The COVID-19 pandemic has seen people moving from physical to digital, and the world of art was not left behind. Interest in digital art piqued with the pandemic, especially concerning NFT. NFT has made it easier to access art and made it possible to transform physical art into a digital object. The State Hermitage Museum, the largest museum globally, is not left out of the 'NFT digital art bloom' that now incorporates NFT into art. The museum is currently developing the 'Celestial Hermitage," which would be a digital version of the museum and will exhibit NFT art.
The museum first explored the NFT art space in September 2021 through the exhibition of 5 digital reproductions of famous masterpieces in the form of NFTs. Subsequently, in November 2021, a digital exhibition titled 'The Ethereal Aether' showcased 38 art NFTS within the spatial.io virtual space. According to Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the contemporary art department, "the interest of the museum is to investigate the artistic value that NFT can bring into the contemporary art world."
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At the exhibition was a CyberTruck with a broken glass window. This art was a humorous reference to the CyberTruck car by Tesla, which was unveiled in November 2019. At the car launch, one of the designers accidentally damaged the car's prototype, leading to the shattered car windows, which are supposedly shockproof. This allusion shows that even with digital art, art could still express our daily lives.
Unlike in the Hermitage Museum, where visitors are prohibited from interacting with the art objects, visitors at the digital exhibition were permitted to interact with the arts. According to Celestial Hermitage, "all the exhibitions are dedicated to disclosing and exhibiting the nature of the blockchain and NFT." Also, the exhibition's objective is "to preserve, study and supplement our digital cultural heritage: meta-objects from virtual reality, including those initially existing in digital form."
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