Collectors, they launched the NFT Factory, the first French crypto-art museum

After growing up among paintings and art books, Benoît Couty and Thuy-Tien Vo have decided to dedicate themselves to this booming ecosystem.

They grew up among classic paintings and art books, visited museums but, at the age of 50, their discovery of NFTs led Benoît Couty and his wife Thuy-Tien Vo to undertake the promotion of digital art.

“4, 5 years ago, I was brought, as a lawyer, to work on tax legislation relating to cryptocurrencies. It was then that I discovered NFTs”, these digital objects attached to a work – virtual or real – of which they certify ownership , says AFP Benoît, white shirt, salt and pepper beard and cap with a line of code screwed to the head.

First French museum dedicated to “crypto-art”

This code is the address of the MoCA, the first French museum dedicated to “crypto-art” which opened in 2018. To access it, an internet connection is required as it is virtual and has about 800 works. With him, the duo intends to support this new form of digital art, which they describe as “committed” because it is based on values ​​proposed in the early stages of the Internet, such as sharing information or freedoms.

This “crypto-art”, he explains, differs from digital art in general for recurring themes: man and machine, the questioning of life and death or the relationship with a distant past such as the Renaissance.

Benoît Couty has since also become artistic director and co-founder, along with a hundred other enthusiasts, of a physical gallery dedicated to NFTs near the Center Pompidou in Paris. Called “NFT Factory”, this exhibition and work space, which hosts training sessions, was inaugurated on Saturday. This is a new step for him, whose first NFT purchase was “land in the metaverse”, these digital universes presented as the future of the Internet.

“At the time, I thought it might have value. I shot this metaverse and discovered my neighbors, artists who were building their own galleries to exhibit their digital works in the virtual universe,” he says.

Among them, Pascal Boyart, the first artist to have created NFT from his mural works, and in particular from a fresco, “The freedom leading the people of the yellow vests”, in reference to the painting by Eugène Delacroix. Impressed by the “energy and spontaneity of their works, I contacted them to propose to exhibit them in a large museum (built on his virtual land, ed) that I decided to call Crypto Art Museum”.

“Rabbit hole”

“To thank me, the artists gave me their NFT works. Other collectors wanted to buy them back and I realized it was worth. I started buying some with Thuy-Tien and the money back home. Sometimes dozens, almost every day,” he said. said remember.

“The works cost 10 euros, 100 euros, at the beginning of 2019. Today they can be worth 10,000, 100,000 euros,” he adds.

Thuy-Tien Vo, explains that she was “a long time spectator before diving into the rabbit hole”, in other words “the rabbit hole” in French, referring to “Alice in Wonderland”, to describe an unknown world. located in another reality.

For the three years of the MoCA at the end of 2021, the couple exhibited 50 works from their permanent collection and 30 works created especially for this event on the screens of the former Pierre Cardin museum.

“At that moment I fully entered this ecosystem and decided to do my job by creating a consulting company,” she explains.

“I, who grew up in classical art with collector parents, believe that it is the crypto-art that will remain once the NFT fever has subsided, and has already subsided. In fact, we see that it arouses the same rejections, but also the same collaborations and the same emulation of some artistic movements that have remained in the history of art such as pop art “, he continues.

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