Outrageous Ode or NFT Art Rent-Seeking?

NFT Mar 21, 2021

For whatever reason, a popular crypto artist has chosen to create artwork with a level of appropriation of the work of a living artist that shocks even the artist at who he aimed the so-called "ode".

Doing it wrong...

Established artist Ai Weiwei. Perhaps you have heard of him?

Crypto artist Carlos Marcial caused a slightly massive outrage in the global art community recently with some artworks during his "House of Marcial" drop on the Nifty Gateway NFT art platform.

The reason for the uproar centers on the extreme appropriation by Marcial of  work by no less established artists than Ai Weiwei and Yayoi Kusama.

As you will note from the tweet above on the subject of this scandal,  Ai Weiwei is having none of it, and was extremely angered by the situation.

An Inception of Infinite Regurgitation

Inspired by and dedicated to Ai Weiwei.

Seven words. That is the entirety of Marcial's description of this piece featuring his infinite room moving animation through a series of another artist's work.

The work is a 3D looping motion scene that is like taking a video tour of a museum and then tacking on your signature at the end and calling the resulting video your original art. Okay, maybe–  what is the real value of this art (as perhaps an ad-hoc documentary film, but certainly not really fine art) though?

The edition of 5 "Wewei's Room" by Marcial generated $48,000 in sales

In perhaps an awkward attempt to feign discovery, Marcial also tried to play it off as if he knew Ai Weiwei, and even claimed that he exchanged some messages with him gaining his official support for "Weiwei's Room" in this (now deleted) tweet.

This tweet contains factual inaccuracies to put it mildly... it was later cowardly deleted. 💀

"I don't know you."

The deleted tweet in its entirety reads as follows:

Ai Weiwei knows who I am, I was able to exchange a couple of DMs with him, and I even ended up with his blessing before tonight's drop. 🙏

it was met with Wewei's decidely not-so-deleted response:

Needless to say, the thread off that one tweet alone is some spicy business!  🌶

Although it is unfortunate that Weiwei must stand up to this level of amateur hour behavior, it is absolutely hilarious he caught on to this poseur Marcial, and publicly called him out about his bullshit level of appropriation and cash grabbing that he is currently engaged in.

You can bet Weiwei won't be deleting any of his side of this story, and as they say "history is written by the winners," so we shall see what history affords Marcial after this artistically sociopathic fiasco.

Dipping into Dots or How I Learned to Love the Pumpkin Spice 3D Perpetual Tour

Ode to Mother Infinity: Inspired by and dedicated to Yayoi Kusama.

Not content at brazenly lifting and regurgitating the artistic output of one famous artist, Marcial chose instead to double down on his drop by also going after established artist Yayoi Kusama's work and appropriating it to the maximum as well.

Another repetitive walk through a rectangular abyss, where like an artsy IKEA, you have only one way to be shuffled through a collection of items which were created by someone who did not create this artwork. Like, "hey I borrowed your polkadots and pumpkins to help enrich myself; I hope you don't mind, I tacked on a little dedication to you at least." 😅

The edition of 1 "Ode to Mother Infinity" by Marcial generated $50,000 in sales

Ai Weiwei angered by the appropriation of Yayoi Kusama artwork in the Marcial drop.

Again, Weiwei is not thrilled about the appropriation of Kusama's and his own artwork, and he makes it known to the world in tweets that will not be deleted.

Do better.

It is one thing to contribute little of value to a community, but another to attempt to ride coattails in such a manner that you have to be scolded by the subject matter of your attempt. 🥴

Marcial was called out and caught in socially unacceptable behavior by someone with more skin in the game than he could ever hope to attain.

He loses whatever merit he has built as an artist when sinking to such a level of deliberate and extreme appropriation simply to pump his latest drop, and he should probably re-examine his values in this regard.

He also damages the community and its hopes for validation as a legitimate industry with an extreme lack of vision and shortsighted greedy art production in stunts like this one.

As a popular crypto artist, he should be setting good examples and providing inspiration, but unfortunately he appears to the community at large to be extremely focused on generating revenue at this time instead.

Marcial generated $98,000 in sales with Nifty Gateway largely on the extreme appropriation of art by Yayoi Kusama and Ai Weiwei.

The whole situation leaves so many unanswered questions, and Marcial is not talking.

  • Are Kusama and Weiwei getting a share of the sales from these works?
  • Is Marcial keeping all the profits to himself?
  • Who will Marcial appropriate next time?
  • Do collectors feel comfortable owning this kind of artwork given that it generates a violent and damaging controversy or will they buy purely because of it?

Hopefully he will do better, and others will learn a lot from this episode.


Dalkhan Masaev

Try to keep levity Embrace the mashugana ART!

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