This Digital Art Is Up for Auction at Phillips!

September 24, 2013 | Marina Galperina

The first-ever digital art major auction lot highlights have gone public and they are…

Silvia Bianchi + Ricardo Juárez, Petra Cortright, Alexandra Gorczynski, Joe Hamilton, Ilja Karilampi, Brenna Murphy, Aude Pariset, Sabrina Ratté, Casey Reas, Rafaël Rozendaal, Nicolas Sassoon, Molly Soda, Kate Steciw, Mark Tribe, Clement Valla, Addie Wagenknecht, and Jamie Zigelbaum.

…and more. “Paddles On!” at Phillips is a bit of a game-changer.

“The collection represents the contemporary appeal of digital art,” says curator Lindsay Howard. “I’m especially pleased to include artists Petra Cortright and Rafaël Rozendaal, who have pioneered innovative monetization models that reflect the democratic values of the ‘net generation. Cortright’s Video Catalog and Rozendaal’s Art Website Sales Contract will both be implemented in the sale of their works at auction.”

The pricing is interesting. With all the talk about monetizing digital art going in circles, it’s a bit incredible to see sale models created by the digital artists themselves being so integral to a major auction. Paddles On! is auctioning off Rozendaal’s If No Yes responsive gradient interface site and using Rozendaal’s own official art/site ownership contract. Petra Cortright’s RGB,D-LAY is a color-separating selfie YouTube video piece and priced as all her YouTube videos — based on the number of hits. At 5,639 views on Sunday, it was worth $1,409.75. 

Bidding on the 20 lots begins on October 1st and all of the works will be on view at Phillips October 5th through 12th. The live auction will begin on October 10th.

Get over the “rabbit hole of digital art” thing. Even the term “net art” is almost twenty years old. The conversation around pricing and owning digital, reproducible and internet-public works is old too —  just like the conversation about pricing and owning sound, performance and conceptual art. But the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t be covering it so enthusiastically, because those works are not accessible to the public. This has greater relevancy that conceptual commerce.

We expect a wide range of reactions.

“I’m thrilled that I and others have this opportunity to show artwork to an audience that is perhaps less familiar with the way in which newer technologies and platforms are being used in contemporary art practices,” artist Alexandra Gorczynski tells ANIMAL. Alexandra, whose first New York solo show at TRANSFER gallery took place last March, is selling PLUR (2013), pictured above.

“I’m also excited to know that this auction will not only promote the digital art community, but will also benefit Rhizome, who has done so much to support art and technology,” Alexandra adds. 80% of the Phillips auction proceeds is going to the artists and the rest is going to Rhizome, New York’s notable not-for-profit organization and new media art platform, which recently awarded internet art grants to a selection of artists.

Phillips is not taking a cut.

It feels strange to be excited about something so renegade as digital art to be entering the very formal “big leagues.” Maybe that tension is actually synergy.