Would you trade a Picasso for NFTs? The Museum of Modern Art could – Ledger Insights
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) received an endowment from the William S. Paley Foundation (Paley) to fund digital media activities and digital art acquisitions, potentially NFTs. Since Paley’s death in 1990, 81 works have been loaned to MoMa. From now on, 29 pieces belonging to the Paley Foundation will be auctioned by Sotheby’s.
The sale, including works by Picasso and Francis Bacon, could bring in $70 million for the endowment. As the museum focuses on digital art, this suggests MoMA could jump on the NFT moving train.
“We are aware that we lend an imprimatur when we acquire pieces,” said MoMA director Glenn Lowry. Therefore, MoMA did not purchase NFTs initially to prevent an endorsement from appearing. “But that doesn’t mean we should avoid the estate,” he told the the wall street journal.
There is a bit of irony here with a Picasso being potentially sold to buy NFTs. Tron founder Justin Sun outbid at the famous Beeple NFT auction. So Christie’s sold him a real Picasso In place.
William S. Paley is known for transforming CBS from a small radio network into a media powerhouse. And he had been a MoMA trustee since 1937.
“I know how much my friend Bill Paley cared about the Museum of Modern Art and how dedicatedly he devoted himself to its advancement,” said Henry Kissinger, who chairs the William S. Paley Foundation. “With this initiative, the Foundation will honor his intent and continue his vision for MoMA.”
While exchanging a Picasso for a collection of pixels may seem odd, there are many reasons why MoMA should pursue a digital future strategy.
First, its number of visitors has fallen sharply, from 3 million per year to 1.65 million last year. Even taking the pandemic into account, that’s a significant drop. On the other hand, he was very successful on social networks.
Digital content posted on its website and social media platforms has attracted more than 35 million people. The museum must find new ways to reach a wider audience to ensure its sustainability. Venturing into NFTs and digital art applications would be one such method.
A MoMA metaverse has the potential to bring art to a much wider audience than a physical exhibit.
MoMA has so far taken a cautious approach to NFTs. Apart from contributing data to the algorithmically generated works by artist Refik Anadol, he is not involved in any other NFT projects. Considering that NFTs have revolutionized the way consumers interact with digital art and artistic expression, it is crucial that MoMA develop its expertise in NFTs. After all, the museum literally focuses on modern art.
The NFT market is dominated by profile pictures like Bored Apes, sports and games. However, computer-generated art collection ArtBlocks ranks fifth in cumulative sales of $1.3 billion, according to CryptoSlam.
Sotheby’s involvement is relevant, as auction houses have played a key role in the evolution of NFTs. Sotheby’s famous at auction Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for $24 million. And Christie’s the sale of the $69 million Beeple artwork was one of the main triggers for the NFT boom.
Although this sale does not revive the NFT market, it could be a breath of fresh air for MoMA.