On Friday, March 22nd, the gallery Castelli Art Space in Los Angeles opened an exhibition called New Money by local artist Andy Bauch. In a very exceptional convergence of the world of technology and art, Bauch just hid cryptocurrency in plain sight within his most recent work.
The L.A.-based artist utilizes his trademark style of working with countless numbers of Lego bricks to make multi-colored works which might be best described as pixelated Pointillism. Bauch has been making these Lego artworks since 2010 with the intention to question the merits and worth of fine art in the modern, technological age, whether it is by the means of portraits of pop culture icons or mosaics of iconic L.A. restaurants.
The latest works from New Money all hide a key—“similar to a very secure password, just a bunch of letters and numbers”—to unlock a cryptocurrency wallet, Bauch points out. Each and every wallet is encrypted with a private key that is made up of a string of letters and numbers. That key was then fed into an algorithm to create a pattern. Then the artist modified the algorithm in some places to make it develop an image that appealed to him.
The art is made with over 100,000 Lego bricks. Altogether, the works of art presented here contain $10,000 in a number of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin and Cannabiscoin. The title for each artwork informs the viewers which cryptocurrency is concealed within its pattern and exactly how much it was worth at the time of creation. It varies from $10 to $90. At the exhibition, the real time value of the artworks is going to be viewable by using a projection.
The purpose of the work, as outlined by Bauch, is to “span this gap that often exists between new technology and humanity.” Art, needless to say, is always very subjective. There is however something to be said with regards to the clash of art, technology, and commerce. About how these factors all merge with each other in improbable ways and play into today’s anxieties.
Even though the works are for sale, anybody who is able to solve the encrypted code should be able to move the cryptocurrency to his or her personal wallet.