Damien Hirst, one of the Young British Artists who dominated the UK art scene in the 1990s, stunned everyone by burning 1,000 of his The Currency artworks.
The Currency is a collection of 10,000 NFTs released by the artist in 2021 with the goal of exploring the boundaries of art and currency. The artworks in the collection were created in 2016, and each one has a watermark, a microdot, and a hologram with a portrait of the artist. No color appears twice in any of the artworks.
Following the introduction of The Currency, collectors had one year to choose between the digital NFT and the physical artwork, with both being pieces of art in their own right. Whichever one was chosen, the other was burnt.
The final NFT supply after the Exchange deadline, on July 27th, 2022, was 4,851 NFTs. In return for the physical artworks, 5,149 NFTs were burnt.
Instead, yesterday was the day to burn physical artworks for NFTs. The artist burned 1,000 artworks worth millions of dollars.
“A lot of people think I’m burning millions of dollars of art but I’m not, I’m completing the transformation of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning the physical versions,” Damien wrote on Instagram. “The value of art digital or physical which is hard to define at the best of times will not be lost it will be transferred to the NFT as soon as they are burnt.”
Damien will continue to burn his artworks till the end of his The Currency exhibition at Newport Street Gallery in London, England, on October 30.