Art

Jeff Koons will send 125 sculptures to the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX after he sells them as NFTs

American pop artist Jeff Koons will send 125 miniature sculptures to the moon with the help of multi-billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The ‘Moon Phases’ statues will be sold as NFTs and buyers will receive a photo of their lunar location and a sculpture with a gemstone marking their extra-terrestrial counterpart’s place on the moon.

They are up for sale at the Art Basel fair in Switzerland, a contemporary art event where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage this year.

NFTs are digital assets which work like certificates of ownership, they are built using the blockchain and each have a unique digital signature.

The sculptures will be installed 384,400 kilometers (238,855 miles) apart from their owners.

‘We’re also seeing it for the first time,’ said Pace gallery director Marc Glimcher as he unveiled a moon-shaped statue about the size of a beach ball at his stand in Basel.

Jeff Koons' 'Moon phases' statues (pictured) will be sold as NFTs and then installed on the moon with the help of a SpaceX rocket

Jeff Koons’ ‘Moon phases’ statues (pictured) will be sold as NFTs and then installed on the moon with the help of a SpaceX rocket

A total of 125 miniature versions of the sculpture will be sold and then blasted 384,400 kilometers away to the moon's surface

A total of 125 miniature versions of the sculpture will be sold and then blasted 384,400 kilometers away to the moon’s surface

Buyers of the NFTs will be able to take home a smaller version of the sculpture with a gemstone marking its location on the moon

Buyers of the NFTs will be able to take home a smaller version of the sculpture with a gemstone marking its location on the moon

One of Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket will transport the 125 sculptures and put them on the surface of the moon

One of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket will transport the 125 sculptures and put them on the surface of the moon

Artist Jeff Koons is famous for his works such as 'Rabbit' (pictured) which sold for $91.1 million and 'Balloon dog'

Artist Jeff Koons is famous for his works such as ‘Rabbit’ (pictured) which sold for $91.1 million and ‘Balloon dog’

Jeff Koons is well-known for his shiny stainless steel sculpture inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, called Rabbit (1986), that sold for $91.1million in 2019.

The second richest artist in the world still holds the record for the most expensive price paid at auction for a work by a living artist.

‘Moon Phases’ is the first NFT project by the polarizing artist, which he said is ‘rooted in humanistic and philosophical thought’.

He said: ‘I’ve always enjoyed the idea of ​​creating a global art, art that really is about every human being’s aspiration to have a more fulfilling life.

‘To be able to touch on meaning, what it means to be a human being.’

'American Kitchen and Chinese Cockroaches' (2019) by Chineses artist Huang Yong Ping

‘American Kitchen and Chinese Cockroaches’ (2019) by Chineses artist Huang Yong Ping

The artwork 'Spider' by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois is on display at the international art show Art Basel and sold for $40 million

The artwork ‘Spider’ by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois is on display at the international art show Art Basel and sold for $40 million

Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Togo poses by his artwork 'Bilongue' during a preview day of Art Basel

Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Togo poses by his artwork ‘Bilongue’ during a preview day of Art Basel

A visitor holds a cell phone displaying a virtual art piece

NFTs are becoming more popular at the world's premier modern and contemporary art fair in Basel

A number of virtual art pieces, NFTs, have been up for sale at the art fair in Switzerland

A visitor walks past Leonardo Drews artwork 'number 341'

A visitor walks past Leonardo Drews artwork ‘number 341’

WHAT ARE NFTs?

What is a NFT? A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.

What do they look like? Most NFTs include some kind of digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into an NFT.

Where do you buy them? At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.

Why would I want to own one? There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors’ items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.

When were NFTs created? Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.

The fair, which runs from June 16-19, also features a host of non-digital works — from an installation by Franco-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping depicting a kitchen strewn with giant cockroaches, to a series of portraits carved in wood by Franco -Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Toguo.

A spider sculpture by the French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois fetched $40 million.

Along with sales of yachts, luxury cars, watches, and jewellery, the art market strongly recovered in 2021 after the shock of the pandemic in 2020.

The stock market rebounded sharply last year, swelling the coffers of the ultra-rich splash — and inflation is giving wealthy collectors yet another reason to out on a multi-million-dollar painting.

Pace is one of the few major galleries to have ventured into the field of NFTs. According to Clare McAndrew, author of an art market report for Art Basel, only six percent of galleries sold NFTs in 2021.

The NFT market grew from 2020–2021, the trading of NFTs in 2021 increased to more than $17 billion, up by 21,000% over 2020’s total of $82 million.

Since peaking in August 2021, NFTs have plummeted. While art-related NFT sales volumes soared to $945 million in August, they fell to $366 million in January and then to $101 million in May, according to McAndrew’s records.

Cryptocurrencies, which are closely tied with NFTs, have been plummeting in value in recent months.

The popular Bitcoin has lost around 28% since Friday, more than half of its value this year, and is down 70% from a record high in November.

Overall the blockchain-based currency is down about 59% in 2022, while rival cryptocurrency Ethereum-backed ether is down 73%.

These ups and downs in crypto and NFTs don’t faze the owner of the Pace gallery though, who believes that NFTs represent a ‘new methodology for distributing digital art’.

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