It was an out-of-this-world sale. Digital artist Beeple’s HUMAN ONE — an NFT sculpture featuring an astronaut-like figure — sold for $28.9 million during Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on Tuesday, Nov. 9, the auction house announced.
The piece, which Christie’s had estimated would sell for more than $15 million when the auction was announced Oct. 28, went to an online bidder who was based in Switzerland.
HUMAN ONE is Beeple’s first physical piece of art. It’s comprised of four connected video screens, and is powered by computers built into its base. The sculpture stands 7 feet tall, and displays images of a space figure — Human One — walking endlessly through an ever-changing dystopian landscape. The scenery changes around the figure depending on the viewer’s time of day.
Christie’s earlier explained in a press release that the images displayed are randomly pulled from a collection of Beeple’s art stored on the Ethereum blockchain. The artist — born Mike Winkelmann — plans on adding new images to the sculpture as inspired by current events over the course of his lifetime, making the NFT sculpture a contemporary piece for years to come.
“The design of HUMAN ONE allows the video in both the physical object and its NFT to be remotely and seamlessly modified from the blockchain — enabling the message and meaning of this piece to continue to evolve over the course of my life,” Beeple previously said in a statement. “While a traditional work of art is more akin to a finite statement, frozen in time at the moment it was completed, this artwork’s unique ability to be updated makes it more akin to an ongoing conversation.”
The artist also told nft now ahead of the auction: “I wanted to create a work that felt like it was [as] digital as it was physical, something that really walked the line and felt like you were viewing directly into the metaverse.”
HUMAN ONE was the third highest selling piece at the Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale held at the Rockefeller Center salesroom. The top sale of the night was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s The Guilt of Gold Teeth, which sold for $40 million. Peter Doig’s Swamp was a close second at $39.8 million.
Beeple previously made history with Christie’s in March when his NFT Everydays: The First 5,000 Days sold for an astounding $69 million. The sale set a record to become the third most expensive work sold at auction by a living artist.
Beeple is set to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, Nov. 9, on NBC.
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Photos courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2021.