The Centre Pompidou, the largest modern art museum in Europe and home to France’s National Museum of Modern Art, has announced plans for a new exhibition examining the relationship between art and blockchain technology. This exhibition will feature NFT works from prominent projects such as CryptoPunks and Autoglyphs, along with works from 12 other digital artists.
This marks the first time that Centre Pompidou has accepted NFTs into its collection, which already boasts masterpieces by groundbreaking artists such as Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and Vassily Kandinsky, among others. The upcoming exhibition will showcase 16 NFT works from a diverse array of artists from around the world.
“Seeing CryptoPunk #110 displayed in the Centre Pompidou, arguably the world’s most prestigious contemporary art museum, is a great moment for the Web3 and NFT ecosystem, and we’re honored to help drive this cultural conversation,” said Greg Solano, co-founder of Yuga Labs, in a statement. Yuga, the owner of the CryptoPunks IP, donated the NFT to the museum through its Punks Legacy Project. This initiative aims to place CryptoPunks in prominent museums globally and began with the donation of CryptoPunk #305 to Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art in November.
CryptoPunks, minted on the Ethereum blockchain, are one of the most popular NFT collections and consist of 10,000 digital characters. These NFTs are commonly used as profile pictures and have garnered widespread popularity in the crypto space. According to CoinGecko, the cheapest CryptoPunk can be purchased for 63 ETH, which is approximately $95,000. Despite the ongoing bear market, CryptoPunks have continued to sell for millions of dollars each.
Autoglyphs, on the other hand, are much rarer. This generative art project from Larva Labs, the creator of CryptoPunks, features only 512 NFTs and is built on the Ethereum blockchain. The current floor price for Autoglyphs is a staggering 249 ETH, or over $377,000. Larva Labs donated the piece to Centre Pompidou for the upcoming exhibition.
While NFT projects have attracted significant capital, some in the art community have criticized the medium for lacking artistic legitimacy. In response to this, Yuga Labs—the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection—emphasized the artistic merit of NFT projects in a statement, “Partnering with Centre Pompidou, one of the most iconic contemporary art museums in the world, signifies that CryptoPunks are rightfully being recognized as an important art movement by the industry.”
The Centre Pompidou’s exhibition will not only showcase CryptoPunk #110 but also delve into the complexity of NFT experimentations. The museum stated, “With this new acquisition, it is less a question of taking an interest in the pop cultural phenomenon of ‘collectibles’ (these collections of images sold as NFTs, such as the Bored Apes or the CryptoPunks), than of exploring the boldest uses of this technology.” The exhibition will also feature NFTs from artists such as Jonas Lund, Rafael Rozendaal, and Jill Magid and will provide a unique perspective on the intersection of art and blockchain technology.