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#Tezpole: How an Art Basel Error Became a Charming Crypto Meme

Last Updated December 11, 2023 5:53 PM
Josh Adams
Last Updated December 11, 2023 5:53 PM
Key Takeaways
  • December’s Art Basel in Miami had a very crypto moment this year.
  • An art installation at a Tezos community event sparked an initial round of criticism.
  • However, a charming explosion of memes proved even more enduring.

An embarrassing art installation mishap sparked an endearing meme frenzy at the Tezos (XTZ) community’s Art Basel adjacent event in Miami last week. What originally began as an underwhelming display unexpectedly provoked an outpouring of creativity – and good laughs to boot.

Tezpole: A Shoddy Display Becomes A Meme

The Tezos art show  itself was shaping up to be a success, with good attendance, 50 featured artists and over 600 attendees mingling for panels, poetry, and music in a hotel along South Beach, Miami. Behind the scenes, however, event producer Refraction  faced technical difficulties setting up screens in the lobby, leaving a column cluttered with wires and television screens haphazardly hung across them. 

Needless to say, the shoddy presentation did not go unnoticed.

Tezos doing it big this year,” posted Nicholas Dimes (sarcastically) on Thursday, sharing a photo of the clumsy arrangement. The post immediately went viral as others chimed in to poke fun at the odd assembly.

The curators weren’t exactly happy about it. Refraction complained  that the post didn’t “represent the entire show and the amazing community that showed up to support.” Refraction later apologized, explaining uncontrollable conditions had limited their options for the lobby. But the damage was already done, the wires and screens now cemented as the event’s unofficial mascot.

“The Most Iconic Photo”

Rather than stew over the organizational flub, the wider Tezos (and web3) community chose to embrace it. “This is the most iconic photo from Art Basel Miami 2023,” proclaimed  influential art figure DeeZe on Thursday, adding more momentum to the viral meme . (You can see some of our favorites here , here , and here )

Hundreds flooded social media with creative interpretations of “Tezpole,” as it was dubbed, across NFT (non-fungible token) artwork, photography, video, and more. Artists playfully incorporated the haphazard column into lo-fi parodies, historical twists, and colorful reinterpretations. Over 500 unique Tezpole-themed NFTs had sold as of Monday morning (UTC).

The chatter online also translated into a positive price movement for Tezos (XTZ) which saw a 10% rally over the course of Art Basel. Sadly, all of the gains have since been wiped out thanks to a modest Monday dip.

A Good Humored Response from Tezos

Luckily, the Tezos Foundation could see the funny side. In a Monday statement posted to X, applauded  the community’s imaginative response. “We saw the outburst from community members and can assure you lessons have been learned so that these mistakes are not repeated,” the statement read.

“We also saw a response that defied imagination… It has inspired us as I hope it has inspired you all.” 

After all, the saga proves an eternal truth: the funniest things often happen by accident.

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