Digital transformation is not just a trending topic for large corporations. Even Art Galleries are facing the dynamic of new opportunities. NFT Art is getting increasingly popular. Many conventional Art Galleries consider this as a new field of business.
A pioneer in this area is Johann König, founder of KÖNIG GALERIE. Our NFT Granny was able to talk to him about his journey in the NFT Art world – his track record is stunning:
2002: At the age of 21 years old, Johann and Lena König founded their first Gallery in Berlin, Germany.
May 2015: KÖNIG GALERIE took over St. Agnes, a monumental former church built in the 1960s in the Brutalist style, which hosts museum-like exhibitions in two different spaces, the former chapel and the nave.
2017: KÖNIG GALERIE opened KÖNIG LONDON in a former car park in Marylebone, London.
November 2019: KÖNIG TOKIO opened in Japan and presents Artists based in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
April 2020: KÖNIG DIGITAL, a virtual gallery space, was launched with the aim of creating online experiences. Visitors enter the exhibitions via the app KÖNIG GALERIE. KÖNIG DIGITAL presents digital solo and group exhibitions by new media Artists and Artists experimenting in virtual space.
June 2020: The first exhibition messe in St. Agnes (MISA) was held, offering more than 200 artworks from the primary and secondary markets.
April 2021: Johann partnered with MCM and opened a new contemporary art exhibition space in Seoul, Korea.
June 2021: KÖNIG MONACO SHOWROOM, where works by established and emerging contemporary Artists are exhibited in the iconic Villa Nuvola in the centre of the historic city-state, was opened.
October 2021: KÖNIG GALERIE IM KHK opened in Vienna, Austria.
6th November to 17th December 2021: Galerie König exhibited the New Media Artist Refik Anadol. This incredible exhibition was closed when Refik Anadol sold his piece “Machine Hallucinations – Nature Dreams: AI Data Sculpture 2021 1/1” at an OpenSea auction for over 300 ETH.
The gallery currently represents 40 international emerging and established Artists, most of whom belong to a younger generation. The program focuses on interdisciplinary, conceptual, and spatial approaches in various media, including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography, and performance.
Our NFT Granny was able to talk to Johann König – founder of KÖNIG GALERIE, about his thoughts and journey in the digital art world. After his first touching point with NFTs, he started an exciting journey to MISA.ART. An NFT Art Platform which has its own primary and secondary market. It is the only online marketplace that brings emerging and established Artists together and offers a range of traditional and digital art
Dear Mr König, many thanks for taking your precious time to share your experience.
Would you mind telling me a bit about KÖNIG GALERIE and yourself?
Johann König: I come from the traditional art world. My father used to be a curator and museum director. In 2002 I started the Galerie because I wanted to work with artists, and running my own space was the direct way to do so.
In particular, I don’t like to be a gatekeeper because I think there are not enough galleries. There are more artists than there is space for in galleries. That is why I believe NFTs are a great opportunity to give artists more space to show their artwork also in the virtual world.
How did you first hear about NFTs, and when did you realize this could be a new movement?
Johann König: This was around 2019 – from Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, who is running her platform blockchain.art. I immediately realized there was a huge opportunity for more artists to share and sell their art in new ways.
How did you find out how NFTs work? Did you have professional tech support?
Johann König: The concept behind it was pretty easy to understand. It got more complicated as we started to facilitate it – e.g. looking at various blockchain possibilities. Currently, our project is running on the FLOW Blockchain.
When did you decide to exhibit NFTs in your Galeries?
Johann König: That was at the end of 2019 / early 2020 – it was not much about NFTs and more about digital art. We decided to provide a digital space for digital art. Because I thought digital art needs to be in a digital environment. That is why we created an App (König Galerie), and the works in the App turned into NFTs.
If I am interested in buying an NFT art in your gallery, how does the customer journey/experience differentiate from regular offline artwork?
Johann König: We created our own NFT Marketplace called MISA.ART, and you can buy the NFT and get the wallet access sent to your email address. It does not differ much from an offline Art purchase. We tried to bridge the two worlds and make it as easy as possible. Digital and analogue Art both can be bought online.
How do you find new Artists?
Johann König: This is a lot from recommendations from other artists. With MISA.ART, it is just a much bigger palette. With König it is a more subjective view.
Looking back now – are you happy with your NFT journey so far?
Johann König: I am happy – although it was highly complicated doing this in Germany. It was absolute torture – really complex and looking back, I would have preferred doing it somewhere else. In Germany, it is unfortunately not ideal yet.
What do you think is currently missing or could be optimized in the NFT scene to support Galeries?
Johann König: To provide better accessibility. That is why we built MISA.ART. We can receive Fiat Payment which is still not possible on many other NFT Platforms. In addition, it needs curation. It is too complicated for people to navigate through a platform that gives no clues on how and why to buy.
Options for Galleries to work with NFT Art
Galleries have different options to work with NFT Art. Each step is a possibility for itself or could be combined with each other.
- Exhibit NFT Artist in the gallery
- Mint current Art pieces on Blockchain and market them on- and offline
- Open a digital exhibition in the metaverse
- Engage in collaborations with Artists and NFT Artists
In case of any questions, do not hesitate to contact the NFT Granny for individualised advice.
In a nutshell, it is essential to point out immense opportunities for Galeries. There are different ways to enter this growing field.
If a gallery decides to enter the NFT Space, it is crucial to be well informed.
Our NFT Granny thanks Johann König for his open words and is sure that Galleries should consider their options in the NFT space.