Are NFTs dead or poised for an institution-led revival? The latter could very well be possible, as evidenced by a groundbreaking NFT exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In a recent interview with the Art Newspaper, Noah Davis, brand lead for Yuga Labs, recently emphasized the importance of this event, saying that it signals a shift in the art world as museums increasingly recognize the potential of blockchain technology and NFTs.

The exhibition, “NFT: The Poetics of the Immaterial from Certification to Blockchain,” runs until January 22, 2024, and features 18 blockchain-related works acquired by the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou.

This first-of-its-kind acquisition by a major French public museum stems from a collaboration between the French Ministry of Culture’s scientific and administrative teams and Pompidou’s director, Xavier Rey. The exhibition aims to explore the diverse artistic cultures within the Web3 landscape, bridging the digital world of crypto art with contemporary art and the decentralized economy.

Davis, formerly of Christie’s, played a key role in bringing NFTs to prominence with the sale of Beeple’s digital work “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” in March 2021. This landmark auction marked the first time Christie’s accepted cryptocurrency for a work of art and the first standalone NFT sale by an auction house. The piece sold for an impressive $60.3 million ($69.3 million with fees).

As Yuga Labs’ brand lead, creators of the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs and owners of the CryptoPunks collection, Davis focuses on identifying “museum-grade” Punks for donation to institutions. He believes that blockchain technology holds the key to validating truth and envisions a future where NFT-based certificates of authenticity become standard.

Despite the NFT sector’s recent decline in sales volume and the collapse of many marketplaces, Davis remains optimistic about its future. He emphasizes the value of NFTs for artists, allowing them to manage their supply transparently and connect directly with their collectors. As Yuga Labs engages in discussions with museums worldwide, the Centre Pompidou exhibition could mark the beginning of a new chapter for blockchain and NFTs in the art world.


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