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Rare works by Banksy and Damien Hirst are going on display at this virtual gallery

Written by
Katie McCabe

Everyone in the art world is rushing to make their exhibitions virtual. Some galleries are posting up footage of behind-the-scenes tours or just uploading collections of jpegs. Others, who happen to hold the big art bucks, are launching 3D, HD and interactive online shows where you can examine expensive artworks up close.  

One such exhibition is ‘XXI’, an asset-based contemporary art show, which will feature works by blue-chip artists like Kaws, George Condo, Banksy, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. First things first: what does any of that actually mean? Essentially, it’s about cash. Blue-chip artists are those whose works are worth exorbitant amounts of money and have had consistently high sales. Their pieces are only expected to increase in value over time. If you ask ‘how much is that worth?’ about a sculpture or painting by a blue-chip artist at Frieze, the gallery attendant will look at you like you just stuck a glob of Juicy Fruit on the ear of a Jeff Koons rabbit.  

The ‘XXI’ exhibition is a collaboration between Hofa Gallery and Artcels, and the real-life version opened at Hofa’s London gallery in February. Artcels, in case you were wondering, is a kind of broker for art investors. You see, ‘XXI’ is not just about admiring art, but encouraging people to buy shares in it. Prepare for some Gordon Gekko jargon here: at ‘XXI’, subscribers can purchase shares in the works of art on show – everything exhibited was selected for its ‘high yield’ potential. Shares are valued at more than $1m on the high end of the scale, or $500 each at the low end. 

But if you have absolutely no interest in Q2 shares, yield potential, portfolios or investments of any kind, you can still visit the virtual ‘XXI’ show to get up close and pixel-personal with works by big-name artists. Look out for ‘Blame Game Portfolio’ a set of ten prints by Kaws, Banksy’s ‘Strawberry Donut’ screenprint and the deadpan cartoon portraits of George Condo. You just have to register for a secure link to get there, and sort your own Ruinart champagne. 

If nothing else, ‘XXI’ is a peek behind the velvet curtain of the commercial art world, a place where artworks are known as assets.

‘XXI’ launches virtually on Mon May 4, 6pm BST and runs until May 18. Find out more here

Take a virtual tour of museums and galleries across the UK.

Or walk The Line with the new interactive map of the London sculpture trail.

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