“The Orders” by Marco Brambilla
By COCO DOLLE September 18, 2023
A unique fine art NFT-focused curatorial initiative, Artwrld who recently presented at Photo Fairs in New York, helps renowned artists to produce complex NFT drops and bring them to a wide audience.
For its forthcoming genesis NFT collection (NFT launch September 19, 2023), Marco Brambilla excavated the iconography of Freemasonry mirroring the masonic degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. The Orders is released on Artwrld’s platform with a portion of the NFT sales benefiting PAMM.
I interviewed one of Artwlrd’s founder on their upcoming NFT launch and the organization at large.
Coco Dolle: Your current NFT drops are of the work of Marco Brambilla. Tell us about the mechanics behind this launch which features multiple suites and tiers.
Nato Thompson: We are so excited to work with seminal digital artist Marco Brambilla on this art project that investigated the macabre and enigmatic iconography of Freemasonry. Each drop follows the initiation levels of freemasonry in both form and content. So, the first drop will be an open edition of singular objects that will be available on September 19th for 24 hours. These objects follow the level of the Entered Apprentice and are meant to symbolize a focus on the individual. The second drop takes place on September 20th and they are a limited grouping of three Masonic objects spinning around each other above a plinth. This drop is in the tradition of the second level of Freemasonry, The Fellow Craft, and they are focused on the connection between objects, or the reference to an individual in conversation with others. The final edition will be available at a very small scale of ten artworks, that reflect the final order of FreeMasonry, the Master Mason. These digital artworks feature a singular object being orbited by three objects that dissolve and recombine in a hypnotic manner. This dissolving and recombination references the final stage of Freemasonry that centers on the question of time, thus the ultimate question of death and birth.
CD: It was Artwrld’s first-time presence at an art fair. What made you decide to take the leap from the digital space to hosting a physical booth at a very physical art fair?
NT: Very true indeed. Well, we have been running Artwrld for slightly over a year and a half now and so it takes time to jump off the screen and into physical space. We are certainly interested in connecting the dots between the more traditional physical space art world and the more natively digital one, so the time seemed right to dip our toe into the water.
CD: You collaborate with seminal multidisciplinary artists working at the cross of fine art and new media that have not yet set foot in the NFT space. How important is it for fine artists to explore web3 technology in your opinion?
NT: I think our priority is to bring visionary contemporary digital artworks to the public. We use smart contracts as a way to display provenance, to assist in facilitating scale, to make more transparent art economies and to make the distribution of artworks more seamless. These fundamental aspects are what makes web3 so compelling and what we think allows for blockchain to revolutionize the landscape of contemporary art.
CD: You have showcased three of your drop projects at Photofairs: Shirin Neshat’s, Marco Brambilla’s and Paul Pfeiffer’s. What was the reason for this curatorial angle?
NT: I would say that for the fair, we wanted to highlight some works from some of our more prominent artists as a way to demonstrate that artists that many contemporary art enthusiasts are familiar with, are working with us. We are proud of every one of our projects and certainly would love to highlight all of them. For us at Photofairs, we are still doing the leg work of demonstrating how incredible the artworks we are making are, and for the traditional art collecting audiences, how absolutely accessible and compelling these artworks can be for them to collect.
CD: Tell us a bit about the birth of Artwrld. How did your original concept take shape between über-cultural builder and Creative Time’s chief curator Nato Thompson, an award-winning digital innovator Josh Goldblum and a world renown artist Walid Raad.
NT: The conversation began with a need for a different kind of art world and the tremendous potential of circulating and creating digital artworks secured through blockchain. We believe that the affordances of web3 make possible an entirely different financial back-end and also offer new audiences and forms of circulation that will be entirely beneficial to artists. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and our belief is that if we just continue to create world class art that blows people’s minds, we will cut through the noise. We really want to show people what can be done with digital art and commissioning rather than simply talk. If you look at our past projects, you can see we are well on our way.
CD: While the hype around NFTs has dropped considerably recently, a large majority of people in the artworld do not believe in NFTs. How would Artwrld answer the question: “Are NFTs dead?”
NT: There is a fundamental power in using blockchain to secure provenance of digital assets that is simply not going away. While we can all agree there was much too much speculation and hype before the crash, that doesn’t get rid of this extremely revolutionary technology. The basic concept of a one-of-a-kind digital art work isn’t going away and the role of digital culture in our lives, like it or not, is going to grow. We feel continuing to make incredible art will make it more evident how exciting it is for collectors and art enthusiasts. Thus, the answer to their question is: Not only are they not dead, but they are going to make another art world in your lifetime. WM
Coco Dolle is a French-American artist, writer, and independent curator based in New York since the late 90s. Former dancer and fashion muse for acclaimed artists including Alex Katz, her performances appeared in Vogue and The NY Times. Over the past decade, she has organized numerous exhibitions acclaimed in high-end publications including Forbes, ArtNet, VICE, and W Magazine. She is a contributing writer for L’Officiel Art and Whitehot Magazine. As an artist, her work focuses on body politics and feminist issues as seen at the Oregon Contemporary (OR) and Mary Ryan Gallery (NYC).
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