As the NFT art market grows, so do the number of ways to showcase digital works, from new digital frames to online marketplaces, metaverse shows and auctions, to physical galleries from the venerable Christie’s and the upstart Superchief.
In Los Angeles, a new physical gallery for digital art has opened on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and it’s attracting interest from Hollywood and OG artists alike.
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The Gall3ry by Kollectiff is a 4,600-square-foot, appointment-only space that was created by Rupert Runewitsch, chief growth officer of Kollectiff, a Web3 venture studio with 20 employees that has worked with clients such as DressX and U.K. indie rock band The Wombats.
“We wanted to bring an NFT hub to the neighborhood for people to have a digital experience in real life,” he says of the venue, which is outfitted with screens that can be rented at a weekly fee for events and exhibitions, with Kollectiff taking a cut of sales.
The gallery hosted its first exhibition in March, with NFTs by 13-year-old digital artist Nyla Hayes, Jenkins the Valet of Bored Ape Yacht Club fame and Julie Pacino, who followed a path from photography into NFTs and used them to fund her movie, “I Live Here Now.”
“Nyla has made almost $6 million in Ethereum for her first collection…all of the pieces we showed were based on Time magazine’s most influential women, and the ‘Long Neckie’ portraits she made of them,” Runewitsch explains, adding that the gallery takes payment in cryptocurrency and buyers can purchase NFTs on the spot using a QR code on the screen that takes them to the OpenSea marketplace.
“The opening drew three times as many people as we expected, and I did a lot of chatting with old-school artists who wanted to know what this was all about,” he adds, mentioning L.A. artist Pontus Willfors for one, and pointing out photography and other works by locals on the walls upstairs. Kollectiff also functions as a Web3 members’ only club and coworking space, where buying a customized NFT is the price of entry. A Miami outpost will be opening soon.
Hayes and the other two digital artists in the first L.A. show are represented by CAA, and the exhibition marked the first time the agency has partnered with a gallery to show the work of its NFT creators.
“[Rupert] and his team built out this impressive space,” says CAA executive Tom Capone, who worked with the gallery on the project, adding that the agency has been active in the Web3 space for more than a year and represents about a dozen artists. “The concept of community is something central for Web3.…Having the ability to bring people together to meet in real life who you might have been talking to for the last year online, or share a common interest or appreciation for an artist with, whether that’s in an gallery, at a street mural painting party or one of the conferences, has been powerful for a lot of these collectors.”
Despite all the hype, the verdict on NFT art sales in physical galleries is still TBD. According to a 2022 Artsy Gallery Insights report by online sales platform Artsy, only 11 percent of galleries sold NFTs in 2021, while 67 percent said their clients hadn’t even asked about them. Of those that did sell NFTs, half said their total sales value was $50,000 or less, and only 5 percent made more than $250,000 selling NFTs in 2021.
Still, so far, the programming at Kollectiff has been brisk.
Dakota Fanning, Myles O’Neal and Gigi Paris were among the guests at an event this month hosted by celebrity photographer Max Montgomery, where portraits started at 0.5 ETH and included an NFT of the image.
And on June 3, Kollectiff will be showcasing the Spirit Coin NFT art of Nicole Buffett, granddaughter of Warren Buffett, who uses her earnings to support environmental and social causes. Future workshops are also being planned to teach people how to create and mint their own NFTs.
“Within the NFT space there is so much possibility and the whole point of this space is to educate,” Runewitsch says.
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