In today’s head-scratching news, someone dropped $140,000 for Emily Ratajkowski’s first NFT, or non-fungible token.
In just six minutes of intense bidding at Christie’s auction house, a mystery buyer in New York City beat out online bidders in France and Monaco to pick up the token of the model’s “Buying Myself Back: A Model for Redistribution.”
So what did they buy?
Well, technically, nothing physical to hang on the wall, but rather the digital ownership of the picture of her standing in front of an image of her that artist Richard Prince co-opted for his own series.
In a 2020 essay for the Cut, Ratajkowski said she was paid a measly $150 for that image, which was part of a shoot for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. Prince co-opted the image for his show, and the model bought it back for more than $80,000.
Model Emily Ratajkowski’s NFT of herself (right) sold at auction for $140,000.Credit: Getty; Emily Ratajkowski/CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD.
The buyer of this NFT will be helping her reclaim her image after having it “wrested from her for another’s profit,” as the auction’s accompanying essay says.
“Works of unnamed muses sell for millions of dollars and build careers of traditionally male artists, while the subjects of these works receive nothing,” she wrote on Instagram.
The constantly photographed model has long grappled with taking ownership of her own image.WireImage
“NFTs carry the potential to allow women ongoing control over their image and the ability to receive rightful compensation for its usage and distribution.”
“Emily owns the image as the image is not part of the medium,” a Christie’s rep explained to The Post earlier this week. “The work itself is the token alone, and the buyer will receive a token to the work.”
But even though this seems like a high price to pay — after all, you can buy a Mercedes G Wagon for that price, or a four-bedroom house in Oklahoma — it’s digital diddly compared to other recent NFT sales. For example, the original meme of smiling tot Zoe Roth, aka “Disaster Girl,” sold for $473,000 in April.
And a collection of nine digital artworks called “Cryptopunks” went for a whopping $17 million just this week.