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HTC’s VIVE Arts arm may have made a name for itself in the immersive virtual reality (VR) space — having been a notable tech partner for institutions including the Palace Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami — but in line with the 2021 moment, it’s now pursuing the latest digital medium: NFTs.

What happened

Today, VIVE Arts unveils its very own NFT trading platform, aimed at “opening new opportunities for digital creativity, innovation, and connection using blockchain technologies,” said Celina Yeh, Executive Director of VIVE Arts, in a press statement. 

The platform will facilitate VR, AR, XR, and digital art sales, simultaneously allowing sellers to determine sales formats and set NFT production limits. Like recently launched blockchain marketplaces built on Ethereum, the VIVE Arts marketplace claims to provide energy-conscious alternative Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Stake Authority (PoSA) blockchain records for provenance.

VIVE Arts’ first NFT sale, in partnership with the Mucha Foundation, features Alphonse Mucha’s works such as his 1898 Arts series (above). Image: courtesy of Mucha Trust

For its debut sale, VIVE Arts has teamed up with the Mucha Foundation to offer NFT editions of art nouveau icon Alphonse Mucha’s works. The sale coincides with Mucha to Manga — The Magic of the Line, a traveling exhibition touching down at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on December 18. VIVE Arts will drop five Mucha NFTs per month throughout the exhibition’s duration, with the first drop featuring digital editions of “La Dame aux Camelias,” “Reverie,” and “The Arts: Painting, Poetry, Dance and Music.”

Later, in April 2022, VIVE Arts will conclude its Mucha campaign with a two-week auction commemorating the 110th anniversary of the Czech artist’s Slav Epic series. The auction will include Slav Epic VR, an immersive VR work (VR headset included), previously shown at Taipei’s National Palace Museum in 2019. Two NFT editions of the piece exist, with one set to remain in the Mucha Foundation’s possession. According to VIVE Arts, sales proceeds will go to the Mucha Foundation. 

Alongside its Mucha sale, VIVE Arts will also feature the work of other artists, including Marco Brambilla, Nancy Baker Cahil, and Elliot Dodd.

Why it matters

VIVE Arts Mucha NFT sale

The Mucha sale will conclude with an auction of 2019’s Slav Epic VR, a VR work commissioned by the Mucha Foundation and VIVE Arts, in collaboration with Nexus Studios. Image: VIVE Arts

HTC is no crypto newcomer: in 2019, it released the so-called “blockchain phone,” Exodus 1, which can store cryptocurrency and can only be purchased with cryptocurrency. VIVE Arts’ new platform demonstrates the company’s growing commitment to the crypto art space, but more so, bears out the expanding scope of NFTs (into VR, AR, and XR experiences) and the lucrative market for digital collectibles.

While showcasing “digital creativity,” VIVE Arts’ NFT portal is as much dedicated to digital commerce, an arena in which organizations from Sotheby’s to the British Museum have lately entered. Beyond the generated hype and fiat/crypto, it awaits to be seen how these projects might emerge as a self-sustaining digital or audience outreach strategy for cultural organizations.

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What VIVE Arts and the Mucha Foundation said

“We are delighted launch our new global art trading platform, signaling the next step in VIVE Arts’ development as we build a holistic ecosystem to enhance the rich, growing world of digital art.” — Celina Yeh, Executive Director, VIVE Arts

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with VIVE Arts and to work with their visionary team. Together, we can continue Alphonse’s artistic legacy in new artistic forms — forms whose possibilities would doubtless have fascinated him.” — Marcus Mucha, Executive Director, Mucha Foundation

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NFTs