While traditional institutions in the art world are still making heads or tails of NFT, leaders in the tech world are already building new models for longevity. At the forefront of this installment, Sydney Cheung, Director of the APENFT Foundation, which unites art and finance in the metaverse by supporting new NFT projects and acquiring significant NFT artwork.
APENFT Foundation, which sponsored Artnet NFT 30And He sees a world where traditional art coexists with NFTs, expanding rather than polarizing the artistic conversation. In keeping with those core beliefs, The APENFT Foundation has created a truly impressive traditional art collection valued at more than $150 million and includes works by Picasso, Giacometti, and Warhol. It is also in the process of launching a residency for digital art creators. With the new year just beginning, we’ve decided to catch up with Xiong to see what she thinks the future has in store.
What is the APENFT Foundation? What does he do, and for whom is he?
APENFT is the world’s first NFT art institution dedicated to connecting the traditional art world and the virtual world while building the next generation of NFT infrastructure and an entertainment and cultural ecosystem. We do this by collecting culturally significant artworks and NFTs and by supporting established and emerging artists working on projects at the intersection of blockchain and creativity. I believe art is for everyone and that NFTs have the potential to democratize the current art world by reaching a whole new audience of creators and collectors. Traditional auction houses are taking advantage of the space by selling the work of NFT artists. According to Sotheby’s 2021 report, 78 percent of NFT bidders are new to the auction house and more than half are under the age of 40.
As a director of APENFT, what do you do? What is a normal day like?
My main responsibilities include APENFT’s art holdings, collection management, and curatorial planning and execution. I usually start my work very early in the morning, by checking emails for 30 minutes. Oftentimes I go from meeting to meeting all day, so I have to make plans and prioritize work based on importance and urgency in the morning. I work very late and sometimes have meetings with international partners in the middle of the night due to time zone differences. But no matter how busy I am, I always ensure I have time to research some new NFT art or newly launched NFT projects. It is important that you continue to learn in this rapidly changing field.
Who are some of the artists you find most exciting today and why?
I enjoy the artworks of Pak and Fewocious and believe that their works have value and importance, which is the main reason why we collect theirs. I think Buck’s interaction with the art of NFT was a great interpretation of the democratic spirit of the crypto community. I also discovered some aspiring artists from an open call we recently hosted. I’d like to encourage everyone to see their work at the Cryptovoxels exhibition that will be held on January 25th.
Some people think NFTs “kill” traditional art? The APENFT Foundation recently acquired a number of very traditional artworks by artists from Picasso to Giacometti. Do you think the era of IRL art is over? Or how do you think NFTs and traditional art will coexist in the future?
I don’t think the era of IRL is over, and in fact, the art world will only be more inclusive and diverse because of the advent of NFTs. I think NFTs and traditional art will definitely coexist in the future and we’re already seeing these two worlds merge together. It is also important that art is seen and appreciated everywhere, which means that having a virtual and physical space to display artwork will be just as important. That’s why APENFT is planning to organize a range of online and offline exhibitions next year. Our upcoming show, in collaboration with Liveart in Shanghai in January, will showcase our NFT collection and the winning pieces from the “Second Life” open call, which concluded successfully last month. At the same time, a purely digital version of the exhibition will reside in the metaverse at our APENFT Museum in Cryptovoxels.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love that the space for NFTs and blockchain is changing all the time so there is always something new to learn. I am really excited to learn new things, and consider myself very fortunate to be at the forefront of the industry and to be able to talk to some of the most talented people in the field.
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