Sotheby’s newest location is nowhere near London

Sotheby's keeps expanding its presence in the ArtTech field by establishing new digital spaces for viewing and buying artworks virtually.

The 277-year old auction house has recently launched a virtual gallery in one of the most sought-after art trade hubs: the NFT metaverse. The virtual space is located in the Voltaire Art District of Decentraland, which is supported by the Ethereum blockchain. The “building” has multiple floors to display digital art, accompanied by an avatar of the commissionaire Hans Lomulder who is welcoming visitors at the door.

Decentraland allows users to create avatars who can engage with one another and buy goods – some compare it to Sims, but for blockchain. Users will also be able to buy property on the land that they can later sell or grow. Michael Bouhanna, one of Sotheby’s Post-War and Contemporary Art specialists leading their NFT strategy, sees spaces like Decentraland as the frontier for digital art – a community where artists, collectors, and viewers can meet and converse from anywhere around the world. It’s where scarcity meets accessibility, creating a unique environment for all the stakeholders. Sotheby’s has also started accepting Ether and Bitcoin: it comes as no surprise that they marked the launch of Decentraland with a sale of NFTs called “Natively Digital.”

The acceleration of new virtual media marks an exciting time for the intersection of tech, art, and finance. While the effects of NFTs on the visual culture and power relations are still to be determined, many remain hopeful that they will bring the often sought-after transparency and accountability to the market. Anne Bracegirdle, an established NFT and blockchain thought leader has recently joined Convelio and is available to advise any of our existing clients on the topic.

Increasingly, the growth of ArtTech is starting to impact every level of the supply chain, and at Convelio we embrace this direction by having simplicity and usability at the core of our digital solutions. Last year, Convelio partnered with some of the leading technology companies to launch the Art + initiative, which is a helpful resource center for art businesses looking to implement digital tools in their practices. On the product side, our API and Widget integration services help galleries and other marketplaces modernize their websites by adapting quoting and shipping tools to support their e-commerce functions. As the art world incorporates more dynamic digital practices, Convelio looks forward to supporting the progress by providing the tech-enabled tools that make for a seamless experience.

July 6, 2021