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Do You Really Own a $69 Million Piece of Art if No One Can See It?

NFT enthusiast Vignesh Sundaresan paid $69 million to purchase Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” in a Christie’s auction. The work, comprising 5,000 digital pictures, is a massive jpeg. For all that money and all those pixels, though, where do you display it? It’s a question that’s increasingly asked by collectors as digital-based art becomes more mainstream. 

Collectors commonly live with art in their homes or share it with the public through museum loans. Either way, it occupies physical space in their lives. Digital-based art is harder to pin down—or rather, put up. 

Locked in a Dungeon With Your NFTs

The Beeple will inhabit its own metaverse-based museum, according to Sundaresan. It’s easy to picture what it will look like since his NFT fund, Metapurse, already built such a museum for a cache of Beeples it owned prior to this latest purchase.


Art critic Ben Davis checked out that existing exhibit in March, but found it to be a poorly curated experience, created by developers and cryptocurrency purveyors and not by anyone in the art world. “This doesn’t give the sense that you are showing off things you are proud of; it gives the sense that you are locked in a dungeon with them,” Davis wrote on Artnet. 

Other, better formats for appreciating digital art in such a space will likely exist in the future, but for now there are some IRL ones that function fairly well. 

Browse online art brokerage Artsy and you’ll come across Rachel Rossin’s “Scrubbing 1, Maquette,” a piece that is spread out between paintings, VR, and screen projections. Tamas Banovich, co-owner of Postmasters, the gallery representing Rossin, says a buyer would receive all of its parts: the paintings, a specialized gaming computer, an Oculus Rift that attaches to a ceiling track, a suspendable screen, and a projector, all installed in situ by the gallery.

woman in VR headset with projections of an exploding house on the walls around her

Rachel Rossin’s “Scrubbing 1, Maquette" (Courtesy of Postmasters)

This would enable the collector and those they choose to share the piece with to fully experience Rossin’s literally moving work. Here, a person wearing the headset causes a home interior to explode as they approach and reconstitute as they retreat. Those experiencing the work in the room witness the destruction in projections; the visored person is represented as a shadow wreaking havoc.


Banovich says Postmasters, which accepts cryptocurrency as payment, is not new to digital art. It's worked with digital artists since 1991 and hosted the large-scale digital art show “Can You Digit?” in 1996. In two decades, not much has changed with digital art beyond hardware upgrades, he says. The newest thing has been the volume of interest. “[I]t is a great moment of optimism. I was lucky to experience a similar moment at the beginnings of the internet," he says.

NFTs: A Trendy Wrapper for Digital Art

Banovich says NFTs are trendy but ultimately “just a wrapper” for digital and non-digital art. They have fueled the purchase of digital art, though, and thus indirectly affect how it’s displayed. Luma Canvas, for example, is an LED canvas tied to an app that syncs an NFT collection from a user’s wallet. It’s debuting at the LA Art Show this week. 

Some NFT-purchased art comes with its own display, as is the case with the Genesis edition release of the NFTy iMirror, a mirrored 4K touch-screen display that comes with a mountain scene featuring an animated red canoe. It connects to a wallet so other works of crypto-purchased art can be swapped out.

Infinite Objects, which “prints” moving images in 5x7-inch acrylic or bamboo frames, has an artist registry that lets collectors print their NFTs to a frame and allows the artist to limit the number of prints that can be made. 

Infinite Objects COO Roxy Fata says the demand for displaying NFTs has been colossal. “Ever since our partnership with Beeple in December of last year, people have had an incredible appetite for bringing NFTs into the physical world."

Though Infinite Objects lets users upload mp4s and MOVs of their own to print out, there are safeguards against people stealing intellectual property.

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