SFOMA Acquires Its First NFT

NFT has been purchased for the first time by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The sculpture was purchased for $9,000 by an unidentified winning bidder.

The NFT received 62 other items, including paintings by Wayne Thiebaud, Sky Hopinka, and Cindy Sherman.

For the SFMOMA’s 2022 Art Bash Auction, Altman Sigel Gallery and Hershman Lesson contributed one of the two thrilling versions of the artwork. The proceeds from this annual live auction go toward the museum’s academic and outreach initiatives. Town and Country reported that an anonymous winning bidder paid $9,000 for the artwork. In an email to Artnews, an SFMOMA spokesperson confirmed that Leeson recently gave the institution the other edition.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s curator of media arts, Rudolf Frieling, stated in a statement before last year’s Art Bash that “this imaginative film about the heritage of Ada Lovelace, a mathematician who designed the very first computer code in the nineteenth century, was filmed nearly thirty years ago yet resonates now with the notion of NFTs.” “With the technology available, each generation reinvents itself.” We are currently seeing a revolution where artificial intelligence, NFTs, and DNA drive a new language for storing and communicating information. 

With the NFT boom of 2021 shining a spotlight on new media artists, Hershman Leeson, a Bay Area-based artist who has been exploring the relationship between humans and machines in his art since the 1960s, has recently attracted new interest. Hershman Leeson’s photographs and Room #8 (2006–18), a multimedia piece with a vial of synthetic DNA, are already in the SFMOMA collection.

Along with the NFT, 62 other works were purchased, including works by Cindy Sherman, Wayne Thiebaud, and Sky Hopinka. The New Red Order, Yolanda Andrade, and Emi Anrakuj are just a few of the 18 new acquisitions made by artists who weren’t previously represented at the museum.

A press release from SFMOMA stated, “We are proud of these new acquisitions and are committed to collecting works by artists from the region and around the world.” As a curator, I am deeply grateful for SFMOMA’s commitment to expanding our collection’s voices and narratives.