Pandemic Aftermath or Trending Innovation?
February 7 - April 20, 2022

Exhibition will be online HERE on February 7.

The virtual exhibition NFTs: Pandemic Aftermath or Trending Innovation?— accessible online through St. John’s University’s Yeh Art Gallery website from February 7 to April 20, 2022—responds to the mixture of curiosity, ridicule and unease catalyzed by the explosion of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in the wake of a record-breaking NFT sale at Christie’s auction house in March 2020. Curated by students in St. John’s University’s M.A. Museum Administration program—Arianna McMillon ’22, Isabel Adolphe ’23, Kristie Siegel ’22 and Tom Ruple ’22—this educational project, and first scholarly exhibition devoted to a timely subject, contains twenty-one artifacts organized around four themes: digital art, corporate-created content, individual creativity and identity, and traditional fine artists’ engagement with this new and booming market.

NFTs: Pandemic Aftermath or Trending Innovation? (which took form in the graduate course “Introduction to Curating”), does not include actual NFTs. Rather, it features artifacts from the internet that have become NFTs, through processes of encoding born-digital materials on the blockchain. Through this decentralized public ledger, digital entities, which have circulated online, sometimes for decades or as new creations (i.e. memes, videos, gifs, holograms or tweets) are transformed into rare collectables, traded with cryptocurrency.

The exhibition, whose content ranges from fine art to sports, food, music, dance, consumer projects, showcases the artistry and novelty of NFTs, but also the varying intents behind them: to make art, to generate commodities from which to profit and to document history. The exhibition asks: What is an intangible asset and what does it mean for the internet to host platforms that make and distribute these products? Are NFTs welcome innovations, bringing greater market accessibility to creators struggling to sell their work—be they artists of color or digital artist-pioneers, whose work has gone unrecognized for fifty years? How can we best  assess the impact of NFTs on the environment? In a thirty-minute video-recorded conversation, posted in the exhibition, the student-curators share insights into their collaborative working process and query the significance of NFTs to our inescapably off- and online culture.

The university community is invited to a live student-curator-led, walkthrough tour of the virtual exhibition, scheduled for Monday, February 21 at 5:00 pm.  Add the webinar to your calendar HERE.

More information about the M.A. Museum Administration program is available here, and and interested parties can contact Dr. Susan Rosenberg: