Beeple, who helped kick off the non-fungible token craze this year when one of his digital pieces sold at auction for a record-breaking $69.3 million, is expanding beyond digital art with a new real-life sculpture set to go to auction next month.
“HUMAN ONE” is a seven-foot-tall column made up of LED screens playing footage of a person in an astronaut-like suit walking through extraterrestrial, science fiction-esque backdrops as the column rotates to show viewers different angles.
Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, said in a statement he will tweak details in the video’s background multiple times a day using blockchain, and plans to continue updating the footage throughout his lifetime “in response to current events,” auction house Christie’s said.
While the sculpture is Winklemann’s first physical work of art, the sale will include a corresponding NFT.
“HUMAN ONE” will be auctioned off at Christie’s landmark 21st Century Evening Sale on Nov. 9, alongside pieces by art world stars like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy and Damien Hirst.
Christie’s said it will accept cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum for the sale, along with the traditional U.S. dollar.
When “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” sold earlier this year, it made Winklemann the third most valuable artist alive, following David Hockney and Jeff Koons. Hockney has criticized NFTs and the rush to buy them, calling the digital art pieces “silly little things” for “crooks and swindlers.” Still, their popularity has surged in 2021 along with the rise of cryptocurrency, which is used to purchase them. Digital artists use the blockchain to tokenize their NFTs, comparable to the way investors track cryptocurrency. This year, stars from singer Grimes to football player Tom Brady have capitalized on the NFT craze. Last week, home and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart released a series of NFT portraits of herself dressed up for Halloween.