Finally, an art gallery that lives on the edge and isn’t afraid to embrace NFTs.
Anyone looking to escape the woes of the crypto market might find Superchief’s Los Angeles space appealing, which features numerous NFT artworks and celebrated its 10th anniversary with a new exhibition over the weekend.
Decrypt visited Superchief in L.A., located in a warehouse-style building in the heart of downtown that features psychedelic paintings, surrealist NFTs, a graffiti-splattered alleyway, and a parking lot with a knife-throwing board.
“For us it was really important to show our large community of artists who have come up from the underground and now do museum-level work, as well as digital-native artists that we’ve been really into since about 2016,” Superchief co-founder Edward Zipco told Decrypt in an interview. “We’ve tried to marry them into one group show.”
Zipco started the gallery in New York with co-founder Bill Dunleavy in 2012. In March 2021, Superchief opened the world’s first physical NFT gallery in New York.
The two now juggle their time between their LA and New York locations.
Since last year, they’ve become more focused on the world of art NFTs, unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership. Zipco said he often buys his friends’ NFTs, and previously minted Ethereum NFTs of his own photography as well.
When asked why he chose Ethereum for his own work (Zipco shared he loves Tezos), the co-founder said he believes Ethereum is still the most respected blockchain in the NFT world.
Last month, the gallery launched its own Ethereum membership NFTs, costing 1 ETH ($1,205) for an “OG Worldwide Multipass” that grants access to Superchief’s galleries as well as upcoming mints from its artists.
Why NFTs? From what Zipco’s seen, they’re opening doors.
“This is the first real revolutionary moment for artists where royalties are in the picture, where digital artists who have been kept out of the fine art world are really getting their shot,” Zipco said.
While Zipco sees NFTs as a way for digital artists to monetize their work and bleed into the mainstream art world, he also loves the “fun” subculture that has sprung up around NFTs.
“It’s been nice seeing it not take itself so horribly seriously,” Zipco said, adding that the trend of grotesque NFTs is actually “refreshing” because they “really speak to the emotional state of everyone” and “allow people to participate in this cathartic moment that we’re all going through.”
In his view, NFTs have monetized internet culture in ways that weren’t possible before.
So what makes Superchief special, besides its NFTs, parties, and habitual knife-throwing?
The gallery is very close-knit and wants to foster long-term relationships with its artists as much as possible, Zipco said.
“We come from the community.”