NFTs, blockchain and digital culture to be showcased at upcoming art exhibition

A leading art expert will focus on the virtual world while engaging in debates around NFTs and blockchain technologies, when he curates, My Life in the Metaverse, a Gateway exhibition taking place at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Author, curator, broadcaster and cultural historian Dr Omar Kholeif’s multidisciplinary exhibition spans a variety of media including sculpture, painting, photography, installation, video and NFTs, including a journey through a simulation, guided by Dr. Kholeif’s alter ego Dr. O.

Organized by Abu Dhabi Art, the fair will run from November 16, 2022 to January 22, 2023.

Dr. Kholeif is Director of Collections and Senior Curator at the Sharjah Art Foundation. He previously served as guest curator at the gallery section of Abu Dhabi Art for three years, from 2017 to 2019. He returns to Abu Dhabi Art with an extensive exhibition that explores the history and aesthetics of digital culture.

“Bringing together nearly two decades of my research and experience into My Life in the Metaverse which hopes to elucidate the possibilities of the freewheeling techno world. This show is designed as the first chapter in a series of projects that explore the perspectives of our collective imagination,” said Dr. Kholeif.

My Life in the Metaverse features works by internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom will feature new commissions or artwork that has never been shown in the UAE before.

Artists include Sophia Al Maria, Cory Arcangel, Cream Projects, Simon Denny, Celia Hempton, Paul Heyer, Haroon Mirza, Farhad Moshiri, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Heather Phillipson and Andy Warhol.

Among the range of artworks featured is Trevor Paglen’s large sculpture The Standard Head (2020), which reconstructs CIA agent Woody Bledsoe’s 1960s equation for the typical human head. TV Buddha (1974-2002) by Nam June Paik, a Buddha statue gazing at an image of itself on an infinite looping television screen, sits alongside a selection of Polaroid photographs by Any Warhol, reflecting the birth of the aesthetics of selfie culture.

Hempton’s paintings explore culture and the form of surveillance, while multidisciplinary art collective Cream Projects will present a new commission, Too Many Humans (2022-ongoing) has been reimagined by the companies as the metaverse. Simon Denny will also present new NFT paintings.

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James C. Tibbs