Beeple is back at Christie’s, Human One under the hammer for $15m

By Raffaele Redi

Christie’s says it will accept ethereum and bitcoin as payment

Beetle b.1981 Human One                                 
Beeple’s monolithic LED sculpture will be continually updated through the Ethereum blockchain – Photo: Christie’s

The artist Beeple is back at Christie’s with his latest work Human ONE – his first-ever physical work of art – with bidding expected to achieve in excess of $15m.

Beeple’s monolithic blockchain-driven video sculpture, accompanied by an NFT written by Manifold, can be accessed via the Ethereum blockchain.

The work consists of four interconnected video screens serving as walls, powered by computers built into the base of the seven-foot-high structure and displaying a constantly shifting dystopian landscape through which an astronaut-like hero, the helmeted Human ONE, “rhythmically strides”.

The American artist Mike Winkelmann, or Beeple, became popular when the British auction house auctioned his Everydays: The First 5000 Days NFT for $69m, setting a record for a digital artwork in a sale at Christie's. He now holds the record for the third-highest price achieved by a living artist at auction.

Human ONE will make its debut at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries on the morning of 30 October, one week before heading to Christie’s 21st Century Art Evening Sale, taking place in New York on Tuesday, 9 November.

Christie’s has said it will accept ethereum or bitcoin as payment for the work, as well as US dollars.

'Life-long journey'

Human ONE is comprised of an ongoing series of one-minute video clips and the master video has been programmed to update itself continually.

“During the sale, groundbreaking, life-size, and spellbindingly illuminated in three dimensions, Beeple’s first blockchain-driven video sculpture, accompanied by an NFT representing the underlying digital assets, invites collectors to join the artist on a life-long journey never-before launched in digital art,” said Christie’s.

“Beeple’s instantly iconic sculpture is a hybrid physical and digital object, propelled by the theme of continuous exploration. Both the object and its NFT display dynamically-changing imagery drawn at random from a data pool of the artist’s visual creations that is accessed via the Ethereum blockchain,” the auction house added.

Constantly evolving artwork

Featuring more than 24 hours of dynamic visual information programmed to adapt to the viewer’s current experience of day or night, Beeple’s monolithic LED sculpture evokes the form of a transparent magician’s cell.

Beeple commented: “I am excited to explore concepts through this artwork that tap into the full potential of the medium of digital art in a way that has never been done before, exploring the unique potential of digital works to dynamically change over time.”

“The design of Human ONE allows the video in both the physical object and its NFT to be remotely and seamlessly modified from the blockchain, enabling the message and meaning of this piece to continue to evolve over the course of my life.

“While a traditional work of art is more akin to a finite statement, frozen in time at the moment it was completed, this artwork’s unique ability to be updated makes it more akin to an ongoing conversation.”

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