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  • 16 August 2021

Christie's Announces Misha Kahn: Furniture Unhinged | Online | August 18-24

Christie's Offers the First Ever Design NFT Auction

“What is really interesting to me about the idea of selling an NFT of a design object is that you can express yourself in an object that doesn’t need to be materialised.” — Misha Kahn

A group shot of Misha Kahn’s 10 furniture types being sold as corresponding NFTs

NEW YORK – Christie’s is delighted to announce the offering of the first ever design non-fungible token (NFT) auction at a major auction house, presented in partnership with acclaimed designer Misha Kahn. The online auction will take place from August 18-24.

Misha Kahn is a material polymath whose irreverent approach encompasses a wide range of techniques and tools, from lo-fi collage and improvisational molds to virtual reality and robotics. Furniture Unhinged presents 10 NFTs, each comprising a unique 3D model rendered as an FBX file together with a corresponding MP4 single-channel “trophy” video of the object spinning on a pedestal.

Each lot represents an individual frame captured from a 13-second source animation by Kahn, whose biomorphic protagonist morphs through various furniture types and functions within a virtual, off-world architectural space. Kahn is represented by leading design gallery, Friedman Benda.

In a departure from previous NFT-based artworks, the owner of each of the present lots may 3D-print as many physical examples of their FBX as they would like, and/or they may commission one unique, signed example which Kahn will render in a mutually agreed-upon material. The ninth lot, It Must Have Been The Clams, is accompanied in the current sale by such a real-life example, which Kahn rendered in PETG thermoplastic polyester, epoxy, and paint.

Alex Heminway, International Head of Design at Christie’s, said: “Misha Kahn is an electric talent and one of the most finely tuned sensibilities working in design today. That said, ‘design’ and ‘today’ are limiting concepts when thinking of his current work, his capabilities, and his forward march; he is world building for tomorrow.”   

Read an interview with Kahn and his partner, journalist Nick Haramis, who discuss the designer’s seamless transition from sculpting in Virtual Reality to developing NFTs, the power of digital versus physical works and the value in living with both.

ABOUT MISHA KAHN

Misha Kahn has emerged as one of the leading creative voices of his generation of designers. Through a wildly imaginative approach that embraces spontaneity and non-conformity, Kahn allows the illogical and the irreverent to take over his entire process. He employs everything from lo-fi and ad hoc techniques—such as improvisational molds and collage—to high-tech tools such as virtual reality and robotics.

Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1989, Kahn graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design. Soon after, he gained recognition when he was featured in the Museum of Arts and Design's Biennial (2014).

Unafraid to push boundaries, Kahn is determined to question the accepted way of doing things, driving him to self-invent, adapt, and further processes in a myriad of mediums including metalwork, glass, wood, textiles, ceramic, bronze casting, fiberglass, and cement. Voracious to upend traditional techniques, he embraces the opportunity to learn from masters in their respective crafts. Kahn’s acclaimed woven Scrappy series (since 2015), is the result of a collaboration with Gone Rural, a female group of traditional weavers based in Swaziland.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of museums such as the Corning Museum of Glass, NY; Dallas Museum of Art, TX; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, KY. Kahn lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

ABOUT CHRISTIE’S NFT PROGRAM

Christie’s continues to underpin its position at the forefront of the burgeoning NFT market and as the strongest voice in the NFT artspace worldwide:

Christie’s was the first international auction house to sell an NFT of a purely digital work of art—setting a new world record for digital art, hosting the revolutionary online sale of Beeple’s EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS that achieved $69 million and set the record for the most expensive work sold online and the third highest price for a living artist at auction.

Following Beeple, Christie’s introduced curated NFT sales, gave a platform to digitally native artists like 18-year-old FEWOCiOUS and LarvaLabs (for their iconic Cryptopunks), and partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and established artists like Jenny Holzer and the estate of Nam June Paik, as well as fashion brands such as Gucci and collectibles giants Superplastic.

Christie’s leads this entirely new collecting category, with more than $93 M in sales of NFTs to date, more than double any competitor.

Additional digital innovations at Christie’s include:

The first international auction house to utilize AR technology, pioneered during the sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in 2017 and then the record-breaking Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection in 2018.

In 2018, partnering with industry leader, Artory, Christie’s was the first international auction house to record sales of works on a Blockchain in An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection.

The first auction house to sell an artwork created by Artificial Intelligence/AI (Obvious, Portrait of Edward de Belamy, 2018) sold for $432,500.

The first sale of a mixed reality work at auction with Marina Abramovic’s The Life in 2020 for £287,500.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.