MoMA Makes History Acquiring Refik Anadol’s A.I. Generated Tokenized (NFT) Art to Their Permanent Collection
Anadol’s “Unsupervised” Blends AI, Blockchain and MoMA’s Archives into an Immersive Artistic Experience
TL;DR: MoMA recently acquired generative AI artwork “Unsupervised” by Refik Anadol, marking the museum’s first addition of a tokenized digital artwork (NFT) to its permanent collection. Supported by major donors, the acquisition highlights MoMA’s continued engagement with emerging technologies as new creative tools. “Unsupervised” uses AI to reinterpret MoMA’s archives into an evolving audiovisual experience, also featuring an NFT collection. This pioneering move pushes boundaries by integrating blockchain and AI to inspire new forms of artistic expression.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has cemented its role in history, embracing digital art by acquiring Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised – Machine Hallucinations” as the first ever tokenized artwork for its permanent collection.
This historic acquisition was made possible through the generous support of benefactors from the RFC Collection, spearheaded by Pablo Rodríguez-Fraile and Desiree Casoni, and 1of1, led by Ryan Zurrer.
“Unsupervised” utilizes artificial intelligence to reinterpret over 200 years of works from MoMA’s extensive archives. Anadol designed a sophisticated machine learning model to analyze and extract unique visual patterns from the museum’s digitized collection. The AI then generates an ever-evolving audiovisual experience displayed on a 24-foot tall high-definition screen in the lobby. The imagery and sound react dynamically to changes in the environment, creating a living artwork that immerses audiences.
The exhibition has enthralled record crowds since its debut last November. Its extension until October 29 will allow even more patrons to experience this futuristic reinvention of MoMA’s artistic heritage.
Beyond its physical manifestation, “Unsupervised” also features an accompanying NFT collection, innovatively bridging virtual and physical realms. MoMA visitors can mint a free NFT memento tied to the exhibition by scanning a QR code onsite.
With this trailblazing acquisition, MoMA reaffirms its commitment to “support artists who experiment with emerging technologies to expand their visual vocabularies and creative exploration,” said Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design.
This milestone demonstrates the tremendous potential of artificial intelligence as a creative tool that can build upon our cultural legacies to inspire new forms of expression. It ushers in a promising future where AI and blockchain technologies are seamlessly integrated into the artistic process, institutions, and appreciation of art.