commonalities

  • The importance of space: the architecture and interior design of a gallery is itself part of the gallery, whether it is a virtual or physical gallery, to appreciate the feeling that the space conveys is part of the experience of visiting a gallery.
  • Fluidity and comfort of viewing are important too: Many people have experienced moments when they are confused about what the artist is trying to say, so good viewing instructions and guides and explanations will greatly improve the comfort of viewing.
  • Asset properties: the current virtual gallery also commonly exists in the form of NFT, and is also endowed with art and community properties, also has asset storage and appreciation expectations.
MIHO Museum

Differentiation

  • In the traditional gallery industry, the artist has to share a portion of the benefit to the gallery, and the question related to whether NFT creators need to pay the curator/online gallery is not being discussed at this time. However, artists in the crypto world are free, and no one can stop them from building a virtual gallery for themselves anymore.
  • Genius Loci (Spirit of Place) indicates that each place has its own independent characteristics that fit the environment, history, culture, land, and theme in which it is located at the moment, thus presenting a different spiritual experience to visitors. The most unfortunate aspect of a purely elevated virtual gallery is that it cannot have a “Context”, while a gallery built in a metaverse does have some advantages in this regard.
  • The design of a virtual gallery is no longer limited by space and construction, and can fully express the aesthetics and spirit of the owner.

The undisputed advantages of virtual galleries can be summarized as follows

  • Low cost: Save the cost of rent, exhibition, operating staff, etc., making it possible for ordinary people to own a gallery and experience the pleasure of art collection
  • Access convenience: no time and space constraints, bringing a quality aesthetic experience
  • Public: Maximizes public and private interests, and has educational attributes that can provide online teaching scenarios for art/design courses
  • Archiving: the same series of NFT works by artists can be presented more systematically
  • Possibilities: The ability to push the boundaries of the imagination to create scenes and spatial experiences that are difficult to present in the real world

Last but not least.

Suspense Before The Performance by Charles Billich

While writing this article I visited a private gallery nearby Darling Harbour, and in the course of my wanderings I not only gained information about images, ideas, and inspiration, but also chatted with the gallery manager and listened to stories.

Space and time were intertwining.

Of course we can spend all day swiping at a 2D monitor, but we also need the amazing experience of sitting in front of our favorite artwork all day.

Although it may not be possible in reality, I’m able to have a private gallery by the sea in the virtual world and buy many art pieces I like to put inside. It is human nature to “collect”, we are all human.

For me, ERC20 has the divisibility likes the material world, ERC721 (NFT) is more like the soul/spirit, indivisible and integral, so when you have an NFT, you have a piece of soul that cannot be cut.

I’m looking up at the starry sky from the ruins of civilization, no one can stop my mind from roaming in the universe.

End.

References

https://www.8btc.com/article/6736912https://twitter.com/punk6529/status/1493973723547934726?s=21

https://www.1stdibs.com/info/the-conversation/

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https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-021-00921-8

https://www.ubs.com/cn/sc/asset-management/insights/macro-and-asset-allocation/2021/global-art-market-report-2021.html

https://findstack.com/nft-statistics/#:~:text=As of 2021 there are around 360%2C000 NFT owners&text=According to the Financial Times and Chainalysis%2C there are approximately,80%25 of the market value.

https://morningconsult.com/2021/04/05/millennials-nfts-collectibles/

https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/dreamscape-vr-dallas-northpark-center-1203293982/

https://www.8btc.com/article/6736912

https://nftplazas.com/exploring-studio-nouveau-art-gallery-in-decentraland/

https://www.vulture.com/2021/04/superchief-first-physical-nft-art-gallery-whatever-that-means.html

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