Miles Jaffe Would Like To Sell You The Brooklyn Bridge

AUGUST 03, 2021

Art O Meter - Miles Jaffe

Miles Jaffe always wears a mischievous grin. He’s a bad ass. And he’s always thinking up the next bit of artistic anarchy.

His latest is a “Conceptual Web Experience” called etherbay. It’s an imaginary website parody of modern art, culture, and Bitcoin. At etherbay you can “bid” on Hunter Biden’s Blow Art, fake moon photographs, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Ark of the Covenant, or a banana duct-taped to a wall.

This guy is funny. And that’s an art. So far, eBay is in on the joke, or at least hasn’t sent a cease and desist order. But the Bridgehampton graphic artist who brought us the Hamptons Dictionary (definitions include MegaCottage and Privet Sector) and in 2001 broke the internet for a moment with would probably welcome a bunch of corporate lawyers telling him to shut up.

Artiste - Miles Jaffe

He opened up for us in his sprawling Bridgehampton studio.

What was the inspiration for etherbay?

It was a reaction to the insanity of the world we live in, particularly the economics. I was inspired by the Christie’s Beeple auction that sold an NFT [non-fungible token] for $69 million dollars. ‘N-F-T’ should stand for ‘Nothing For Trade,’ because what are you buying?

I think lot of people are asking that.

Right, what are you getting? A digital certificate. There’s nothing tangible. The power goes out when whatever you bought is gone. Right? (Laughs) I mean we’ve reached the point where we have “virtual economics for virtual reality.”

I was talking to an art dealer and we were trying to figure out why this thing sold for $69 million at auction at Christie’s. Nobody is talking about what a magnificent piece of work it is. It’s all a promotion for crypto-currency. It’s not a Picasso, it’s a digital file and it’s all over the internet and anyone can have it. I wanted to expose that.

You have a lot of political in-jokes on etherbay. Should all art be political?

It depends on the artist. Some artists just make decorative work. Clausewitz said “War is just a continuation of politics by other means.” What he didn’t say is that politics is a continuation of economics by other means. It’s all economics.

So are you a politician, artist, economist, or all three?

I’m a compassionate human being, so when I did projects like the Hamptons Dictionary or Nuke The Hamptons I was trying to call attention to bad behavior. Now I’m just trying to call attention to the utter insanity of what’s going on in the world.

Some of the ‘bids’ on etherbay are in the millions. Congratulations.

(Laughs) Yeah, except I’m not selling anything. I’m not buying anything. It’s a statement basically. Everything is for sale. If you want to buy a Standard and Poors Triple A rating, that’s been done and we had the great mortgage crisis. If you want to buy FDA approval for your ‘miracle drug,’ that happens all the time. Things that aren’t supposed to be for sale are for sale. Politicians, legislation. You want a kidney? You can buy a kidney. I don’t know what you can’t buy at this point. Maybe happiness.

etherbay would have a celebrity kidney.

(Laughs) At a premium price, no doubt. And we take Bitcoin.

Will there ever be a Miles Jaffe NFT?


Can we hold you to that?

(Laughs) No problem.

Jaffe’s actual physical works hang in museums and galleries around the world. And in his other “hang” is at Java Nation Coffee in Bridgehampton.

They don’t take bitcoin.


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