🎹 Themes and variations (Issue #81)
Vera Molnár makes history, again.
This week represented a unique milestone in the world of Web3. Vera Molnár, the 99-year-old generative artist and computer/algorithmic art pioneer, released her first (and “only”) on-chain collection of digital artworks in collaboration with artist Martin Grasser (who also, incidentally, was behind the iconic, now-retired Twitter bird logo the company adopted in 2012).
Dubbed “Themes and Variations,” the collection of 500 pieces was sold via Sotherby’s, with buyers getting the chance to mint a piece, rather than seeing what they were buying beforehand.
Hear from Vera Molnár, @martingrasser and experts on the creative journey behind the making of 'Themes and Variations.'
— Sotheby's Metaverse (@Sothebysverse)
Jul 20, 2023
The collection also represented the first time Sotheby’s has used a Dutch auction mechanism, with a starting price of 20 ETH per piece, which went down by 0.1 ETH every 15 seconds. The 480 available pieces (Molnár and Sotheby’s kept 10 each) sold out in less than an hour, raising 631 ETH (~$1.2 million) in the process.
Each work riffed on the letters N, F, and T, on account of the way those three letters in combination (often treated as a four-letter work by the art establishment) “changed the conversation around digital art forever.”
It’s hard to overstate Molnár’s influence on generative art, a genre that’s enjoyed renewed interest — and record-breaking sales — in recent years thanks to platforms like Art Blocks and fx hash and the growing interest in the blockchain technologies they harness.
We’re such fans of generative art we incubated digital generative art institution, Le Random, which takes its name from Molnár’s comments on the power of randomness as a creative force. Le Random minted 26 pieces from the collection, which collectively do an excellent job of showing the algorithm’s range.
Themes and Variations by Vera Molnár, in collaboration with @martingrasser on @Sothebysverse
We had a special day yesterday, minting 26 pieces from this historic collection.
A 🧵 on some additional project info + our favorite mints... twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Le Random (@lerandomart)
Jul 27, 2023
There’s something about generative art collections that reminds us of iconic musical albums. There’s a unifying style and theme that make it clear each work is from the same artist, but there’s also sufficient variety to each track that makes them interesting in isolation.
It’s little wonder then that part of Molnár’s practice is inspired by music. As the artist explains:
“All these variations around letters resonate in me like music. Even though I stopped playing the piano at the age of 15, music has never left me. I immediately think of Goldberg Variations or Beethoven's Diabelli Variations on a Waltz. That's why I gave the title Theme and Variations to the latest project with the letters N, F, and T that I am working on for my first and only long-form generative art project.”
We expect the generative movement will continue to mine its rich history for gems, and we’re excited to see what gets unearthed because the era of computer-aided is just coming into its own, and future generations are going to look back in awe while many of those who lived through it will be kicking themselves for not supporting it sooner.
To the moon 🌙
This week, the Lumen Prize — which celebrates artists using technology to produce their work — announced its longlist for each category. We’re the proud sponsor of the inaugural generative art award and were ecstatic at the caliber of entries we received:
Today the @lumenprize revealed its longlist, and we're delighted to be able to announce the eight artists longlisted for the inaugural Metaversal Generative Art Award.
In alphabetical order by artist, the finalists are:
— Metaversal (@HelloMetaversal)
Jul 27, 2023
Speaking of awards, entries for the Mona Shorts Fest — “the world’s first metaverse short film festival” — are open. Entrants need to create their shorts in the Monaverse, and stand to win $3,000 in categories like “Mona Short for Anime” and “Best Leading Avatar.”
Gucci Vault Exchange is live at 10ktf.shop for all Gucci Vault Material NFT holders.
Turn the digital textile into Gucci physicals starting now through August 25, 2023 at 3:00 PM PT.
Visit 10ktf.shop for full details.
— Wagmi-san (@10KTFshop)
Jul 27, 2023
Americana, a service that lets customers “vault” physical items from cars to postage stamps and create a tokenized version for displaying, trading, or loaning, has made its offering available to the public.
If you own a Bored Ape and want to use its likeness for merchandise, sparkling water, custom jewelry, or anything else, you can now apply for a license from Yuga Labs through a new initiative called “Made by Apes,” which will also allow you to brand your wares accordingly. Maybe Justin Bieber will be able to recoup a bit on his Ape after all:
Made by Apes is here — Members can head to to request a license now.
We're proud to introduce this first-of-its-kind on-chain licensing for a club full of builders, done in partnership with @SaaSyLabs.
Follow the thread below for more on Made By Apes 🧵
— Bored Ape Yacht Club (@BoredApeYC)
Jul 24, 2023
In a reversal of Americana’s digitize-the-physical model, digital fashion brand MNTGE’s latest NFT drop, “Patchwork” lets buyers of the 7,500 pieces claim physical patches. The patches are designed by 11 artists, including Coldie, OSF, and Jen Stark.
Electronic music platform Beatport has launched Beatport.io, a new platform that lets artists create and distribute digital collectibles. Its first offering is a piece called “Nachts Berlin” by photographer Mischa Fanghaenel and composer Gerd Janson commemorating Berlin night life.
Explore the future of electronic music culture with @btprtio's Web3 platform! 🎧
Introducing @Nachts_Berlin by Mischa Fanghaenel, a glimpse into Berlin's techno scene. Get the exclusive 'Door' Edition with music by Gerd Janson.
Join now: 🔗 bit.ly/43HJPv5
— Beatport (@beatport)
Jul 27, 2023
Beeple’s first sculpture, “Human One,” is on display in the U.S. for the first time. The piece, bought for $29 million by tech entrepreneur Ryan Zurrer, is on display at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, until early 2024.
Thought of the week 🧠
You get what you repeat.
— DeeZe (@DeeZe)
Jul 28, 2023
Connect for more 🔌
Until next time, see you in the metaverse!