In recent months, artists, collectors and professionals from the traditional art world have been constantly questioning the artistic value of Crypto Art and NFTs. Many are wondering how they can be collected and exhibited.
As far as collecting is concerned, the answer is simple and straightforward: all you need is a wallet and a lot of ETH. But while this answer is valid for the private collector, it is certainly not true for traditional museums.
On metaverses like Decentraland, Somnium Space or Arium, amongst the most widely used, entire museums can be built to house hundreds of thousands of crypto art pieces, but this is not necessarily the case for physical museums, which do not always have the resources to add new pieces to their collections.
The match between art museums and NFTs is possible, and here are the cases that prove it.
Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami acquired the NFT Cryptopunk 5293
This is not an actual acquisition through the NFT platform, but a donation made by the museum’s Trustee Eduardo Burillo, and thanks to him the museum will be able to exhibit the work in a few weeks, reflecting the institution’s commitment to promoting broader experimentation and understanding of contemporary art.
CryptoPunk 5293 is one of 10,000 unique 24-by-24 pixel icons created in 2017 by the Larva Labs collective as one of the first sets of NFTs ever offered for exchange on the Ethereum blockchain. Inspired by British punk rock culture, CryptoPunks are designed to look like “misfits and non-conformists”, according to their creators. Each has its own unique combination of features randomly generated by a software algorithm. CryptoPunk 5293 is one of 3,840 female punks.
ICA Miami artistic director Alex Gartenfeld commented on the donation as follows:
“Larva Labs challenged and revolutionized our understanding of the meaning of art objects and ownership when they pioneered the creation of some of the first-ever NFTs in 2017. In doing so, they helped launch a ‘cryptoart’ movement that is emblematic of the ways in which our digital and physical worlds are merging and becoming inextricably intertwined, influencing contemporary art and culture in myriad ways. ICA Miami’s collection represents the most urgent and pioneering art and ideas of the present moment, across cultures and mediums, as well as historical works that influence art production today. CryptoPunk 5293 joins the ICA Miami collection as a work that is truly representative of the cultural zeitgeist and will have historical significance for generations to come, reflecting ICA Miami’s commitment to fostering an expansive understanding of contemporary art and cultural production in the 21st century. We are enormously grateful for Eduardo Burillo’s extraordinary vision and generosity with this historic gift to the museum”.
The Hermitage Museum in Russia raises funds thanks to NFTs
On the other side of the world from Miami, news has spread that the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is considering issuing NFTs for works of art from its rich collection and is discussing the possibilities with the Binance platform.
The museum’s management expects the tokens to bring in additional funding, provided that the Russian authorities do not tax NFTs according to current regulations on digital assets.
Indeed, for the Hermitage to issue its tokens, Russian legislation may require some clarification. Marina Tsyguleva, head of the museum’s legal department, said that this type of token could be excluded from the scope of regulations on digital assets, as proposed by the Russian Central Bank.
All that remains is to wait for further developments on the issue, but there is also turmoil in the world of museums.