Anadol’s AI Masterpiece Debuts at NYC’s Prestigious MoMA


  • MoMA adds “Unsupervised—Machine Hallucinations” by Refik Anadol to its permanent collection.
  • The AI-generated artwork constantly evolves based on external factors, creating a dynamic experience.
  • Art critics debate the role of AI in art creation as “Unsupervised” garners mixed reactions.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City has recently added a captivating piece to its permanent collection: “Unsupervised—Machine Hallucinations” by renowned Turkish digital artist Refik Anadol. Ingeniously crafted by Anadol, this generative artwork utilizes artificial intelligence to reinterpret and recreate visuals based on over two centuries of art from the museum’s archives. Consequently, every glance at the piece reveals an ever-changing tapestry of audiovisuals influenced by the museum’s vast art catalog.

However, the unpredictability of “Unsupervised” doesn’t stop there. External factors like light variations, acoustics, movement, and even atmospheric conditions continually shape its appearance and auditory experience. This dynamic creation has drawn numerous visitors to the MoMA lobby, which will remain on display until October 29.

Despite the admiration from many, the artwork has sparked debates. Significantly, discussions have arisen about the role of AI in art creation and how museums should categorize such contemporary pieces. Noted art critic Jerry Saltz has described Anadol’s masterpiece as a “glorified lava lamp,” emphasizing the polarized reactions the piece has garnered.

Moreover, Anadol, in a recent tweet, highlighted that “Unsupervised” stands as the “first generative AI and tokenized artwork” to grace MoMA’s collection. Besides its AI accolades, “Unsupervised” has stepped into the realm of digital assets. Anadol has minted an accompanying Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collection for the piece. Additionally, museum visitors can mint a free NFT as a token of their experience by scanning a QR code near the artwork.

Beyond “Unsupervised,” MoMA has expanded its digital art portfolio. Recently, the museum acquired “3FACE” by American contemporary artist Ian Cheng. This unique artwork utilizes on-chain wallet data to represent participant personalities visually. To emphasize its commitment to the digital and blockchain sphere, MoMA launched an interactive project named “MoMA Postcard.”

In a statement, MoMA expressed its dedication to supporting artists who explore emerging technologies. These initiatives aim to amplify their creative pursuits and enhance the understanding of such transformative changes in our world.