Home Business Damien Hirst Burns artwork after collectors take NFTs (tokens) instead

Damien Hirst Burns artwork after collectors take NFTs (tokens) instead

Damien Hirst attends a burn event as part of his latest NFT exhibition

Britain’s Damien Hirst began burning hundreds of his artworks on Tuesday after collectors chose to use their non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain-based assets to represent their digital images, instead.

Hearst, who rose to fame among the Young British Artists scene of the 1990s, launched his first NFT collection “The Currency” – 10,000 NFTs, in July 2021, in line with 10,000 original artworks depicting color spots.

Collectors had to choose between keeping the NFT, which reportedly sold for $2,000, or swapping it for a physical artwork. According to London’s Newport Street Gallery, some 5,149 chose the latter while 4,851 chose the NFT.

It said that artifacts would be destroyed for non-exchange NFTs and vice versa. Hearst told his Instagram followers on Monday that he would burn 1,000 artworks on Tuesday.

Livestreaming the event, the Turner Prize winner and assistants used tongs to deposit individual pieces in piles into the fireplace in the gallery as spectators watched.

“Many people think I’m burning millions of dollars worth of art, but I’m not, I’m just burning physical volumes to turn these physical artifacts into NFTs,” Hurst wrote on Instagram on Monday.

“The value of art digital or physical that is hard to define at the best of times will not be lost, it will be transferred to NFTs as soon as they burn.”

Artifacts created in 2016 with enamel paint on handmade paper and each numbered, titled, stamped and signed, will be burned until the “Currency” exhibition closes on October 30.

NFTs soared in popularity last year as crypto-rich speculators sought to capitalize on rising prices, but sales volumes have declined recently.

Hearst, 57, is known for her divisive works, which include “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”, featuring a dead shark swimming in formaldehyde, and “Mother and Child, Divided”, a bifurcated cow and Calf included.

He is also famous for his spot painting and “For the Love of God”, a platinum cast of an 18th-century human skull bound with diamonds.

When asked how he felt about burning the works, Hearst said: “It feels good, better than I expected.”

($1 = 0.9022 pounds)

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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