Until then, the institution was reluctant. But now three serious museums showcase the work of two high-profile digital artists working with NFTs. Remember that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are digital ownership certificates that are permanently and securely registered on the blockchain (encrypted information storage technology). They are considered the ideal solution to the reproducibility problem for digital creation. In March 2021, American Beeple (born 1981) made headlines by selling a compilation of 5,000 images of his digital creations at Christie’s for the equivalent of $ 69 million.
In 2021 he created what is called a “figital” work (both digital and physical): in a sort of oscillating aquarium, composed of four rectangular screens, “Human One” depicts an astronaut about to walk in an environment in perpetual metamorphosis, remotely controlled by its author. The work, exhibited at Castello di Rivoli, in the province of Turin, evokes Giacometti’s “The Walking Man” in his imaginary. It appears next to a portrait of Francis Bacon from 1956-1957 and not far from a futuristic work by Giacomo Balla from 1915.
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who is at the helm of the Piedmontese museum, firmly believes in it: “In Bacon’s painting, as in Beeple’s sculpture, there is a kind of existential box in which the character is contained. Do you think Andy Warhol was accepted when he introduced his Campbell’s Soup Cans? “
At the Center Pompidou-Metz, in the central nave, the director, Chiara Parisi, will soon exhibit “Machine hallucinations, dream of nature”, a work accompanied by an NFT which takes the form of a gigantic installation by the Turkish artist based in Los Angeles Refik Anadol (born 1985): 100 m2 moving images composed of a synthesis of public data on nature, recomposed using artificial intelligence.
Last November, New York’s MoMA already involved Anadol on its site, but without buying a piece or giving it a physical space in the museum. “Deploying technology in an unprecedented direction, justifies Michelle Kuo, curator of MoMA. We are looking for a new audience. “
At Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, not far from the sublime exhibition dedicated to the Renaissance sculptor Donatello, there is also a Beeple and an Anadol. Visitors are mesmerized by the latter, which plays in sinuosity with the illusions of depth and matter. “We want to show new things”, concludes the director Arturo Galansino, who however is not ready to commit himself to the future of the careers of the two artists.