Cryptopunks vs Traditional Art, more similar than most people think?

My point about NFTs is at the end.

The piece below appears to show watermelon seeds and candle wax used to write the word Ripe on an old office folder. Painted by Ed Ruscha – this truly stunning work of art recently sold for $22,200,000.

Here’s another masterpiece, the “Onement VI” – better known as “Blue”. Barnett Newman is the genius behind this piece. In an interview Barnett said he was inspired by the ping-pong table at his old high school. It sold for $43.8 million.

This next work of art comes from a true once-in-a-century genius, Mark Rothko, known for his rectangles. It is said that he got the inspiration for his paintings by staring at the paint swatches his wife brought home from Sherwin Williams. It sold for $72.8 million.


Now, if you are a huge fan of rectangles but can’t shell out enough cash for three of them (and a black line to boot), you can purchase the two rectangles below for the bargain basement price of around $9 million.


You can also go to Home Depot and have paint swatches blown up with poor resolution.

Paintings aren’t alone in drawing enormous sums. Below is a 3-foot-tall stainless steel bunny. It sold for $91 million at a Christie’s auction. It was made by a guy named Jeff Koons – who is still alive.


If you are drinking anything put it down so you don’t spit it out on your phone or keyboard when you read the ridiculous description found in Christie’s essay describing the bunny:

*It is crisp and cool in its appearance, yet taps into the visual language of childhood, of all that is pure and innocent. Its lack of facial features renders it wholly inscrutable, but the forms themselves evoke fun and frivolity, an effect heightened by the crimps and dimples that have been translated into the stainless steel from which it has been made…The steel surface of the titular bunny initially appears smooth and balloon-like, the forms reduced to some abstract, Platonic ideal.*

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha — what now?

Now here’s an NFT that sold at a Southeby’s auction in June of last year for $11.8M (Cryptopunk).


Just for fun, let me try playing the role of Christie’s acid-dropping art school intern responsible for the bunny description…

*This punk is modern yet retro in its appearance. Dating all the way back to 2017, the pixelated N-95 mask taps prophetically into the visual language of modern healthcare. Using only 576 pixels, the creator has masterfully ensured that not a one is waisted – a single pixel being transformed into a golden earring is the height of minimalistic design. The light sapphire-hued skin-tone anthropomorphizes the alien nature in all of us, and the beanie manifests as a potent reminder that even in a cold world – humans can find warmth.*

Are $70 million rectangles and $90 million bunnies that different from a $12 million JPEG?

Value is what someone will pay for something. No more. No less.

Just some food for thought.

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