At the crossroads of technology and art stands Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, a pioneer of merging art and science and an advocate for new, innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and fractional, tokenized ownership of major works of art. Just as the Internet broke down the gates between the masses and information, technology will similarly transform art production and ownership, two prospects that both excite and, in part, drive Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim’s mission to bring cutting-edge art to the world.
Noting that, in many ways, art and technology are already well enmeshed with one another, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim cites artist Kevin Abosch and the unique mediums artists such as him utilize in their work. Recently invited to China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and the National Museum of China in Beijing to speak on this very topic, Hoerle-Guggenheim tells us that he isn’t just excited about the new and novel, but is also deeply entranced with the traditional, the classic, and the rarities still left hidden in family collections across the world. Describing this as a fulfilling process, he hasn’t forgotten about the mission to bring art to the public in new ways. Towards this end, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim excitedly told us about expansion plans in booming markets in Palm Beach, Florida and Orange County California in addition to building out greater relationships in China itself. In his speech on the subject of art and human creativity, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim reminds us that art is both an expression of the human condition as well as being emblematic of humanity’s will to shape and transform the world around us.
Delving into the art market itself, he enthusiastically described a new world in which both artists and collectors find themselves with more options than ever before, both in terms of medium and monetization. Outlining the contours of the future of the art market, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim describes a world in which collectors become more knowledgeable, and more robust in their approach to curation while artists themselves will enjoy greater freedoms of expression as well as in potential monetary compensation. Concluding with a note of unmistakable optimism, he discusses how art takes nature as its model, how that is evolving, and where the future might take us all on this journey.
Philippe, you were invited to China’s most prestigious university, Tsinghua University, and the National Museum of China to speak. How did your invitation to these incredible institutions happen?
In mid 2018 I was introduced to the work by artist Ahmed Elgammal, who is a Professor at Stanford University that created a technology that puts out Artificial Intelligence (AI) Augmented artwork. His technology processes thousands of images of artworks by Old Masters or Contemporary Artists and creates new individual, unique pieces with that influence. I found the concept extremely interesting and exciting, and decided to give Ahmed and his technology a solo exhibition at my gallery, HG Contemporary in New York City. It was the very first solo exhibition for any artist or artwork created by AI Technology. This AI Technology was later replaced by the storm of the NFT art world, that found an ever greater footing and acceptance by collectors. However, it was the initiator and the precursor. The exhibition and the press it received didn’t go unnoticed and I was contacted by Tsinghua University in Collaboration with the National Museum of China in Beijing to be a keynote speaker at this event that only takes place every 4 years. All of the speakers were doctors, professors, artists and scientists, and myself who all brought in new approaches and viewpoints on how technology and art collide.
What were the topics of your speaking engagements about?
I spoke about blockchain technology, fractional ownership and tokenization of artworks. I spoke about how I see technology as a driver of society and how it is only fitting to have that exemplified within art and as an art form. With the greater use of Crypto currencies and the large familiarization of owning shares within a new asset class, it would only be a matter of time until it becomes the new way of doing business, also in art. Provenance has long been an issue within art transactions and blockchain technology eradicates that issue. I spoke at length about the excitement collectors can have about owning a fraction of an unique artwork as you open the gates to anyone to have some level of ownership that they otherwise would perhaps not afford to own exclusively. All of our presentations are in the process of being published in a book by Tsinghua University, which should be coming to market very soon.
How does art actually intersect with technology and blockchain? How do these three areas actually meet and interact?
Blockchain technology has already become part of some art transactions, meaning transactions that are recorded and minted. Artists have used technology to create art for centuries, but with the progression of the advancements from technology, the potential of creating even more impressive artworks i.e. sculptures has expanded. I largely focus on the use of technology to create digital art that can later be printed or remain an intangible and shareable art form. I see art all around us, in the design of cars, watches, houses and everything we see digitally. I believe the definition of an artist has become extremely transcendent. Da Vinci himself was a scientist first, and an artist second.
Who were the artists that you presented to the museum in China and what was the response like?
I brought previously-mentioned Ahmed Elgammal with his AI Technology-produced artwork, I presented Kevin Abosch, a forward-thinker and important voice in the NFT and AI art world, and l also brought female artist Qinza Najm, who also uses technology and unique mediums to create artworks. All 3 artist’s works were exhibited within the walls of the National Museum of China that records millions of visitors a year. The response has been outstanding and even better than I could have imagined. I was very honored to have been chosen as part of the curatorial team.
It has been a few years since we last spoke with you. Philippe, what have you been doing in the last few years?
I have been restructuring my gallery business with the launch of new gallery spaces in the near future. I have taken time to prioritize valuable relationships and to reconfigure the gallery process from the bottom up. I have also signed new artists and have taken a more focused position in the secondary art world, meaning the buying and selling of artworks from previous collectors. I have also focused on finding rare objects in family collections across the globe. This has been a very fulfilling process.
How did you survive the COVID-19 pandemic? Was it difficult for the HG Contemporary Gallery in New York to keep its doors open?
We were able to use the time to our advantage and restructure our internal processes, speak to new artists, improve everything we could think of. With a new lease on sight and covid at the time we decided to take a small break from having a space, but continued serving our clients all over the world. We are now reopening physical spaces in California and Florida. We are very excited for what is to come.
Your upcoming presentations in China are certainly career highs. What are your plans for your next visit to China?
I have been in touch with museums in Beijing and Shanghai after my last visit which are interested in collaborations and special curations. We are finalizing concepts and we hope no further delays will occur. I am looking forward to exploring all the opportunities as they are many. Much time will be spent now on the upcoming exhibitions in the US, but I will be sure to update you as things further progress. We are extremely excited for what is to come.
To know more about Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim and HG Cintemporary, please visit http://www.hgcontemporary.com