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Physical Art or NFTs: Damien Hirst Fans Have Picked a Side

What would you choose?
Damien Hirst

For those uncertain on where NFTs stand within the constructs of our future’s commercial fabric, you are not alone; not by a long shot. In fact, one of the 21st century’s most prolific artists, too, has no idea of where it could lead to next–and this coming from someone who raked in a staggering $89 million worth of sales within the space itself. Feel better yet? 

Last year Damien Hirst jumped head first into this emerging new realm with the unveiling of his project-social experiment titled The Currency. The infamous “Lullaby Spring” creator thought it wise to test the public’s perception of non-fungible tokens, and in a round-a-bout way probed the loyalty art aficionados have to physical entities. If given a choice, would you choose a piece of art in its physical form or that same object’s digital clone? Well, that’s exactly what Damien Hirst set out to find. The results are in, but more on that later.

The Currency is comprised of 10,000 hand-painted polka dot impressions mirrored by their own corresponding NFT. Each piece was raffled off for a price of $2,000 a pop through a lottery system on Heni. Here’s the kicker though. Buyers were given the option to either keep the actual material artwork or the digital token representing it.

And now, a year on, Hirst finally revealed the final tally between the hand painted polka dots and cybernated clones. “The final numbers are: 5,149 physicals and 4,851 NFTs,” he divulged in a recent Twitter post. It’s important to note, though, Damien Hirst kept 1,000 NFTs for himself, tipping the scale in favor of those who air on the side of what’s touchable and tangible.

Hirst has rallied back and forth between the two, seemingly choosing one over the other before skirting back over to the other side. His string of tweets are a comical to-and-fro with where his head appeared at times. 

“I have been all over the fucking shop with my decision making, trying to work out what I should do.”  He later added, “In the beginning, I had thought I would definitely chose all physical… Then I thought half-half and then I felt I had to keep all my 1,000 as NFTs and then all paper again and round and round I’ve gone, head in a spin.” ​​

“I believe in art and art in all its forms but in the end I thought fuck it!” Hirst tweeted. “This zone is so fucking exciting and the one I know least about and I love this NFT community it blows my mind” playfully sums up his thoughts, and in retrospect, so many artists thoughts on the future of where non-fungidble tokens are heading.

In other NFT news, Prada’s latest collection involves a chance to win a sponsored trip to Milan.

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