This weekend Los Angeles becomes the in-person epicenter of the global web3 arts scene, with two ambitious meta-culture conferences welcoming some of the genre’s creator, developer, and tech-head superstars — NFT | LA March 28-31, and NFT in America on March 25 — plus a whole ecosystem of related and inspired programming at galleries around the city. Vellum LA opens an exciting new group show on March 24; Superchief hosts an epic roster of futures-forward panels, drop parties, curated collections, thematic exhibitions and related shenanigans in daily day and night programs from March 25 through April 3; web3 hub and “SoHo House for the NFT scene” Kollectiff opens in Venice on March 31; and an impressive exhibition exploring the digital/physical continuum in an art historical context is on view at Honor Fraser through April 2. And as always, for the locals we have the joyful micro-festival of #NFTuesday at El Cid every week.

NFT arts calendar

Ellie Pritts at Vellum LA

NFT | LA. March 28 – 31 at L.A. Live/L.A. Convention Center

NFT | LA is a three-day NFT conference and trade show with speakers, exhibitors and all manner of web3 visual culture across art, sports, music, and entertainment, happening both on and off-site catering to the creative curiosity of the spectrum of artists, collectors, investors, creators, DeFi currency econ, and really anyone looking for an entertaining way to dive into the deep end of the metaverse. Speaker highlights include: Mark Cuban, Neil Strauss, Steve Aoki, Jennifer Esposito, Swan Sit, GMoney, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Justin Aversano, Laila Maidan, Natalia Modenova, Shira Lazar, Holly Wood, Rachel Wolfson, Shannon Kelly, Mercedes Bent, Aisha Arif, Ashira Siegel Fox, Robert Rooks, Will Carsola, Phu Styles, Dr. Peace Uche, and over 200 more. Besides the core conference, there are related events from downtown to Hollywood and Venice. Right now the general admission passes are sold out, but there is a waitlist and more tickets will be released. Plenty of $6000 VIP packages are still available though, so, there’s that. nftla.live. There are also a number of off-site community events, many with separate/no ticketing required. A full list of collateral events is being regularly updated here: nftla.live/community-events

Lucien Samaha: Jörg and Céline, the world’s first digital photograph (Superchief)

Superchief Gallery LA. March 25 – April 3 at Superchief, 1965 S. Los Angeles St., downtown. 

Speaking of NFT | LA’s off-site events, Superchief is the official art partner for the conference, not only curating all the NFT artwork exhibiting at the gathering, but also hosting a panoply of events and afterparties at their gallery with 10 days of events before, during, and after the convention. The first weekend looks back at the incredible sea change of the past year. On Friday, March 25 they celebrate the first anniversary of rolling out their first game-changing NFTs with an all-day lineup of panels, art, cocktails and a DJ-driven afterparty around artwork from Swoon, Diana Sinclair, Justin Aversano, DrifterShoots & 100 more artists. Then on Saturday, March 26 it’s the release of the Cyberpunk Vol 3 collection curated by Random Ghost. This collection is a celebration of the dark, gritty streets of our imminent fate and features some of the most exciting artists continuing to evolve the genre. Another all-day smash of smart art, engaging panels, and party at the back.

There’s a Decentraland event on Sunday, March 27; a launch party for the new Cheech & Chong project My Homies on Tuesday, March 29; and on Friday, April 1 the day is dedicated to photography-based visions, with The New History of Photography show and programs and the launch for the series Photography by On The Roofs, by Lucien Samaha — the man who serendipitously became the world’s first digital photographer as a Kodak test-shooter, and has now turned his attention, and his astonishing archive, toward the world of NFTs. The evening is capped by Dark Net, a performance from Nadya of Pussy Riot — whose UnicornDAO is a cryptoart fund to support women in the NFT space. For the full and always-evolving schedule visit: superchiefgallery.com & nftla.live/community-events.

Anna Lucia at Vellum LA

NFT In America. March 25 at the Montalban Theater, Hollywood, and Live-streaming.

One kaleidoscopically jam-packed day convening art, drops, speakers, panels and the rest, with a focus on the visions of the artists and curators themselves who are the ultimate drivers of the creativity in this space — and increasingly, thanks in large part to smart contracts and social media — the drivers of their own careers. The conference has a decided focus on the issues of social equity, economic autonomy, and environmental responsibility at the protean heart of the current discourse on web3 — and a lineup of curators and speakers like Colburn Bell of the Museum of Crypto Art, super-curator Lady Phe, and renowned artists like Refik Anadol, Pindar Van Arman, Sarah Meyohas and Sarah Zucker, who are among the clearest voices in the space speaking on these things. Information and tickets available here: nft-in.com/america.

Aya at Vellum LA

Vellum LA Gallery, West Hollywood. Artists Who Code opens March 24.

Artists Who Code: Generative Art NFTs by Women and Non-Binary Artists is a fresh collection of works spotlighting the powerful and eclectic work being made by women in the crypto space, and benefiting female-forward tech org Girls Who Code. Curated by artist and writer Mieke Marple and Vellum LA’s Director and Curator Sinziana Velicescu, Artists Who Code responds to the public perception of the NFT world as a male-dominated space, with selections that foreground the central role and major impact women and nonbinary creators have in digital art and technology. Using generative art techniques such as AI and algorithms as empowering tools, the show explores the realm of possibilities for a new language in the realm of digital art and beyond. Opening reception: Thursday, March 24, 8-10pm; on view through April 10; free; vellumla.com.

LoVid at Honor Fraser Gallery (Photo by Jeff Mclane)

Honor Fraser Gallery, Culver City. Digital Combines is on view through April 2.

Honor Fraser’s popular and critically acclaimed gallery program has been a thoughtful platform for experimental visions in painting, sculpture, video, performance and other traditional mediums for years — so its early, progressive embrace of the creative potential in the digital, crypto, generative NFT space was notable. The gallery’s current exhibition, curated by artist Claudia Hart, posits a newly emerging art historical genre based on Robert Rauschenberg’s wildly interdimensional assemblage-based mixed media works known as Combines. These new “Digital Combines” join tangible objects — in this case, paintings — with a virtual partner in the form of a video, animation, GIF, or soundtrack that augment, reinterpret, and deepen the composition. In this case, these digital files also contain an NFT with the metadata and smart contracts, thereby creating a single object with both semantic and conceptual implications. Viewers can access them on the gallery website, or at the gallery using smartphones and QR codes.

Gretta Louw at Honor Fraser (Photo by Jeff Mclane)

In the process, the exhibition offers a surprising and engaging proposition for one way in which the physical and digital worlds can coexist within a single work of art, neither one vying for dominance and with nothing left behind — only multiplied. Some artists, such as work by Nancy Baker Cahill and Daniel Temkin, choose a fairly straightforward path of colorful abstraction set in motion; Gretta Louw creates a suitably otherworldly soundscape to accompany her hand-embroidered digital prints; Hart’s own work is presented as a singular, architecturally engaged installation with multiple panels, but her NFTs present each element on its own; LoVid manifests the object quality of textile with storyboard-like compositions whose characters spring into action in the digital video. In these and further examples of artists generating hybrid, interdimensional works, we see a delicately articulated bridge between art history and a move fast/break things future which is truly, quite literally, more than the sum of its parts. For more information visit: honorfraser.com.

Saya Woolfalk at Honor Fraser (Photo by Jeff Mclane)

The Gall3ry by Kollectiff opens in Venice on March 31

Kollectiff, a web3 innovation lab and venture studio, launches an NFT Gallery and Headquarters as a hub for innovation in the metaverse. The space will be the first of its kind — a permanent NFT gallery that also serves as Kollectiff’s headquarters, and houses a web3 members only club along the lines of SoHo House, but catering to the metaverse community. Their 4,600 square-foot location is fitted with high-quality screens for bespoke NFT art activations, collection exhibitions, auctions/launches, and other events. The Gall3ry will show NFT collections from artists including Nyla Hayes, Jenkins the Valet, Julie Pacino and more as part of a unique partnership with CAA as the agency looks to expand into the metaverse. After the grand opening on March 31, look out for a very special fundraiser for Ukraine with Kelly ArtBotanica on April 8. Beyond these initial events, there are several high-profile collections coming up, including Walter Power Jr., an ex-NFL player creating a collection to support those with Crohn’s disease, and celebrity photographer Max Montgomery and DressX who will showcase the collection with M.T.A. The Gall3ry by Kollectiff, 1324 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; Thursday, March 31, 7-11pm; free with registration; kollectiff.com

 

LA Weekly