The $11.7 Million Gold Cube That Graced Central Park This Winter Makes a Flash Appearance in Venice

Apr 21, 2022

The German artist Niclas Castello, who made his name when he plunked a 400-pound cube made of nearly $12 million worth of gold in the middle of Central Park in February, is now showing the 24-karat sculpture at the Ca’di Dio Hotel in Venice in a quick appearance until 8:00 pm CET today, April 21.

Alongside its Venetian debut, the physical bling is accompanied by a cryptocurrency, Castello Coin ($CAST), which launched earlier this week on the Bittrex exchange. The coin is currently trading at about $.16 USD, backed by the Swiss private equity firm HoGA Capital. 

“The Coin acts as a bridge between the traditional world of finance… and the new world, the world of cryptocurrencies and the digital age,” according to a statement from the artist.

The Castello Cube getting offboarded for show in Venice. Photo: Sandra Small.

“It’s the first project to be funded in such a manner, meant to act as a catalyst between a physical art work and a crypto-currency,” he added. “We want everyone to experience it first-hand.” 

Set against the backdrop of the oldest and most important biennale in the world, the Castello Cube has predictably drawn the attention of many onlookers, including the art-world denizen and meme-lord Jerry Gogosian, who made several memes of the first iteration of the work in Central Park. 

“The cube feels like a zombie love child between Donald Judd and Andy Warhol, an uneasy reminder of just how financialized contemporary art has become,” Gogosian told Artnet News.

Others, however, seemed genuinely intrigued by the cube’s relationship to crypto, and the newfound potential of art works that live both on and offline. 

Niclas Castello with the Castello Cube. Photo: Sandra Small.

“The cube plays with the juxtaposition between tangible and intangible assets,” said curator Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, who founded the NFT and crypto-art advisory firm Electric Artefacts. “It effectively seizes the memes of production, which I think is important in staging any successful drop.” 

Cast in a foundry in Aarau, Switzerland, the Castello Cube became a meme sensation after its 12-hour public display in Central Park this past February, eventually leading to a skit on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

A romp through La Serenissima seems apt. In Venice, among the gently swaying gilded gondolas and miraculously ornate fixtures of gold leaf inside St. Mark’s Basilica, the everlasting bond between the city and gold goes back centuries. The Castello Cube, in all its newfound radiance, seems to exemplify Venice’s unending preoccupation for all that glitters.