This piece is the second in a three-part series that explores the potential art-world impact of cryptocurrency. It proceeds as if the reader is already familiar with the core concepts and related terminology covered in Part I. If cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are new to you, we highly recommend starting from the beginning.
After Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) sold at Christie’s New York in 2013 for a then-unprecedented $142 million, New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl penned a blog post simply titled “The Circus.” He didn’t just use it to side-eye the mind-warping prices at the market’s peak. He questioned the entire concept of an art market, period, by acknowledging that Bacon and Freud were both “obviously worth something”—but only “given the spooky assumption that art is worth anything.”