London Digital Art Week, Art Basel, Martin Shkreli gossip, and more #hearsay | Opinion

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Every week, brings you #hashtag hearsay, a gossip column of scoops and stories shaping the crypto world. If you have a tip, hot gossip, parties, especially events with free champagne, please write to Dorian Batycka at [email protected]

Dear Hearsay readers,

It’s been an intense week, having spent most of it sad and depressed in London, which is a special type of hell when the weather is shit, and you’re feeling blah and not in the mood. Anyway, I have lots of personal news to report as I am moving back to Warsaw next week, so crypto Polskis, please reach out!

But alas, onto the gossip…

Is Martin Shkreli founding another token?

“I have been working non-stop, with my 10 coworkers, painstakingly building a startup. We’re starting to do well, we have marquee investors” product traction we do some work in AI and work heavily with GPUs,” Shkreli wrote of the project recently.

The caveat? Shkreli was complaining that a fellow inmate he met while in prison dumped five million tokens of the project Shkreli donated to him before launch, pumping the project in private Discord channels while at the same time dumping his own tokens. Getting rugged by someone you met in jail. Sheesh, ‘pharmabro’ can’t seem to catch a break.

Speaking of toxic males, Andrew Tate recently took to X to heap praise on Bitcoin. Yes, it’s true: the world’s most hated how-to-be-a-man expert tweeted his support of Bitcoin while on house arrest in Romania. His reasoning? It’s against tyranny! Or, in his case, likely tax evasion. 

Digital Art Week London week went off with a bang last week proving that NFTs are far from dead. They’re just on screens like Ventana LED, the impossibly thin digital projectiles I encountered at Ideaworks Experience, where a champagne cocktail was held to celebrate the work of digital artists Yuma Yanagisawa and Ryan Koopmans in Mayfair. Koopmans is an OG in the digital art photography space, known for portrayals of post-Soviet ruins in places like Georgia and Armenia; his landscapes often pull at the tensions between death and rebirth, life and its tenuous and omnipresent end.

Old communist detritus aside, Yuga Labs announced another round of layoffs as the appetite for PFPs (profile picture NFTs) seems to have waned. “To put it simply: Yuga lost its way,” Yuga Labs CEO wrote on X. “Getting ourselves centered and on the right path means being a smaller, more agile and cryptonative team.” Ouch, it seems PFPs are, well, a bit stale?

Things we’re looking forward to: Digital Art Mile at the Art Basel fair June 10-16. The event will mark the first-ever digitally focused subsection of the behemoth Art Basel fair in Switzerland, set to take place in Basel’s Rebgasse district, only a stone’s throw from the main fair. The new Digital Art Mile is being spearheaded by web3 native collectors and curators George Bak and Roger Haas, set to include work by Basel veterans Tezos, as well as other web3-focused galleries and crypto art initiatives.

All the more so as the recent opening of the Venice Biennale in April seems to have leaned thin on digital offerings, save for Sam Spratt’s melancholic presentation of the Monument Game, organized and curated by 1OF1 (on view until June 23, 2024). Spratt’s newest organic hallucination in Venice comes complete with original paintings and a game, a sign that digital art—and it’s discontents in video games and world building—can be seen as a bona fide shift within the largely binary (i.e. hand coded ethos) of digital art history. Interesting developments all around.

Speaking of the Venice Biennale, which I sadly missed due to token2049 in Dubai,  Autism Capital has nailed my classic look at most—if not all—art/crypto events.

Jokes aside, NFTs appear far from dead. They are just layers of dust and speculative settlements of time and labor. A rare pepe and artwork, a token of digital care—a marker saying this was important, a rubber stamp for generation netizen. 

That’s all for this week, folks—stay thirsty, and don’t forget to touch grass 🙂

Your humble author on a rare sunny day in London, England. April 30, 2024.

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