Waiting for Gagosian…

From the forum [adnotated with hyperlinks and footnotes]:

Emmy: Pete do you have anything I can read on why XCOPY made it and the others didn’t? He’s really the 1 iconic artist from that era. I’m surprised there’s not more.

Jiran: My own stab as to why:

  • Keeps a mysterious aura
  • Isn’t transparent at alli
  • Builds speculation and suddenly announces things such as random burn mechanisms.
  • Has a very long history including his Tumblr days and pre-2020 era
  • Doesn’t do events, doesn’t mingle with collectors or anyone beneath this includes spaces
  • Doesn’t whine or make boring endless threads
  • Is good about onboarding new people as well by giving them a chance such as Grifters was one I got in on by just winning the draw owning his edition piece.

Sometimes winners are also just simply chosen while others don’t. Hackatao lost by fighting with collectors. Lost Robbie art sucks. And [X’s] art has a bit spectacle, narrative and other things tied in as well. Like there’s a story to it, reflects Crypto Culture vs. just a piece of art. Keep in mind during [2021] bull many of his pieces went for 1000+ ETH. But also has an aura where he is above it at same time, by not talking much. Like you cant really peg him, very Warhol-esque in that way. Either you’re cool with him or you’re not.

Emmy: I love him bc he doesn’t talk down to degens and comes off as one and is based af. I don’t follow 1/1 or things trad art would buy but this cycle I want to bet heavy here. So trying to go back and revisit history. The 2021 class ship has sailed, I need entries under $100 for it to make sense

Jiran: Yeh that’s hard to predict. If any of them start dating a big collector that’s your big sign to get in lol. You think I kid but look Anna Weyant. Her prices skyrocketed post Larry and her art is atrocious. (The New Yorker – How Larry Gagosian Reshaped the Art World: The dealer has been so successful selling art to masters of the universe that he has become one of them.) These are your kingmakers. Essentially they set the price of this stuff really. So finding the Gagosian of crypto art is really the trick. IMO we don’t have him/her yet.

Emmy: That world is so fascinating btw. Could never be part of it but I’d love to eavesdrop.

113: I can explain it no problem, XCOPY that is:

  • Strong personal aesthetic honed over long period of time
  • Longstanding practitioner on the internet (Tumblr before Crypto etc) had some following
  • Embraced minting hashes of JPEGs early and was ignored, lore and origin now compound into story everyone loves
  • “First” logic which is a FAST assessment criteria the culture embraces,ii bc it doesn’t have competence at other assessment of excellence (bc awesomely not gatekept, and wide open to any participants, but you get Eternal September of quickly distributable game rules. IKEA flatpack assessment, turns what could be an art world into coin collecting
  • Rich guy champion(s) 4156 “XCOPY most important work, and you’re still so early”
  • Waves of degen traders making moves, ERC20 Five Eyes, etciii
  • Cybernetic swarm of orthodoxy / “power laws”iv
  • Visual aesthetic bite sized, degen palatable. Universal motifs, skulls, death, etc. GIF blink “feels like the internet” (forged in the flames of tumblr etc)v
  • The fact that he’s so easily imitable entrenches him more
  • Incisive as fuck with titles and themes. Early encountered logics that became gigantic and thematizes them in work (“probably just money laundering” etc). Serves as perfect half ironic symbol of a movement, Redditbro Banksycore audience palatable.

That is how I think of it. I have other sets of concerns in my work but I like and respect a lot of his work and there is a lot to study and learn from in the above phenom.

Jiran: Great point on bite-sized, palatable. Titles have a huge importance too. He’s really good at tapping into the culture in the current phase whether we’re bullish/bearish, how we feel he can express in a very easily digestible way. Interesting point that it’s also able to be replicable easily thus, many variations of him just make his original pieces stronger.

113: It’s a lesser effect but I’ve noticed it for us too. People really don’t understand what we are even at the visual surface, so when they copy that it shows decisions of refinement in our work that people might not’ve felt to the same degree otherwise

Jiran: Yeh most mastery seems easily replicable. Yet also that it factor is elusive. It’s like watching pros, they almost make it look effortless and when you try it’s disaster. Thus more value in what you [artist] guys are doing.

Emmy: Would pay for write ups like this on all the major artists in our little space. I find this stuff fascinating.

Jiran: We’re in desperate need of real criticsvi

Emmy: I want analysis from an investment POV not from an art crit POV personally. I pretty much only have or see these convos in private. I feel ppl can’t be honest on Twitter?

Jiran: Yeah they get attacked lol. I understand but that’s what I mean. By kingmaker, etc. Gagosian, others like him get paid to tell investors what to buy and will bring value. Not critic in just art sense but like tastemakers.

113: That [New Yorker] article set a fire off in me when it came out. I realized that plus … some near future infrastructure == I’m in the swampland that will eventually be a very serious new Art World and I can have the kind of career I didn’t even imagine possible (bc I have no regard for the existing art world). And I know what it is made of, and we’re going to make the first move in it, which I think is our Autoglyphs moment.vii And when the rest of the world catches up, which they will, we’ll have pieces that compound off of each other and establish it undeniably. The missing piece for me is finding my Gagosian.viii I’m still not yet adept at navigating that culture class, but I’m starting to inch that way. This new Art World here will have them, because someone will realize the opportunities.ix I’m talking a kind of championship, taste, and excellence-assessment that the current influencer class is too stuck in a local max to achieve imo. Maybe one or two could level up. Because it’s very obvious once you see what I see in my mind, how gigantic an opportunity it is, and how none of this has even started yet

Pete: I couldn’t say it much better than 113 and Jiran. For me personally, the pseudonymity, colour palette, creative and diverse contract usage, and drill-into-your-soul titles/sub-titles are what speak most loudly and powerfully about X’s work. I outlined basically this with a bit more meat on the bone back in Oct ’21: https://contravex.com/2021/10/31/xcopy-moves/ And to 113’s point, indeed the beginning hasn’t even begun,x certainly when it comes to Gagosian-like “live players” in the field of art market power brokering. Ultimately the problem with the influencer class is that “It’s tempting to pretend that business can be done with the same efficiency half-dressed over video calls, simply because it’s tempting to do less work.” (link) They won’t do the IN-PERSON work. And there’s NO REPLACEMENT for it.xi

Jiran: Yeh so true, this world is all about In-Personxii

Mister Todd: Truth.

113: This [in-person thing] is such an interesting and direct insight that I’m so dumb to. I’m 100% internet and computers hence my work, and simultaneously my struggles. I keep getting “make things I can print and don’t look so much like computers” feedback. And that’s just wrt to the surface aesthetics. My medium is systems. I’m obviously right and I know it, it’s just silly.

Mister Todd: Yeah that is tough to hear, like a denial of your first principle. And stretches to the physicality of “physical” work and “realness” for the current ART world.

113: Exactly. My first principle is do the role of Artist. Confront the media most restructuring your civilization and seek to invent-discover radical Ways of Seeing. I’m more patient than people understand so it’s fine. And I understand myself now having been right in my work and thinking decade after decade. It’s just silly and I can be short term impatient too. Anyway, multiplayer therapy, ty ty. (And also, life is great and it’s going great.. there is just a collector tier sedimenting a canon rn and leaving me out at the moment). But I am ridiculously grateful, Malte essay today is life affirming reception.

Pete: Even the most spiritual of systems needs to concentrate physically somewhere – whether that’s Jerusalem or Vatican or Giza or Mecca or Davos – which is why BAYC/MB primary value prop was “parties” (that fry your eyeballs… in more ways than one). And why NFT Paris and Art Basel Miami are probably only going to increase in relevance and importance in the coming decades of digital art (aka inutile systems manifestations). Why? Because there still exist expressions that we can’t express… codes that we can’t code… and networks that grow only from touch and feel and SMELL.xiii No amount of Terminator-esque/Her-esque/ReadyPlayerOne-esque futures seem likely to disrupt the divine power of kinetics, in our lifetimes at least.xiv

113: Maybe the pandemic was my moment of being popular in high school. Tho tbh even I finally met my match wrt virtuality. You’re functionally right of course.

Pete: It took Yoyoi Kusama what, 50 years between her earliest “immersive” artworks and the invention of Instagram to catapult her to worldwide fame and LV collabs? So maybe it takes 50 years for people to “get” 113 systems.

113: Definitely likely.

Pete: I hope you live to 90 to enjoy it! I’ll be in line at LV fo sho.

113: I’ll just be on the virtual Main Street reading as schizophrenic ultra frequency in the mean time. I’m like pre come-up Alex Jones but for Xerox Parc as Computing Art. Instead of frickin frogs gay.xv

  1. Transparency is overrated! Mostly because it implicitly assumes that vastly different intelligence levels can actually be legible to one another, such that the eagle can meaningfully describe what the top of the mountain looks like to the worm. Which is kinda crazy?
  2. “First” logic isn’t just cultural (ie. temporally specific), it’s hard-coded biologically as Wolfram reminds us!
  3. Tessera, where Five Eyes was fractionalised and turned into micro-tradable ERC20 token, is dead and gone but the concept  lives on.
  4. Who needs orthodoxy when we’ve got orthopraxy?
  5. But there’s just soooo many different GIF blinks that XCOPY employs! My favourite is of course the legendary 42-frame Taxmen. 
  6. Thankfully we’ve got folks like Mitch F. Chan planting the seeds of change for productive digital art critique, eg. Art Games, Punks and Sellouts, etc.
  7. We like the ‘lyphs.
  8. Most artists would agree! Waiting for Godot…
  9. Guys like Adam Lindemann of Venus Over Manhattan gallery are certainly ahead of the curve, having previously exhibited Snowfro and Justin Aversano in 2022. That Lindemann throws a hell of a party in Miami during Art Basel (ask me how I know) isn’t an accident, it’s very very good business!
  10. Which 113 and I talked about previously on these pages when we talked about the “flattening mirror.”
  11. The physical is worth fighting for goddamit! Indeed, we seem to be fighting for it more and more lately.
  12. The importance of in-person is why “partners retreats” and “conferences” are a thing and always will be. And why people couldn’t fucking WAIT to get back to these after the pandemic bullshit.
  13. How much time do you devote to thinking about smells in terms of their role in social interactions (hence status, productivity, success, etc)? I assure it’s not nearly enough.
  14. Kinetics mattered on Jekyll Island in 1910 and I assure you that our species(es) hasn’t evolved all that much in the last century! A few self-inflicted diseases of decadence notwithstanding…
  15. I assume this is a stab at the overhyped blandness that is Pepe Frog memes, but either way “gay” is only a derogatory term if you like being a non-remnant.

2 thoughts on “Waiting for Gagosian…

  1. […] is a metaphor inspired by 113’s X Spaces, which come highly recommended. They’re fruitful! […]

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