The world’s oldest and best known fine art auction house establishes its virtual presence in the metaverse with a digital replica of its historic New Bond Street Galleries in London.
Decentraland — 4 June, 2021 — Sotheby’s has claimed its stake in the metaverse with the opening of its first-ever virtual galleries; choosing the virtual social platform Decentraland as the destination. Occupying a prime location in Decentraland’s Voltaire Art District (map coordinates 52,83), the building is a replica of the auction house’s New Bond Street galleries in London. It features all five ground level gallery spaces as well as the figure of Sotheby’s London Commissionaire, Hans Lomulder, on hand to greet visitors.
The inaugural showing of the Sotheby’s Decentraland Gallery will be the Natively Digital curated NFT sale, commencing June 3 and culminating in the auction of Cryptopunk 7523 on June 10, which will be streamed live into the virtual gallery. The Natively Digital curated sale is a collection of remarkable, unique artworks co-curated with Robert Alice. It showcases some of the earliest, raw NFTs built on pre-Ethereum chains alongside newer, complex NFTs that showcase the cutting edge technical innovation.
Speaking about the opening and sale, Sotheby’s Specialist and Head of Sales, Michael Bouhanna said, “We are excited to recreate Sotheby’s historic London galleries in Decentraland as an online viewing experience. We see spaces like Decentraland as the next frontier for digital art where artists, collectors and viewers alike can engage with one another from anywhere in the world and showcase art that is fundamentally scarce and unique, but accessible to anyone for viewing. This past year has been one of adaptation and growth for Sotheby’s and we are having fun exploring new facets of the digital art world through our collaboration with the Decentraland community.”
Another highlight of the launch week will be Robert Alice’s own artwork, an intelligent NFT (iNFT) that learns as you speak to it. Alice will conduct live streams where he talks to the NFT to demonstrate the learning capabilities of the artwork. These live streams will also be broadcast in Decentraland.
Sam Hamilton, Community & Events Lead for the Decentraland Foundation said, “The community is thrilled to have Sotheby’s establishing its virtual home in Decentraland. Digital art and NFTs have long been a central feature of the Decentraland experience, so an organization of the calibre of Sotheby’s joining the Art District heralds an exciting new chapter for the virtual world. And the timing couldn’t be better, with the second annual Decentraland Art Week right around the corner. We can’t wait to see what Sotheby’s brings to this event.”