A new museum dedicated to NFTs is opening in Seattle this month, providing a physical home for a famously dematerialized art form.
The Seattle NFT Museum (SNFTM), as the new space is called, boasts 30 custom-designed screens to display digital art and other collectibles. Programming will rotate, save for one permanent presentation: an exhibition that introduces the concept of NFTs and their potential.
Indeed, NFT education is an essential component for founders Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton, married tech executives with little experience in the world of art.
“We’re not experts,” Wong said in a statement. “We’re here to learn as much as anyone. That is why we are counting on the feedback and support of NFT enthusiasts to continue growing the vision.”
Located in a storefront in the trendy neighborhood of Belltown (where Wong and Hamilton also live), the place looks more like a gallery than a traditional museum. In reality, it will exist somewhere in between those two poles, functioning like a nonprofit exhibition space.
Artworks on view at the SNFTM may be available for purchase, but the exhibition space won’t do the selling. Nor will it maintain a permanent collection or own any works of art; instead, the NFTs that are displayed will be done so via direct loans from artists and collectors. (Bonus: no complex shipping hurdles required!)
First up are examples from the collection of Seattle tech entrepreneur Aaron Bird, including artworks by Tyler Hobbs, Snowfro (née Erick Calderon), as well as various CryptoPunks. “Seeing the work of some of the world’s most exciting projects on display in a physical space is going to be wild,” the collector said.
Digital art has had a presence in museums for decades (net-art organization Rhizome, which is now under the umbrella of the New Museum, was founded in 1996). Apart from a few specialized galleries, however, traditional art institutions have not yet dipped their toes into displaying NFTs, which crash-landed into the art-world consciousness about a year ago.
“We started to visit our first NFT galleries a few months ago and started to see the dramatic effect it can have to see digital art live in person in full scale in a physical space and how that makes you think about the art and experience it in different ways,” Hamilton told the Seattle Times earlier this year.
“We believe that there was an opportunity to create a physical space that can show the breadth of art and technology that is being developed and that can explore new domains and categories and show the general public really how expansive this medium can be.”
In addition to the Bird collection, artworks by Blake Kathryn, Neon Saltwater, and Robbie Trevino will highlight the new museum’s inaugural opening starting January 27. Admission to the space costs $15 a ticket.
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