Tezos returns to Art Basel with a generative art exhibition

Headlined by sci-fi author Herbert W. Franke, the exhibition is a bid to attract traditional art collectors to generative NFTs while cementing Tezos’s position in the field.

The exhibition's focal point, Herbert W. Franke's MONDRIAN
The exhibition's focal point, Herbert W. Franke's MONDRIAN, will be surrounded with modern generative artworks. Source: Tezos press kit

Art Basel, an international art fair opening its doors in Basel, Switzerland, on June 16, will include an interactive generative art exhibition curated by blockchain company Tezos.

Called Chance Encounters in New Mediums: Generative Art, Presented by Tezos, the exhibition will be headlined by Herbert W. Franke, Austrian scientist, science fiction writer, and generative art pioneer.

The Art Basel project seeks to “transform generative art into a living artistic process, where the element of chance is celebrated,” a press release said. It adds to Tezos’s goal of integrating NFT art with a broader art world, while also serving as the axis of Tezos Art Week, an initiative that aims to strengthen the Tezos NFT community in the face of the current crypto market earthquake.

In with the old, in with the new

Franke’s dynamic generative program MONDRIAN will be displayed as the focal point of the exhibition. Conceived in 1979, MONDRIAN was built on a TI-99/4, the first 16-bit home computer manufactured by Texas Instruments and discontinued in 1984.

TI-99/4 computer with a peripheral monitor on a white background.
TI-99/4 computer with a peripheral monitor. Photo by Ron Reuter, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Art Basel Tezos exhibition will display a 21:21 minute sequence captured in 2010 for Franke’s solo exhibition held at the ZKM gallery in Karlsruhe. The sequence is to be minted as an NFT on Tezos.

MONDRIAN will be displayed alongside interactive generative artworks by Aleksandra Jovanić, Eko33, Ryan Bell, and Sam Tsao. Attendees will be able to engage with the algorithms, minting NFTs that will then be given out through the Tezos-based generative art platform fx(hash).

Other participating generative artists include Iskra Velitchkova, Marcel Schwittlick, and Anna Lucia.

Marina Abramović is present

The new Art Basel exhibition builds on a long-stretching momentum of international art events, including Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, Art Basel Hong Kong 2022, and Venice Biennale 2020, seeking to solidify Tezos’s position as the leader in NFT generative art.

By presenting contemporary digital art in the context of a wider generative art movement, Tezos is hoping to woo traditional art world, many of whom have grown skeptical about the space following the failed CryptoPunks auction at Sotheby’s earlier this year and the ballooning prices of hyped up PFPs.

Ryan Bell's Dreamcatcher Forest at Art Basel
Ryan Bell's Dreamcatcher Forest at Art Basel. The QR code next to the description allows visitors to interact with the algorithm. Source: Tezos press kit

At Chance Encounters, the bait will be a series of talks touching on NFTs for art institutions and the generative art landscape in the world of NFTs, culminating in a Saturday talk featuring Serbian conceptual and performance artist Marina Abramović, who rose to international fame through her experimental documentary film The Artist Is Present.

Abramović is about to launch her first NFT collection based on her earlier video work The Hero (2001) in cooperation with Tezos and the London-based Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Art (CIRCA).

A tribute for Abramović’s father, The Hero (2001) shows her atop a white horse, brandishing a white flag.

“We discovered how the movement of the flag in the wind took on a new beauty and significance with each frame. No two frames were the same,” Abramović told ARTnews this week. “From one work, we are now giving birth to thousands of unique NFTs. This is very modern,” she added.

Chance Encounters in New Mediums: Generative Art, Presented by Tezos starts on June 16 and concludes on June 19. All of the accompanying talks will be livestreamed and available post-event.