Christie’s & Robert Alice Team Up for Generative Art NFT Auction

In October 2020, the iconic auction house Christie’s sold its first NFT from London-based artist, writer, and crypto art pioneer Robert Alice. Since then, Christie’s has remained bullish on NFTs and digital art, even launching its own Web3 community called Christie’s 3.0 — a platform for selling Ethereum-based NFTs.

Today, Alice is back at Christie’s with the release of ‘SOURCE [ON NFTs],’ the first on-chain generative art collection from Christie’s 3.0. Consisting of 400 unique works, the NFT collection also coincides with the launch of Alice’s new book ‘ON NFTs,’ published by Taschen. The book, which spans 600 pages and profiles 100 digital artists from thirty-two countries, is being billed as the largest historical study about the genesis and growth of NFTs in the digital art world.

Alice’s new NFT collection, SOURCE [ON NFTS], consists of 400 generative digital paintings created using a Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm. The algorithm analyzed source materials including texts from crypto white papers, science fiction books, Chinese philosophy and more, in order to generate new texts and color fields.

According to Alice, he was inspired to experiment with generative text because at their core, NFTs “are just text,” whether it be the text of a hyperlink or on-chain text. The text is what “creates and secures NFTs.”

The new generative art NFT collection will be sold on Christie’s 3.0 via the Dutch auction format. The first ten buyers to mint a digital painting will also receive rare, signed editions of the book that feature a stainless-steel slipcase.

Since selling the first NFT on Christie’s, ‘Blocks 21’ from ‘Portraits of a Mind,’ back in 2020, Alice has been increasingly active in Web3 both as an artist and curator. In 2021, he worked with Sotheby’s to curate ‘Natively Digital,’ an exhibition of Web3 native artists, and in 2022, he co-produced the first academic conference on NFTs at Oxford University called ‘OxBAT.’ He also lectures around the world on NFTs and is a trained art historian.

Sotheby’s Auction Houses Also Embraces Web3

For fans of Robert Alice and people interested in NFT history, today’s launch of the NFT collection and accompanying book is exciting news. But Christie’s isn’t the only iconic auction house that’s been bullish on Web3 lately. Sotheby’s, an auction house established in London in 1744, has also been making moves in the space. Here are the top stories.

First, about six months ago, Sotheby’s auctioned 300 replicas of Grant Yun’s work ‘The Last Supper’ at Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale. Yun was the only Web3 artist to be invited to the prestigious annual auction. The 1:1 work was also displayed at the event in collaboration with Avant Arte, an art discovery marketplace.

Next, nine months ago, Sotheby’s celebrated its 300-year history with the release of an NFT collection from the pioneering French artist Vera Molnár. Themes and Variations featured 500 unique algorithmically generated artworks created in collaboration with generative artist Martin Grasser.

Finally, on June 15th, Sotheby’s hosted the largest ever live auction of digital art from Three Arrows Capital’s (3AC) GRAILS collection. The auction consisted of 37 artworks that could be purchased with fiat, Bitcoin, ETH, or USDC.

Even as the NFT market has struggled in recent years, contemporary artists and iconic auction houses have continued to embrace the nascent technology. With today’s auction of Christie’s first generative art NFTs and the publication of Alice’s historical book On NFTs, the history of NFT art is not only being recorded — but made.