Is GOLD an Elaborate Reward System?

On Optimism and Market Art

by Anika Meier

Nobody expected it. Not artists. Not curators. Not galleries. And certainly least of all museums, whose job is not to have their finger on the pulse of the times. Museums collect and preserve. Museums take care of history. The present is not historical. History is made by looking back. History takes time. Art takes time. Art is a marathon, not a sprint.

And suddenly something happened that nobody expected. There is a market for digital art. Millions are sometimes turned over in seconds. A couple of millions. Digital art is traded as if it were gold. People talk about Grails as if digital art were a new religion. As if they were sanctuaries. But these often change hands faster than the word "amen" can be pronounced.

GOLD by James Bloom might be best described as: None of us want to constantly think about the market, but NFTs demand that we think about the market, so why not make the market the art?

Usually, movements and activities in the market don't affect an artwork. The Mona Lisa is the Mona Lisa is the Mona Lisa. When the price goes up, the artwork still looks the same. When the price goes down, the artwork still looks the same. What might change is the mood of the collectors and the artist. Their attention, their hopes, their desires.

Digital artists are suddenly confronted with expectations. Not just to create good art, but art that sells. And not just that it sells, number must go up. Does a collector have diamond hands or paper hands? What's the floor? Traits. Rarities. Hodl?

Digital art has become a financial asset. Digital artists have become a stock. What was once driven by idealism and curiosity, a spirit of discovery, and the will to innovate has become hard currency.

Of course, one can lament that. Denounce. Consider the decline of digital art. They say you don't talk about money. Suddenly, there is no other topic. "The market is bad" they say. Whatever the market, bear or bull, there is a market for digital art. The speed is sometimes dizzying. There is often no time to think. FOMO can no longer be written larger.

One could take this for granted and try not to become cynical. Or, and this has always been the task of artists, to reflect, raise questions, and encourage discussion.

Bloom has questions. Collectors will have more questions. Because GOLD is not GOLD is not GOLD. Each NFT in the collection is dynamic. The NFTs change as the market changes. When there is movement in the market. Or not. If an NFT stays in a wallet. If it is flipped.

It's about time and time is money - or gold. In this case, not just proverbially, but literally. Time will tell what the artwork will look like. The market decides what the artwork will look like. The actions and decisions of the collectors influence this, individually and collectively.

Is this an elaborate reward system? A challenge or a trick. A test of patience? Or a mirror held up. Is the gamification of art taking it to the next level here?

With GOLD,Bloom is bringing back what seems to have been lost in the months following the hype and excitement surrounding the digital art market: calm and patience. He himself describes GOLD as optimistic, like a beach vacation that triggers memories. Birds, hills, rivers, people, the pictorial elements and colors are deeply familiar. They calm and build trust in troubled times.

"I made GOLD optimistic in colour, even using names of glamorous beach holiday destinations for the palettes. This is also a reference to people's hopes and dreams when it comes to collecting NFTs", states Bloom.

Images are deceiving. AI creations are a constant reminder that we should be wary of what we see. Bloom's GOLD is subtle and leaves it up to the collector to decide if they see the market, the art or both at once.

"Market Art" is how he described it to me. Market Art, in the case of GOLD, engages with certain behaviors: holding or flipping but also being thoughtful about decisions, because not only the price is affected. The artwork changes and therefore it demands care. And the artist takes back control over an artwork that is in the hands of collectors.

GOLD takes time. GOLD is a marathon that is run together. Who is running? And for how long? Who will last the course?

GOLD gives digital art back the time it needs. However, it does so without taking away from NFTs what makes them new - trade - which can and has influenced the development of art.