A rare piece of digital artwork created by Jerry Garcia in 1990 is up for sale as an NFT (non-fungible token) by the Jerry Garcia Foundation. The piece, titled “Gift”, is listed on peer-to-peer website SuperRare for a price of 309 Ether, currently equivalent to more than one million U.S. dollars. The organization will also work with Aerial to offset the carbon footprint of the NFT sale.
As former Grateful Dead publicist and historian Dennis McNally told The San Francisco Chronicle about the Jerry Garcia NFT auction, “One of the most interesting things about Dead Heads is the cross-generational reach. So while I’m old and not even entirely sure what an NFT actually is, there’s an enormous slice of Dead Heads for whom this is a comfortable concept — and if it comes from Jerry’s creativity I suspect they’ll want it very much. And I’m confident Jerry would love the idea of his work entering the digital/virtual realm.”
“Quite a lot of Jerry’s art was created on a Mac, and he was more than ready to slide into the digital realm,” McNally added. “Sometime in the ’90s, Bob Weir’s lyricist, John Barlow, took Jerry to a fairly early-on VR demonstration in Silicon Valley — ironically, just a couple of blocks from Shoreline Amphitheatre. Jerry loved it, and came out saying, ‘This is the new acid.’ I can’t imagine him being more impressed than that.”
A description presented along with “Gift” on its NFT auction listing notes, “Meeting ‘Gift,’ he greets us just landing, coming into our view from blue sky-walking and fluffy cloud-surfing. We see the congenial face of ‘Gift,’ a smiling forward-thinking interstellar being. He plays a musical staff. We experience his colorful epiphany of giving and receiving in a range of rainbow hues- purples, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues. We experience ‘Gift’ as a realization of gratitude, an uplifting vision perceived through tangible abstractions. Familiar forms and geometric shapes adorn his garment. ‘Gift’ plays by ear.”
The Jerry Garcia Foundation, which was founded by Garcia’s former partner, Manasha Garcia (maiden name Matheson), and his youngest daughter, Keelin Garcia, in 2015 to support “humanitarian, environmental and artistic causes,” has reportedly pledged a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the NFT to preserve coral reefs globally.
Various artists and organizations have been able to raise large sums of money with NFT auctions in recent months. The format has also come under fire during that same time for its extensive carbon footprint. If you’re still confused about NFTs, check out our handy guide to the blockchain-based digital art assets here.
Jerry Garcia – “Gift”
[H/T The Chronicle]