LiveArt, a Web3-based platform created by three ex-TradArt experts is making a splash with its recent drop, Kingdom of the Laughing Man, representing the inaugural NFT exploration of celebrated contemporary artist Yue Minjun.
The recently revealed PFP style collection features 999 one-of-one generative examples of Minjun’s iconic laughing visage and has already seen over $1 million USD in trading volume.
Based on the near immediate success of the collection, Minjun’s track record, and the combined experience of the LiveArt team, it would seem that the fine art sector of Web3 seems prime for a major shift.
Born in Daqing, China in 1962, Minjun is best known for his oil portraits portraying his own laughing figure, which subsequently are the basis for his collection with LiveArt.
For years, Minjun worked in the oil industry until the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989, when he decided to join an artists’ colony outside of Beijing. As he developed his craft, Mijun quickly became recognized for his portrait-style works, particularly that of his own smiling visage.
As part of his great success, Minjun’s works have traveled the world and grossed $150 million USD in the public sector, with as much as $300 million USD in volume assumed to be the figure in the private sector, according to LiveArt co-founder and CEO Boris Pevzner, as shared in a recent Animoca Twitter space.
Minjun’s work has also been associated with the Chinese movement “Cynical Realism,” however, this is a label he rejects. One title he can’t reject though, is the artist with the highest-grossing work of Chinese contemporary art in 2007.
While there are other benchmarks to base an artist’s success on, like cultural influence via the presence of works in a city like Beijing and academic or institutional influence via representation in museums – Pevzner shares that economic benchmarks are possibly the most quantifiable.
With Minjun’s record-breaking painting selling for $7 million USD at Christie’s in 2013 and his prints currently going for 5,000 to 20,000 USD each, there is no denying his success.
Discover the value of Yue Minjun's art🎨
"Take the plunge" achieved $2,629,682 at Sotheby's, Hong Kong.
— LiveArt (@LiveArtX) August 15, 2023
Founded by Boris Pevzner, a tech entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a diverse set of industries, including a company acquired by none other than Christie’s, has positioned LiveArt to become one of the leading platforms in elevated digital art offerings.
“The way that I got into crypto was by way of the art world. So I’ve been in the art world for many years. In fact, one of the companies I had built was acquired by Christie’s which is the largest business in the traditional art world,” explained Pevzner adding “I have spent a fair bit of time in the art market helping to drag it into the digital age, at first kicking and screaming and now quite willingly. It was clear that this is the place to build and with Web3 truly revolutionizing the art market in just a completely fundamental way, it’s a really exciting time to be building in the space.”
Pezner went on to share that “the company’s DNA is in the premium art market segment,” sharing that one of his two other co-founders was the COO of Sotheby’s and that his third co-founder ran the digital and E-commerce sectors for Christie’s.
“So that’s the three founders, all accomplished entrepreneurs and deeply rooted in the art market,” he exclaimed.
As for the mission of LiveArt, Pezner explained that they feel the platform will make the biggest impact by working with artists that have established careers, large collector bases, and auction house sales that range from millions to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Overall, Pezner explains that the goal is to help bring them into Web3 and in doing so bring in an entirely new collector base that will energize the Web3 art market and create an elevated digital fine art sector.
Kingdom of a Laughing Man
Made up of a now sold-out collection of 999 PFP-style NFTs, Kingdom of the Laughing Man marks Minjun’s entry into Web3, a space the artist is eager to explore.
“I’ve explored numerous media with my art over the years. This new digital frontier excites me the most as I can bring my art to life in a way that I haven’t been able to with physical media,” shared Minjun, adding “In Web3 I can create a new engaging experience and relationship with the next generations of art collectors shaping the art world of the future.”
Now, NFTs! 🚀
🖼️ Unique digital artworks on the blockchain.
— LiveArt (@LiveArtX) August 10, 2023
Teasing a bit, Pezner shared that Minjun has lots of plans for future work in the space and that he’s excited to explore innovative offerings in the new medium. He further exclaimed that by purchasing one of these NFTs, collectors were not buying a speculative asset but instead, a piece of fine art that is “well quantified, well researched, and is liquid.”
He added in a comment to nft now that “Yue Minjun’s involvement in every detail of each NFT in this collection is unprecedented for an artist of his caliber, making each feature in these digital masterpieces stand out. This adds an extra layer of significance and value to this historic drop.”
As expressed earlier, if we are to quantify success based on economic benchmarks alone, Kingdom of the Laughing Man is off to an astonishing start, realizing over $1 million USD in secondary markets since its release and in the middle of a supposed bear market at that.
What’s more, collectors of these works will have the opportunity to purchase a signed physical print of their unique token, and a select few holders with rare traits will be eligible to claim theirs for free. More on the print claim and purchase process are coming soon from LiveArt.
Just sold for 1.21 ETH🧑🚀
That’s a steal👀
Congrats to one of the lucky owners of one of the extraordinarily rare NFTs!🤍
Collect one of the extraordinary NFTs with the background traits to receive a free print: Black Hole, Brainstorm, Gotham, Pyramid, Younger Dryas:… pic.twitter.com/P6kGWohuwE
— LiveArt (@LiveArtX) August 16, 2023
A Paradigm Shift
Beyond the economic aspects of Minjun and LiveArts release, the drop calls to attention a major paradigm shift in both the fine art and Web3 art worlds and could potentially act as a calling card to other acclaimed TradArt artists who are curious about the space.
Furthermore, it also provides a reason for TradArt collectors to take a closer look at Web3 and the blockchain, which undoubtedly represent the future of digital art.
“This drop signifies an exciting shift in the art world as it illustrates how established traditional artists can bring their art to new audiences through the new digital medium, shared Pezner directly with nft now, he added that “It’s also significant for the rapidly evolving Web3 space as it demonstrates the ‘flight to quality’ in the NFT segment, which continues to accelerate despite the market conditions.”