It’s Gold, Baby. But Niclas Castello’s cube is nothing new in art.

The cool thing about concept art is how easy it is to create. Can you say something about the way many of us experience the increasingly virtual world and the exploding popularity of NFTs (non-edible tokens) – or seem to want to say something profound. color – just by staging Central Park takes place around a knee-high cube of solid gold.

At least, that’s what German pop artist Niclas Castello did. His “Castello Cube,” minted in more than $10 million worth of 24-karat Nevadan gold, appeared in an ice patch across from the Naumburg Bandshell on Wednesday, ahead of a flagship marketing campaign that included a advertising around that morning’s edition of The New York Times. Related NFTs from the artist and even a digital currencyCastello Coin, will drop at the end of the month. According to Marina Dertnig, a member of the production team, the artist has privately reserved enough money to finance this project. But Castello, 43, emphasizes the rarity of the actual cube by displaying it for just one day and promising it won’t go on sale.

When I visited, the cube was surrounded by a steady small number of gawking people, some of whom came to see the artwork and others drawn by the crowd itself. “I like a group of people staring at a box,” said Isabel Robin, an actress and tour guide.

After all, the last time New Yorkers saw large volumes of solid gold in public was in 2016-2017, when Maurizio Cattelan installed my 18 karat gold toilet,”AmericasAt the Guggenheim Museum.

Some Central Park visitors were struck by the material’s beauty. Brigitte Bentele, a retired educator and watercolorist, said: “The reflections are amazing, and putting it there in the snow seemed really inspiring.” Others, such as a private security guard, Jamel Rabel, were dismayed by the gap between the hyperbolic advertisements for the work – “Never before in human history has such an enormous amount of gold been produced. cast into a pure object” – and its rather modest presence. “It’s pretty simple,” he said.

I would say both are correct. From a few feet away, the top of the cube looks smooth and delicate like an iridescent rainwater, reflecting the trees. Stepping closer, I found a few small black marks left on the soft metal by the compaction of sand, where the cube was cast in Aarau, Switzerland. When the artist’s team set up their cameras’ pink lights, the cube seemed to change color from dark bronze to bright yellow. The edges look sharp but somehow, also give. There’s a reason people love gold.

Castello, who hangs out at the venue, wears chic black, has long hair and bright blue glasses. In the past, he created what he calls “cubic paintings” with broken acrylic paintings inside and joined the street art movement in Europe.

But does his current public work complement what the Romanian-born sculptor has? Constantin Brancusi talked about shiny surfaces in the 1920s-30s with his beautiful abstract bronze birds? Or Donald Judd’s comprehensive exploration of unit in the 1960s? Does the one-day pop-up really update the 1960s happenings in Sheep Meadowor issue a limited edition supreme t-shirt, in what sense? It can rival the majestic lines of saffron orange gate Christo was erected in Central Park in 2005? Does it shed light on the tension between aesthetic and commodity value, or provide new insight into the gold standard 50 years after Nixon scrapped it?

What the “Castello Cube” really stands for is the self-sustaining power of capital. If you had the resources to get hold of $10 or $11 million worth of gold from UBS Bank in Switzerland – as Castello did – and then pay a centuries-old bell foundry in there to shape it into a cube, and finally to transport this cube to the most visible park in the financial capital of the western world, you can get people to look at it, talk about it and evaluate it – and then, in what is shaping up to be the new gold standard, sell the whole experience as an NFT. It’s Gold, Baby. But Niclas Castello’s cube is nothing new in art.

Fry Electronics Team

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