NFTs in the Museum

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NFTs: The Latest and Greatest Art Market Disruptor

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are all over the art market news as the first digital works of art are sold for hundreds to MILLIONS of dollars in traditional auction houses. But what exactly are NFTs, and how can they (or should they) fit into the museum space?

A handful of major art museums were cited as having their collections available for purchase as NFTs, however they neither gave their permission nor were involved in the “sale” of their collections or know anything about the revenues that will be supposedly given to the museum. This got me to thinking about how museums could leverage NFTs to better diversify their revenue stream, especially given the impact the pandemic has had on just that. It seems like a no-brainer to create a limited quantity of digital reproductions for certain works. But on the other hand, how might that impact institutional goals of equity and inclusivity?

 

Over recent years, museums have been putting their entire collections online. Throughout the past year given the pandemic, that has become more the norm than not. Additionally, some major institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago have created ultra access with open source digital collections. If museums start selling NFTs of their collections, will people even buy given that the digital version is available free? Is the stamp of certification for a digital recreation worth that much? Will creating one’s own digital art collection become the new “it thing”?

What have you thought or seen? Has your institution had talks on selling digital art reproductions? What about selling local digital artists works of art? What about exhibiting local digital artists’ NFTs? 

I really want to know what’s next, I’m completely fascinated…

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