A cube made from solid gold worth $11.7 million sits in Central Park and has its own security detail
This morning, joggers in New York’s Central Park may have encountered a curious, rather illustrious sight. A cube made of 186 kilograms of pure 24 carat gold, designed by German artist Niclas Castello who presented it as a “conceptual”base of the world” (base of the world) sculpture for our time, was transported to the Naumburg Bandshell this morning around 5:00 a.m.
Although the work is not for sale, according to the artist’s team, based on the current price of gold at $1,788 an ounce, its material value is approximately $11.7 million. dollars. Flanked by a large security service, the 410-pound work should be displayed in the park until the end of the day.
In a message sent this morning to Artnet News, Castello called the work “a work of conceptual art in all its facets”. He said the idea was to “create something that is beyond our world, that is intangible”.
And so, as with everything in 2022, an accompanying cryptocurrency is being launched alongside the physical artwork. The Castello piece, marketed under the name of $CASTis available for purchase online for an initial price of €0.39 ($0.44) each, with an NFT auction scheduled for February 21.
According to Castello’s team, the gold cube was cast in a foundry in Aarau, Switzerland, requiring a special hand-made furnace in order to withstand both the size and volume of the gold, as well only at the extreme temperatures necessary to melt it, reaching up to 1100°C. The cube measures 50 cm on all sides and has a wall thickness of 6.3 mm.
Later in the evening, the sculpture will go to a private dinner on Wall Street, where many celebrities are said to be present.
Born in 1978 in East Germany, Castello currently lives between New York and Switzerland. Known largely for his sculptures and paintings partly inspired by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Castello’s previous works draw heavily on pop culture and consumer imagery.
His cube can, in some respects, be compared to that of Damien Hirst infamous diamond encrusted skulla memento mori which is also a commentary on the endless entanglement of art in money and capital, or Piero Manzoni’s ironic provocation artist shit (1961), a tin can containing the artist’s faeces which he sold for its weight in gold.
But after its one-day exhibition, where will Castello’s Cube go next? The artist’s team has so far remained silent on this subject. One thing is certain, however: Central Park has become much more bling-bling.
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