Virtual: NFTs: Putting the fun in non-fungible tokens–Episode 1: Origin Stories 10/20 @ 5PM

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NFTs: Putting the fun in non-fungible tokens will take participants on a journey that explores how blockchain’s impact on the art market has something much broader to teach us about what we value and how we create. Learn from experts about the history of NFTs and why the NFT phenomenon has the potential to upend systems of artistic production, ownership, collecting, and audience engagement with art. Lead sponsorship of this program is provided by Sotheby’s.

Nora Burnett Abrams, MCA Denver Mark G. Falcone Director, and Amy Whitaker, leading blockchain researcher and Assistant Professor in visual arts administration at New York University’s Steinhardt School, will host four one-hour episodes, each inviting a variety of experts and practitioners including blockchain inventors, researchers, artists, collectors, museum professionals, and market specialists.  

Each episode is free to attend. Absolutely no prior understanding of blockchain or NFTs is necessary to enjoy this program.

Episode 1: Origin Stories - October 20, 2021

The recent NFT phenomenon is widely acknowledged but little understood. With this series, we ask...How can we put a frame around this phenomenon? 

In episode one participants will learn how and why the blockchain was invented in the first place, how it emerged from a knowledge story not a money story, and how we can view blockchain as a still evolving art project unto itself. In this episode, Abrams and Whitaker will build an understanding of the timeline of blockchain technology from creation to today, define what an NFT is, and open the questions for now NFTs might change entrenched power structures in the art world, inviting artists into new forms of economic sustainability, and influence how we think about ownership and value in the larger world. 

This is episode one in a series of four.

WATCH WHEN YOU WANT

This event will be livestreamed at the listed time (5PM MT) on YouTube, but will be available to watch on-demand any time after it begins.

PAY WHAT YOU WANT

If you have the means, please consider contributing $5-$15 to your ticket purchase. (We would normally charge $10 for this event if it were taking place in person.) Just hit the “Pay What You Want” dropdown to select a ticket price.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Amy Whitaker is a leading blockchain researcher in the arts and assistant professor in visual arts administration at New York University’s Steinhardt School. Her research explores the frictions between art and markets and proposes pioneering systems of economic support for artists using fractional equity and blockchain. Her academic papers have appeared in major journals such as Management Science and the International Journal of Cultural Policy. Her work on Equity for Artists was a finalist in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Competition. Her research has been cited in the Financial Times, Time Magazine, Fast Company, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Harper’s, and many others. She the author of three books including Museum Legs, Art Thinking, and the forthcoming Economics of Visual Art. She holds an MBA from Yale and an MFA from University College London. She has worked on blockchain as an advisor to the company Bitmark since 2014. Her profile of Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta, the researchers whose 1991 paper is cited in the Bitcoin white paper, was published in the Wall Street Journal.

Nora Burnett Abrams is the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Mark G. Falcone Director. Prior to this role, she was the museum’s chief curator, responsible for its exhibition program and special artists’ projects. Her career began at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked on the Sol LeWitt on the Roof and Robert Rauschenberg: Combines exhibitions. Since arriving in Denver in 2010, she has organized over 35 exhibitions and authored or contributed over a dozen accompanying publications. Recent projects highlighting unusual or unknown episodes in artists’ careers, including Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation (2019), Basquiat Before Basquiat (2017), as well as the first survey of Senga Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. sculptures (2014). She has taught at New York University and lectured throughout the country on contemporary art. She holds art history degrees from Stanford University (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.), and a Ph.D. from the New York University Institute of Fine Arts.