The huge cube weighing 186 kilograms and made of pure 24-karat gold was the artwork of German artist Niclas Castello.
Visitors to Central Park were stunned and left in awe last week after seeing a giant block of gold sitting in the middle of the park one morning. No, it wasn't a hallucination. Right in the middle of the park was a huge cube weighing 186 kilograms and made of pure 24-karat gold. It might sound like a recruiting exercise for 'Ocean's 11' team but it's actually the work of German artist Niclas Castello and it's valued at $11.7 million. Castello had it specially made to represent something that was beyond something people could imagine. “[The work] is a conceptual work of art in all its facets.” He said the idea was to “create something that is beyond our world — that is intangible,” Castello told ArtNews in a statement. He had purchased the gold at $1,788 per ounce. He has also hired a separate security team to watch over the artwork at Central Park.
The box was on display at the park’s Naumburg Bandshell venue. The box measured just over a foot and a half on all sides and is a quarter-inch thick. Castello also released a cryptocurrency in his name alongside the cube, calling it the Castello coin. He added that it will be traded as $CAST and will be available able for purchase online at $0.44 each. An NFT auction will be held on February 21. Gallerist Lisa Kandlhofer described the cube "as a sort of communiqué between an emerging 21st-century cultural ecosystem based on crypto and the ancient world where gold reigned supreme.”
Niclas Castello, German artist unveiled an $11.7 million “Gold Cube” in Central Park Goes Viral pic.twitter.com/m9ZgyUoHEo— TheRecentTimes (@Recent_Times) February 4, 2022
Castello said the box couldn't just be made but he had to have a special oven designed just to hold that huge block of gold. The cube was cast at a foundry in Aarau, Switzerland, and required a handmade kiln. Making and molding such a huge block also meant that they needed extremely high temperatures to get the box done. The temperatures went as high up as 1,100 degrees Celsius. At the time of writing this article, the artwork was scheduled to be unveiled at a private dinner on Wall Street.
Castello was born in 1978 in East Germany and is known for contemporary works of art as well as street and pop art. He now lives in New York and Switzerland. Castello's works have been heavily influenced by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, some of his other works are inspired by the neo-expressionism era of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The cube is not for sale and it remains to be seen what happens to the cube after the exhibition. Many users criticized the artwork, stating that using such wealth to flaunt in the middle of the park at a time when everyone was going through a financial and health crisis was cruel if anything. Some accused the artist of using the gold cube as a marketing stunt to promote his cryptocurrency. “The German artist Niclas Castello is, of course, launching a cryptocurrency alongside the physical work. I was just thinking to myself the other day. Do you know the world doesn’t have enough of? Cryptocurrencies," wrote one user.