LACMA Art Museum Acquires NFT Collection With CryptoPunk, Art Blocks

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LACMA Art Museum Acquires NFT Collection With CryptoPunk, Art Blocks
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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the latest major art museum to add NFT artwork to its collection, announcing today that it has acquired a series of notable and valuable NFT pieces through donations from notable collectors.

LACMA accepted a donation of 22 tokenized digital artwork pieces from the pseudonymous Cozomo de’ Medici, a well-known Crypto Twitter personality. The collection includes CryptoPunks NFT #3831, which was last sold for $2.1 million worth of ETH in 2021.

It also features NFTs from Art Blocks, a popular platform that features artwork generated by algorithms deployed on a blockchain network. Art Blocks works from Dmitri Cherniak’s “Ringers” and Monica Rizzolli’s “Fragments of an Infinite Field” projects are included in the set.

Other notable creators whose NFT art was donated to LACMA in the set include noted photographer Justin Aversano, World of Women artist and creator Yam Karkai, and Claire Silver and Pindar Van Arman—both known for using AI as a tool for generating NFT artwork.

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LACMA described the donation from de’ Medici—a collector that has been linked to rapper Snoop Dogg, also a major player in the Web3 world—as the largest collection of blockchain artwork acquired to date by an American art museum.

Interestingly, the LACMA announcement avoids prominently using the term “NFT,” which stands for non-fungible token. The acronym has a stigma amongst some Web3 skeptics and mainstream audiences, and some brands have opted to avoid it. Online discussion platform Reddit, for example, calls its NFTs “Collectible Avatars.”

In an interview with ArtNews, de’ Medici said that he and LACMA intentionally opted to call it “blockchain art” or “on-chain art” (or similar) to avoid the controversial NFT tag. “The term NFT has a stigma attached to it, so we’ve stepped away from it,” he told the publication.

LACMA is the latest major art museum to add NFTs to its collection. On Friday, Centre Pompidou in Paris announced donations of a CryptoPunk and an Autoglyphs NFT, which were contributed by Yuga Labs and Larva Labs, respectively. Yuga also donated a CryptoPunk to Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art last November.

In addition to the collection described above, LACMA has also acquired a number of other donated NFTs, including a Chromie Squiggle from artist Erick “Snowfro” Calderon, the founder of Art Blocks, as well as an NFT from Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory. Calderon told ArtNews that his donated NFT will be the final Chromie Squiggle minted in the 10,000-piece collection.

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