Arts DEVO: Totally cool

Valerie Rose working on her mural at North Rim.
Jason Cassidy

DEVOtions (version 10.8 – the cooldown)

The week this paper hits the street, the highest temperature in the immediate forecast for Chico is 79 degrees. The low is 43. Just typing those words soothes Arts DEVO’s heat-, wildfire-, pandemic-weary soul. My longtime love affair with our extra-long Nor Cal summers has taken a huge hit in recent years, and I am relieved to (hopefully) be done with this endless one.

Some cool things on the calendar this month to fill the cool days:

Open Studios Art Tour: Last year, Chico Art Center’s annual local-artist showcase was forced to go online only. This year, you can once again tour virtually but the studios are also open (with social-distancing and mask protocols in place) for in-person viewings of the work/exhibition spaces over the course of two weekends—Oct. 16-17 and Oct. 23-24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit the chicoartcenter.com or the gallery (450 Orange St.) to purchase a $15 tour guide.

New mural: In recognition of Deaf Awareness Month, local artist Valerie Rose is painting a mural on the back of North Rim Adventure Sports (facing First Street). North Rim owners Paul McIntyre and John Alden donated the wall, and the North Valley Community Foundation funded the piece, which features Rose’s message: “If everyone learned signed language, we would be happier.”

Land Back Day: For Indigenous People’s Day, North Valley Two Spirits, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Stewardship Program and Stonewall Alliance of Chico are presenting “a day of learning, anti-colonialism and community joy in Mechoopda territory,” Monday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m., at Verbena Fields.

NFT BOSS!

I am long overdue in giving props to Chico artist Max Infeld and the mind-boggling response he’s gotten to his digital artworks. I can no longer put it off, especially after what transpired last week when his art was sold at Christie’s. You read that correctly. Infeld had three pieces in a lot that was put up for bidding at the world-famous auction house on Oct. 1 … and which sold for more than $1.2 million!

You may be shouting, “WTF?!” out loud right now, but not me. That’s only because I know that this is becoming old hat for Infeld. His three pieces were in the Christie’s sale as part of a series called Curio Cards, featuring 30 digital non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by various artists. One of the card’s created by Marisol Vengas (an alter ego of Infeld’s), a mixed-media image of a multistory building with trees in the foreground called “Yellow” (aka card “No. 29”), made a huge splash back in early August when it sold for $75,000. Then it almost immediately sold again, this time for more than $250,000. Then again for half-a-million!

The Curio Cards exist on the Etherium cryptocurrency block chain and are some of the earliest examples of NFTs in existence. Despite talking to Infeld about how this cyber art-dealing works, I can barely wrap my head around what’s happening here let alone comment on what it all means. I do know that the digitally encrypted versions of his pieces being sold are works that are currently in other people’s hands, but that a percentage of the sales do go back to the original Curio collective artists. (Infeld is understandably shy about disclosing how much of this digital cash is actually landing his analog hands.)

Infeld’s Curio Cards might be out of your price range, but his Marisol Vengas persona has just posted a new series of pieces online—“Series 7”—116 cards (each comes with one physical print and five NFTs—each a uniquely minted/encoded original virtual print) for $9,700 apiece. If that’s still too rich for your blood, for $25 you can order stickers based on his three Curio Card designs. Visit marisolvengas.com for more info.

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