This year’s Sotheby’s “Contemporary Curated” Auction was organized by award-winning artist and entrepreneur Steve Aoki. Aoki has guided people through his unique take on art and his favorite works from the “Contemporary Curated” sale in an introductory film commissioned by the auction house. Aoki, who grew up immersed by street art, bought his first piece from RETNA before moving on to KAWS and Japanese artists like Hajime Sorayama, Keiichi Tanaami, and Takashi Murakami.
The latest wave of digital art has broadened Aoki’s horizons beyond his previous interests in Japanese and modern art. Aoki has forged his own route throughout his life, and he declared that “the only way is his crashing through the side window.” “The NFT culture is in the side window, and that was where we were going right now.” It is a crossroads between digital and physical, and it will eventually be much more digital. Aoki sees art in the same way ash he sees music. To him, the beauty of NFTs is that they are not fixed to any galleries or walls, and they have viewership that anyone can participate in or gaze at. Four NFT pieces, designed by two female artists, Kyt and Krista Kim, and two male artists, Ness Graphics and Raf Grassetti, were particularly minted for the next Sotheby’s sale. Aoki also collaborated on an anime-inspired NFT piece with original music with his friend pplpleasr. The proceeds from the sale went to the plsA0k1 Vault, a program that helps rising female NFT artists. Aoki also features his favorite high-end physical works from prominent artists such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, KAWS, Titus Kaphar, and others, in addition to NFTs.