First auction in Israel of NFT artworks

The Tiroche family has auctioned off Chagalls and Gutmans, Yitzhak Rabin’s Rolex and Ariel Sharon’s cowboy boots (offered by George Bush) at their Herzliya Pituah auction house.

But on Monday, May 30, four NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, created by Israeli artists, went on sale, which was great news, even though the family-owned auction house had been considering it for some time.

“We started thinking about it, but we didn’t want to get into something we didn’t fully understand,” said Amitai Hazan Tiroche, who runs the auction house with her father, Dov Hazan. (Hazan is his father’s name, Tiroche is his mother’s name.)

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NFTs are blockchain-based data that sent the art world into a buying frenzy. This technology offers a form of certificate of authenticity to digital creations, allowing individual ownership of an image that could otherwise be reproduced indefinitely.

NFTs can be (very) expensive.

Artist Damien Hirst’s “The Currency” NFT experience, offering buyers the choice between a digital token and an IRL artwork (in real life – in real life), brought in $ 18 million in the initial sale, and Hirst takes an additional 5% from the proceeds from the resale of NFTs traded online.

The four Israeli artists whose NFT works were auctioned by Tiroche on Monday are street artist Tag, who has a particular interest in technology and social media; Shira Barzilay, better known online as Koketit, renowned for her flirtatious designs that often focus on the female figure and female emancipation; videographer Shirley Shor; and violinist Moran Victoria Sabag, who combines her music and art.

A non-fungible token (NFT), created by Israeli artist Moran Victoria Sabag, auctioned by Herzliya Pituach-based auction house Tiroche on May 30, 2022. (Courtesy of Tiroche)

While the works of Tag (estimated between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000) and Shor (estimated between $ 4,000 and $ 6,000) found no buyers, those of Sabag were sold for $ 3,540, and that of Koketit, better known, $ 14,160, has called Tiroche.

Prices remained below NFT prices overseas, mainly because Israeli NFT artists aren’t that popular, he said.

“The auction is on demand and people are testing the market,” Tiroche said before the sale.

Over the past year, various entrepreneurs and companies have contacted Tiroche, hoping to partner with the auction house on NFT sales.

They have been cautious, Tiroche said, as there isn’t much track record for anyone who has entered this new artistic field.

“Whenever it comes to NFT, my dad says, ‘I don’t understand, talk to my son, it’s not for me,'” said Tiroche, 35. “There is a lot more interest from the under 30s. And often people over 50 say, ‘Don’t tell me.’ “

From the Bored Ape Yacht Club Art Instagram account. (Credit: Bored Ape Yacht Club Art)

That said, he thinks the phenomenon is here to stay, pointing out that fashion brands Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Nike are already working with digital artists to create NFTs.

“Rather than an expensive watch, an NFT is another way to show what you own, but one that costs half a million dollars,” Tiroche said. “The world is changing and people are going to the metaverse to get the things they want. “

Israeli singer Omer Adam recently told his Twitter followers that he purchased an NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, which features algorithmically generated social media profile pictures featuring cartoon monkeys.

Some NFT buyers have money to invest, Tiroche said, especially if they are investing in cryptocurrencies.

“You can’t buy a house or a car with cryptocurrencies. You’re limited in what you can do, “she said.

A non-fungible token (NFT) created by Israeli artist Tag, offered at auction at Herzliya Pituah Tiroche auction house, May 30, 2022. (Courtesy of Tiroche)

NFT collectors are younger than conventional art buyers, said Tiroche, who hopes to see the children of his best collectors come to his upcoming contemporary art exhibitions, where NFT’s works may be on offer again.

“When we decided to do it, it happened very quickly, but it was very important for us not to do it just for the fun of it,” he said. “Part of the advantage of NFTs is the means and the fact that there is a message to communicate. “

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