By Virginia Valenzuela, Arts Editor
After over a year of lockdowns and a forced near-full immersion into the digital universe, many art lovers and NFT collectors are yearning for an in-person experience that will feel both familiar and brand new. Enter Vellum LA: the first NFT-backed digital art gallery to bring digital art to the physical world of Los Angeles. In partnership with SuperRare, Vellum LA will present “Sea Change: Digital Art in the Real World,” their first physical NFT exhibition and online auction, from July 29th through August 1st.
Curated by Jesse Damiani and Sinziana Velicescu, “Sea Change” aims to provide context to a blossoming realm of art that connects what we see on screen to what we see in person. “What we’re hoping to do with the LA Art Show and Vellum LA gallery,” says curator Sinziana Velicescu, “is to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world, between the crypto and traditional art collectors, and to showcase work that we think can be relevant to both worlds.”
All artworks will be showcased on StandardVision’s state-of-the-art LumaCanvas™ displays, which were engineered specifically for these kinds of installments. By working with video and digital art pioneers such as Bill Viola, Jenny Holzer, Refik Anadol, and Kahlil Joseph, StandardVision set out to create unique LED displays that look and feel like digital canvases.
“What we’ve learned in the past few months,” according to Ms. Velicescu, “is that many artists want to have their work seen in person. Many NFT collectors want to be validated within the art community: they believe that their collections belong in museums. What does this new type of museum or gallery look like? That’s sort of the question we’re trying to answer with Vellum LA.”
Designing a museum-quality canvas was one of the first steps to finding their way into galleries. For StandardVision, it started with “the highest regard for mastering color and luminosity. Immediately more vivid and lifelike than the highest caliber of TV displays,” states a press release from StandardVision, “LumaCanvas boasts resilient technology designed to operate 24/7.” Much like the sensory experience provided by a traditional canvas, it has “a matte surface that can avoid reflections and maintain deep blacks.”
Digital art and NFTs are of course native to the online landscape, which leads some critics to argue that they don’t necessarily have a place in the physical world. But advancements in technology have always been a part of how we look at life, and all the intricacies of our surroundings, through a new lens, which is why it is so important to bring these new and often never-before-seen expressions onto a stage that patrons and onlookers can access.
Several companies including Samsung, Netgear, and MonoX7, have already dedicated themselves to building technology that will allow collectors to display their art at home. Though many are still in the process of refining their displays, minimizing electrical usage and global impact, and lowering costs, the promise of everything from tiny bedside frames to larger displays to mount on the wall is becoming more tangible than ever, which is great news for artists.
“[We want] to spotlight the work that we believe is critically engaged in the new languages, materials, and logics of the coming metaversal world,” says curator Jesse Damiani. “We’re so excited that audiences will be able to see these pieces both virtually and in meatspace at the LA Art Show.”
“Sea Change” features the work of new media and digital artists Claudia Hart, Auriea Harvey, Krista Kim, Marjan Moghaddam, Itzel Yard (Ix Shells), Luna Ikuta, Anne Vieux, Blake Kathryn, Holly Herndon with Mat Dryhurst, Sabrina Ratté, Nicole Ruggiero, and Sam Clover (Planttdaddii).
To see the digital renderings of these pieces, check out our Vellum LA Feature.