Museums and NFTs: between purchases and donations

    Museums and NFTs: between purchases and donations

    More and more major museums around the world are acquiring NFTs, digital artworks and Crypto Art. The latest to take the plunge are LACMA in Los Angeles and the Center Pompidou in Paris.

    The month of February turned out to be the most important for the entry of NFTs into museums:

    in fact, within a few weeks of each other, there are two large institutions that announce with conviction the acquisition or the important donations of Crypto Arte and Non Fungible Token.

    Objective: to expand the permanent collection and organize exhibitions and dissemination events on a world yet to be discovered.

    If in the field of Publishing and Web3 excellent research projects have been carried out on the movement of Crypto Art and its protagonists, first of all ” CRYPTO ART – Begins ” born from an idea of The NFT Magazine and published by Rizzoli, the large museum institutions have slowly approached.

    But now the tide seems to have changed.

    There are 5 major museums that have chosen to welcome NFT works donated by collectors or acquired by institutions in their art collections. Let’s find out who they are

    Dmitri Cherniak, Ringers #962, 2021, .JPG delivered as an NFT, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, promised gift of The Cozomo de’ Medici Collection,


    It is February 13, 2023 when the Los Angeles County Museum officially announces that it has received the donation of NFT works created on the Blockchain Ethereum network .

    Works by 13 artists from around the world make up the donated core, and together they tell a “representative story of the Crypto Art movement , according to the museum’s announcement. Included are works by Justin Aversano, Cai Guo-Qiang , Dmitri Cherniak , Claire Silver, Neil Strauss, Monica Rizzolli , Matt DesLauriers , Adam Swaab , and Pindar Van Arman .

    In addition to the donation from collector Cozomo de’ Medici , the LACMA Museum announced that the museum’s Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of 15 other works on Blockchain, including a John Gerrard Western Flag NFT and a Rocket Series NFT Factory by Tom Sachs, leading LACMA to own 37 NFT works.


    The Center Pompidou has announced the acquisition of a series of 18 NFTs by 13 leading French and international artists. The works will become part of France’s national collection of modern and contemporary art.

    The acquisition, the first by a major French public museum, is the result of a joint effort between the scientific and administrative teams of the French Ministry of Culture and the director of the Pompidou, Xavier Rey.

    The Web3 is innovative territory that artists have now exploited to create original and bold work,” says Rey, “and this collection reaffirms our support for artists in their conquest of new means of expression, which is the foundation of art modern .” Artists whose NFTs have been acquired by the Pompidou are Aaajiao, Emilie Brout and Maxime Marion, Claude Closky, Fred Forest, John Gerrard, Agnieszka Kurant, Jonas Lund, Larva Labs, Jill Magid, Sarah Meyohas, Robness, Rafael Rozendaal and John F Simon Jr.


    In 2021 the Institute of Contemporary Art of Miami announces the acquisition of the NFT CryptoPunk 5293 , the first work of Crypto Art to become part of a museum collection, thanks to the donation of Eduardo Burillo , a member of the ICA Miami Trustee.

    Cryptopunks represent innovation in art, identity and cultural archive . I am so pleased to support the experimentation in ICA Miami’s collection by contributing an important work that captures contemporary discourse and the evolution of artistic practice, ” said Eduardo Burillo , ICA Miami Trustee .

    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 foster 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 , ” added ICA Miami Artistic Director Alex Gartenfeld .

    Still from Lynn Hershman Leeson‘s artwork


    San Francisco’s MoMA has acquired its first NFT, a work entitled “ Final Transformation #2” by artist Lynn Hershman Leeson .

    The final work Transformation #2 is a clip from Leeson ‘s 1997 film “ Conceiving Ada,” starring actress Tilda Swinton as mathematician Ada Lovelace , who wrote the first computer program in the 19th century .

    Christopher Bedford , Director of MoMA San Francisco said: “These recent acquisitions represent an incredible range of artistic vision and capture SFMOMA’s commitment to collecting works by artists from around the world. I am grateful to the SFMOMA curatorial team for their vision and ongoing dedication to expanding the voices and narratives represented in our collection .”

    Installation view of Refik Anadol: Unsupervised, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, November
    19, 2022–March 5, 2023. Photo: Robert Gerhardt. Digital image © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art


    There is still no talk of acquisition for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but there is a great willingness to use part of the budget raised at auctions of works of art for the purpose of purchasing NFT works. In the meantime, the New York temple of modern and contemporary art paves the way through an expert curatorial team led by Michelle Kuo and Paola Antonelli, events dedicated to the dissemination and knowledge of the NFT world, as well as the creation of major exhibitions.

    The latest is Unsupervised which featured the work of the digital artist Refik Anadol, running until March 5, 2023.


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