Yet another fine art institution is jumping on the crypto bandwagon.
British artist Damien Hirst and printmaker HENI Leviathan announced Thursday the release of a print run of eight Hirst paintings, which will be available for purchase with the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
According to the announcement, “For the first time, both HENI Leviathan and the artist Damien Hirst will be accepting Cryptocurrency for payment of editions, payments can be made by either Bitcoin or ether, as well as by credit or debit card.”
The prints are available starting today and will sell through March 3. Each print is priced at $3,000 (or .058 BTC/1.8 ETH, according to price at the time of publication), and each piece will be signed by Hirst.
In the announcement, Hirst — whose work has been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art — spoke of the decision to accept digital currencies as an act of faith in the ecosystem:
“It’s hard for any of us to trust anything in this life but somehow we manage it and we even find love and I love art and I love the crypto world and I am happy and proud to put my belief into Bitcoin and ether and accept them for this drop.”
HENI Leviathan accepting cryptocurrency payments is also a sign of growing adoption from the institutional art world. The printmaker is among the most widely respected among fine artists and collectors and has featured runs from other artists of historical significance such as Gerhard Richter.
The Hirst paintings in this run are inspired by the Eight Virtues of Bushido: “Justice, Courage, Mercy, Politeness, Honesty, Honour, Loyalty, Control.” Hirst has been chronicling his process in creating them on his Instagram page, and he says that the paintings “are about beauty and life and death” — themes and forces he frequently explores in his work.
“They’re about desire and how we process love and why we need it, but also these prints are about the momentary, the insane transience of beauty — a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear blue sky. How can you argue with that?” Hirst said of the paintings.
Hirst and HENI Leviathan aren't the only art giants dipping their toes into cryptocurrencies. This month, auction house giant Christie’s announced it will be auctioning an NFT from digital artist Beeple, a retrospective collage of his “first 5000 days” of producing one piece of art per day. In the announcement, Christie's also said they would be accepting bids in ETH for the piece.