Metaverse 101

Our First Metaverse Gallery

When I first started hearing the term “Metaverse” vis-a-vis the art world last year (it seemed to spring up during the Covid induced quarantine) I quickly realized I hand no idea regarding what it meant. So I went to the search engine of my choice, and shortly thereafter realized it was a conflation of “Meta” (beyond) + “verse” (the latter half of universe). Digging a little deeper, I learned metaverses were 3D virtual spaces where people could meet and…do things. The gaming world is where the most visible applications of this concept exist, but the artworld was poised to make an entry. And the explosion of NFTs led the way. What if artist’s and galleries could virtually display NFT artworks in a metaverse gallery? What if museums could display their collections in a metaverse museum? What if collectors could display their digital & NFT art in virtual living spaces? The notion is part surreal, part silly, part disruptive, and wholly intriguing. Digging deeper, I started to study WHICH metaverse interested me.

Enter Decentraland, which is a decentralized virtual world owned and operated by its users where one can buy and own, or rent/lease, land and buildings. Then, the fun begins, as content, curation, and connection can occur in this “alternative digital art world ecosystem”. This process is well underway, despite Decentraland still being in Beta.

In 2021 I have learned how to navigate the space. Visited virtual exhibitions where NFTs were being curated and sold. And have acquired two parcels of land and two pre-fabricated buildings which look like they digitally jumped from the pages of Dwell Magazine. The next step is creating two-way portals between our programs and content IRL (“in real life” i.e. our existing brick and mortar, oil and canvas art world) and the blockchain/NFT art world which we are entering. The prospect of establishing new connections with creators making never before seen types of art, as well implementing new tools to help redefine aspects of the “regularly scheduled historical art world”, is an incredibly invigorating one. Buckle up, it’s going to be one heck of a ride!

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