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Hobart opens world’s second NFT gallery

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Australia’s first non-fungible token (NFT) gallery opened its doors to the art-loving public earlier this month with its first exhibition scheduled to run from June 16-22.

Hobart’s Museum of Art & Philosophy (MAP) is the first NFT physical gallery of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and just the second to open globally behind the Superchief Gallery in New York, which opened in March.

An NFT is best described as a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. They can be used to represent everything from photos to videos, audio, and in this case, artwork.

“NFTs enable digital artists to compete in the art world alongside fine artists in more traditional media,” said Antonia Case, curator of MAP and editor of international print magazine Womankind.

“In the past, digital artists whose work was emailed to publishers via JPEG, GIF, or TIF struggled to show ownership as digital files could be reproduced at will.

“If a JPEG of a digital work goes online, anyone can download it, which puts digital artists at a disadvantage compared to artists whose work is tangible, such as paintings on canvas, or sculpture.”

The week-long exhibition, which coincides with the Tasmanian capital’s Dark Mofo Festival, showcases artworks featured in the gallery’s print magazines New Philosopher and Womankind, and features digital artists Peter Strain, Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo, Charis Tsevis, Aida Novoa, Carlos Egan, Stavros Damos, Narjes Mohammadi, Monica Barengo, and Catrin Welz-Stein.

Auction house Christie’s $69 million sale of digital artist Beeple is an example, setting a record price for digital art.

Sotheby’s sold a NFT in the past week for more than $15 million, setting what the London auction house said was a new world record for a single ‘CryptoPunk’.

The Museum of Art & Philosophy’s physical NFT exhibition can be found at 7 Campbell Street, Hobart.

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