“Virtual Niche” — the world’s first Cryptoart exhibition to be held in China

BCA Network
7 min readFeb 26, 2021

The exhibition is hosted and curated by BlockCreateArt(BCA), with co-hosts: Digital Finance Group and Winkrypto. Additional funding is provided by Bitmain. AndArt Agency is proud to have been able to advise and bring together the parties to make this exhibition possible.

Featured works include Robert Alice’s “Portraits of a mind”, the first ever NFT artwork sold by Christie’s auction house. In addition, 20 works by artist, Beeple will make their first ever debut appearance in China.

Thanks to the cutting edge and contemporary nature of the exhibition, “Virtual Niche” will unite collectors and artists from the Bitcoin community with collectors and artists from the Polkadot communities for the first time.

Artist List (alphabetic order):Alida Sun,Alotta Money,Artonomous,Bronwyn Lundberg,Beeple,Tiger Cai,Baoyang Chen,Ellwood,Celyn Bricker, Dabeiyuzhou,deadmau5 and Mad Dog Jones,Fewocious,Hipworth,CryptoZR,June Liu,Maalavidaa,Marble Mannequin,Mario Klingemann,mbsjq,Pak,Refik Anadol,Reva,Robbie Barrat,Robert Alice,Sun Bohan,Suryanto,Sun Yitian,Wu Jianan,Wang Weisi, Creators of First Supper(Alotta Money, Blackboxdotart, Coldie, Connie Digital, Hackatao, Josie Bellini, Matt Kane, Mlibty, Rutger van der Tas, Shortcut, TwistedVacancy, VansDesign, and XCOPY)

Virtual Niche — Have you ever seen memes in the mirror?” will take place at UCCA Lab in Beijing, China from March 26th to April 4th, 2021. UCCA Lab is the interdisciplinary platform of one of China’s most prominent museums. “Virtual Niche” will then continue its tour in Shanghai from April 9th to April 11th. The exhibition is curated by Sun Bohan, CEO of BlockCreateArt (BCA), Asia’s first crypto art brand, and co-produced by Qinwen Wang.

With the NFT (non-fungible token) market tripling in size in 2020, the exhibition aims to showcase artists using blockchain technology as a medium for creating dialogue and connection between the institutional art world and the crypto community. Featured artists Robert Alice and Beeple are the first ever to achieve this crossover between the institutional fine art world and blockchain communities, having been sold in two Christie’s auctions in 2020–2021. In addition to debuting Robert Alice’s and Beeple’s artwork for the first time ever in China, “Virtual Niche” will also unveil 30 more contemporary artists and more than 60 iconic crypto artworks in this group exhibition.

The exhibition, “Virtual Niche — Have you ever seen memes in the mirror?” will historicize and cement the development of crypto art as a legitimate fine art category. By displaying crypto art produced in different socio-economic and cultural settings, the exhibition will also discuss the practical significance of crypto art as a category in today’s digital economy. By placing crypto artwork in a physical, immersive setting with interactive aesthetics, “Virtual Niche” also is curated with the intent of building a deeper understanding and connection to crypto art.

The predecessor of crypto art is often said to be memes, which are valued for their accessibility and ability to be replicated and transmitted through public digital infrastructure at an unprecedented rate. As a new currency in the virtual economy, memes represent the main characteristics of internet culture in the 21st century. Empowered by blockchain technology, memes transitioned into their next phase — non-homogeneous and unique tokens such as Cryptokitties and CryptoPunks. As the integration of blockchain technology and artistic creation deepens, crypto art induces in-depth reflection on the definition of digital ownership, the relation between present and future, and the boundaries between virtuality and reality. If the virtual world is seen as a mirror of the real world, and a new realm is created in the mirror world, how do we value and treat the new mirror realm?

Lighting design by NIKO EDWARDS

Designed by lighting artist Niko Edwards, the exhibition is partitioned into two parts, visually divided by red and blue. While the artworks in red light show the most visually bold, primal aspects of crypto art, those in blue light are more subtle, presenting encryption as a new artistic language of crypto art — an emerging art style and movement. Many artworks that will leave a deep imprint in the history of crypto art are featured in the exhibition. The following highlight some of the artworks in the exhibition:

Portraits of a Mind series, Robert Alice, 2019

“Portraits of a Mind’’ by Robert Alice, is a series of 40 giant paintings composed of Bitcoin’s source code, constituting the largest work of art in blockchain’s history. Block 21 from Portraits of a Mind made $131,250 in Christie’s First Auction of Blockchain-related artwork in 2020. Block 8, the one shown in the exhibition belongs to Jehan Chu, co-founder of Kenetic Capital.

Everdays Home Planet, Beeple, 2020

Everydays — The 2020 Collection”, by digital artist Beeple, achieved a new sales record of $3.5 million for the most valuable artwork auctioned off on Nifty Gateway. After acquiring 20 pieces of Beeple’s artworks, Metapurse launched the B.20 bundle to share ownership of all works — along with the VR monuments it lives in. Visitors will have the opportunity to navigate their virtual museums with VR headsets.

Boxing Men”, by Wu Jianan, associate professor in the School Experimental Art of the CAFA. This is his first fully digital art piece, inspired by “cut-outs” of animals, mythical creatures, faces, and figures.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Cows?, Baoyang Chen, 2017

Do Androids Dream of Electric Cows?”, by Chen BaoYang, poses key ontological questions concerning the real and virtual world — — can androids perceive and feel the world as humans do? The metaphor of hierarchy and power is hidden in the VR’s maze, creating a puzzling and electrifying experience.

Master image of “First Supper” at <22: 24,22 / 05,2020>, a collective work by Shortcut, Josie, blackboxdotart, mlibty, Vansdesign, Alotta Money, TwistedVacancy, coldie, Hackatao, XCOPY, MattKane, Rutger van der Tas, ConnieDigital

First Supper is a milestone work of programmable Cryptoart. Instead of being a static work of art, the painting consists of 22 layers and constantly changes in form according to alteration in user-defined layers owned by a number of artists and collectors.

The top 6 winners’ pieces of BCA Global Digital Art Competition will also be featured in the exhibition.

The 14-day dual city exhibition also includes a variety of activities, including a VIP preview, curator’s guided tour, cryptoart workshop, after-party and themed museum’s nights supported by Dandy Room and Pernod Richard.

Bohan Sun, Founder of BCA, Curator and Producer of the Exhibition

“From a historical point of view, every important change in art history is closely related to the development of technology. This time, with the rise of blockchain technology, cryptoart movement has emerged. On this basis, BCA, first Asia’s blockchain-focused brand dedicated to the promotion of Crypto-art, is constantly looking for breakthroughs, and bringing everyone a true cryptoart exhibition and unalloyed visual joy.”

Qinwen Wang, Producer of the exhibition, Web3 Foundation China Community, Polkadot Network Council Member

“Technology and art seem to be two opposing fields, but the logic behind them is surprisingly consistent — — both are driven by curiosity and imagination. Science seeks truth and art seeks aesthetics; both require constant research and creativity. I hope this exhibition brings out the beauty of technology and art combined in the era of Web3. It will also be the first time that China’s Bitcoin community and Polkadot’s community intersect.”

Ge Yuesheng, CEO of Matrixport

“Both blockchain and art represent visions for a better future, and I believe that the combination of these two will definitely bring better things to mankind.”

Xiao Ge, Co-founder (VP) of Phoenix TV and Phoenix Art, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director

“ <Everyone is an artist>becomes possible thanks to the integration of blockchain and technology. Cryptoart is changing the way of creating, presenting, and trading in the art world, which is the most creative artistic movement in the 21st century and a new aesthetic of the future. ”

Exhibition director:

Ziwei Lou

Exhibition Executives (By Alphabetic Order):

Ashely Zhang, Chris Chen, Elodie He, Eva House, Guo Zhenyao, Joey Hou, Wang Shuai, Wei Jia, Wang Zengchen, Wen Zihan, Xiang Shuainan, Xiao Yuxin, Zhu Ning, Zhang Julong, Zhang Wanqi

Special Thanks

Sun Ming, Jehan Chu, Cao Yin, Qinwen, Flaming, Metapurse Fund, API Gallery, Daniele Sileri, Candice Zhao, Parity Technology Chiba Gallery, Chambers Fine Art, Dan Forbes, Suvi Dong, UnderlineArtSpace, Raster Eyes, Joe, LD Capital, NIKO EDWARDS, Amelia Cai and Hypersphere Ventures, Async Art

Funded by: Bitmain, DFG, Winkrypto

Co-hosted by: Web3 Foundation, AndArt Agency, Zonff Partners, PolkaWorld, Realy

Partners: Absolut Vodka, Mask Network, Unique Network, Seven o’clock, Metapurse, Flamingo, Terra Virtua, Lancer Capital, Dandy Room

Art supporters: Artsy, Artnet, Phoenix Art, Bazaar Art, Artron Art.com, Hi Art, Art Business, Wall Newspaper, Insight Art, Art Alpha, Art Talk Sanlitun, Domino Art

Media supporters: Chainnews, Interface news

Strategic supporters: Mars Finance, Planet Daily, Shenzhen Chain Finance, Chain Catcher, Chain Dede, Blocklike, Deep Wave, Wu Shuo Blockchain, Gyro Finance, Mytoken, PANews, Beep News, Ostrich Blockchain

Strategic communities: Bihu, Real Satoshi, DAOSquare, ArtGee, Whale, DoraHacks, Chain Node, Lichang, OG, CryptoC, Tspace



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