Lehmann Maupin announces the launch of CollectAR, a new platform designed to present NFTs in Augmented Reality (AR), furthering the gallery’s commitment to the immersive presentation of artworks. This follows the gallery’s exclusive partnership announcement with Gemini in July 2021, when it became the first commercial art gallery to accept cryptocurrency through the Gemini platform for artwork sales globally. CollectAR will officially launch on March 29, 2022 in collaboration with NiftyGateway, a subsidiary of Gemini. The gallery will release three artworks—minted as NFTs and viewable in situ—by artist Ashley Bickerton, as part of his solo exhibition, Seascapes at the End of History at Lehmann Maupin New York.
The inaugural project with Bickerton features a series of NFTs with sophisticated Augmented Reality components that can be experienced across the city. The technology allows users to find and activate works through a QR code or Lehmann Maupin’s website—no app is required. Users will be able to view Bickerton’s Ocean Chunk series at different sites across New York City, including outside of the gallery’s headquarters on 24th Street; on the High Line at 23rd Street and 10th Avenue; and on Little Island at Pier 55 in Hudson River Park. Viewers will be able to find more about the AR piece and its NFT certification information on NiftyGateway via Lehmann Maupin’s CollectAR page. The NFTs will be available to acquire through the gallery’s site and NiftyGateway. They will be sold in editions of six and are priced at USD 10,000.
To execute this initiative, the gallery has partnered with entrepreneur, Laura Lehmann, who worked with HUE.LIVE to develop the AR models and 3-D renderings. In the near future, we plan to use Ostendo powered AR glasses to make the experience even more immersive.
Rachel Lehmann, co-founder, explains:
“It was my daughter Laura [Lehmann] who first approached me about the metaverse. She really deserves credit for engineering this project. We wanted to find an avenue where we could use digital technology and marry it with the physical experience of looking at art. Quickly it became apparent that we could conceive of art outside of the gallery’s walls; there were no boundaries. If an artist could choose any location for their work, what would that location look like? Would it be related to the creation of the art itself? Would the location change at a certain time of day? With the seasons? How do you present art outside of any physical boundaries?
Ashley’s exhibition and the pandemic restrictions provided the perfect opportunity for an outdoor interactive AR experience. We are bringing Ashley’s tropical Ocean Chunks to Chelsea and to the Hudson River—even in the middle of winter. What’s most exciting to me is their accessibility to the public. It’s playful. It invites exploration. All you need is a phone and you can discover these works hidden in plain sight all around you.”
Over the years, Bickerton has challenged the parameters of art-making. Often blurring the boundaries between photography and sculpture; portraiture and landscape; realism and fantasy, he challenges the parameters of art-making, calling into question the value and significance of the art object itself. NFTs present a new direction into the digital realm, allowing Bickerton to work beyond the physical world.
“I was thrilled when approached by the gallery with the possibility of taking my work into the realm of Augmented Reality,” Bickerton explains. “It is something that I have always wanted to do, but never seemed to find the time or the right tech partners. Suddenly I was given both. What makes this project extra special to me is the fact that I am getting to reconfigure my Ocean Chunk works in the depths of a frigid New York City winter. I first got the idea for these balms of warm turquoise tropical waters in the depths of another cold North Eastern winter when I was a young artist longing for escape some 30 years ago. Now a full three decades later they will appear as floating apparitions, the ghosts of that youthful longing.”
Lehmann Maupin has long been a pioneer in rethinking the traditional gallery setting and engaging opportunities for digital innovation. Since our inauguration 25 years ago, we’ve been championing artists who in their own right have been expanding digital as a medium, such as Tony Oursler and Jennifer Steinkamp.
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