Sotheby’s Is Launching Another Digital Art Auction, This Time on The Art Before NFTs

Sotheby’s is launching the third edition of its Natively Digital series next week, titled Natively Digital 1.3: Generative Art.

Natively Digital 1.3, which opens for bidding on April 18, focuses primarily on early digital art, specifically generative art and early pioneers like Chuck Csuri and Roman Verostko. The first two iterations, which happened in June and October last year, focused on NFTs made by contemporary digital artists who had already found success in the NFT community, such as Mad Dog Jones or Pak.

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Highlighted in the Natively Digital 1.3 sale is Vera Molnár, not only one of the first artists to venture into generative and computer art, but widely considered to be the first woman to do so. On sale is one of her earlier works using a computer plotter, 1% de désordre (1976). In this work, rows of concentric squares were plotted out by a computer, but two squares were programmed to be randomly omitted. 1% de désordre has an estimated sale price of $15,000-$20,000.

A related work that will also be available at the sale, 2% of disorder in co-operation, an NFT project she began this year on the occasion of her 98th birthday. In this work, visitors to her studio filled in random squares on a piece of graph paper that already had one square filled in. An NFT of these works goes to the winning bidder, while the physical work will remain in the artist’s archive.  2% of disorder in co-operation, #01 is estimated at $100,000-$150,000.

Contemporary works of generative art will also be included.

One section of the sale offers generative artworks made with artificial intelligence. All of these works are animated, shifting in form, and will be sold as NFTs. Anne Spalter’s The Wonder of It All (2020) (estimated at $20,000-$30,000), for example, displays what seems like an urban landscape that is constantly morphing. Spalter launched the original digital fine arts courses at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design. Other artists in this category include Anna Ridler, Pindar Van Arman (her work, Quantum Skull (2022), includes a physical component that is sold separately from an NFT of the same name), and Sofia Crespo.

The final section is titled “Creating with Code” which features NFTs made through creatively coded algorithms. Included in this section are highly-successful NFT artists Tyler Hobbs and Dmitri Cherniak, whose generative artworks first found mass success on the generative art NFT platform ArtBlocks.

Bidding for Natively Digital 1.3: Generative Art will end April 25th, online only. A physical exhibition of the works will be on view at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from 19 – 24 April.


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