Announced through its Press Room, the auction is inspired by TIME’s most iconic covers, including an original cover made for the occasion of the NFT auction.
TIME’s first-ever NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will be available on the NFT marketplace SuperRare, and will run until Wednesday, March 24 at midnight GMT. The sale comes at a time when NFTs have garnered mainstream media attention as art world institutions like Christie’s go on to sell digital works of contemporary art for millions of dollars.
The three NFTs are renditions inspired by iconic TIME covers, first of which is based on a 1966 cover which had an infamously blank canvas with a red for the typeface for the words “Is God Dead?” The cover, written by TIME’s religion editor John Elson, drew criticism from an audience that was predominantly Christian or religious, prompting a record 3,421 letters from the magazine’s readers. At the time, the company pulled out a lively debate and poll, wherein 97% of the respondents returned that they believed in God or a higher form of being.
The second NFT on auction is loosely based on the first one aforementioned, and makes a play on the original question. It asks, in the same format and typography, a topical question that’s probably burnin in the mind of many a crypto enthusiast: “Is Fiat Dead?”
The third NFT for sale is another variation of the question-set theme which TIME did in April of 2017. The cover aked: “Is Truth Dead?” The editor at the time, Nancy Gibbs, said wrote the following description: “[Just like] many said they believed in God in 1966, many today would say they believe in Truth, and yet we find ourselves having an intense debate over its role and power in the face of a President who treats it like a toy. What does he actually believe? Does it count as lying if he believes what he says?”
According to TIME, the intention behind these reflect the pressing issues which were addressed through the questions.
“I love the idea that it’s meaning isn’t clear to the casual viewer – much like the crazy, lucrative world of NFTs,” says TIME Creative Director D.W. Pine, who created the new “Is Fiat Dead?” cover. According to the publication, the typography used on the original cover was based on Bodoni Poster, designed by Chauncey H. Griffith in 1929.
“The bold contrasting strokes, strong verticality and easily recognizable serifs and ball terminals were perfectly suited for advertisements, posters and signs in the early 20th century. The typography on the two most recent covers needed to be hand drawn, as we could find no modern type foundry which has an exact interpretation of the one used on the original cover.” TIME said in the press announcement.
As a publication, TIME has been around for almost a century at 98 years, and these covers, which are also the first-ever covers to be sold off as NFTs, represents the publication’s desire to reflect the spirit of an age, and this age unfolding right before our eyes, is the age of crypto.