Since NFTs took the art world by storm earlier this year, it seemed like only a matter of time that someone might launch a museum for them. Now, that indeed has become the case. Founded by two tech executives, Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton, the Seattle NFT Museum (SNFTM) will open its doors on January 14 in the city’s trendy neighborhood of Belltown, with exhibitions of and programming related to NFT art, with a focus on Seattle-based artists.
“We’ve been following this burgeoning community of NFT artists, curators, collectors, and it’s just exploding,” Hamilton said in an interview. “The community has this incredible energy and influence that they wield, but there’s something that’s missing, and that’s the physical experience and physical interaction that comes from looking at art together.”
What will opening an NFT museum entail? Hamilton and Wong said they will look to carefully manage the line between the virtual and the physical. One way will be through using the now ubiquitous QR codes, which will send viewers to various online portals while in the museum, opening up the possibility of artists adding additional ways of interacting with the work.
Because displaying digital works in an institutional setting has long been a challenge even for the most venerable museums, SNFTM has partnered with Samsung to create a number of frames that can add or subtract several inches from the borders of the work as a way to give curators and artists flexibility in how to present their digital-based work. Typically, when NFTs are displayed offline, they are flanked with black or white borders to suit standard, horizontally displayed screens.
Hamilton and Wong have also gotten NFT collector Aaron Bird to lend the SNFTM works from his collection, including examples from Larva Labs “CryptoPunks” series, generative art by Tyler Hobbs, and work from the “Chromie Squiggle series by Erick Calderon, a.k.a. Snowfro. NFT artists Blake Kathryn, Neon Saltwater, Charles Peterson, and others will also be exhibiting their digital art.
As of now, SNFTM is not planning to build a permanent collection of NFTs, but act rather as a kunsthalle for this emerging form of art. “We want to be rotating work so we can give as much exposure as possible to new artists,” said Hamilton. “Based on feedback from our supporters and members of the museum, we can learn what people would like to see in our future collection.”
However, there will be one permanent display on view: an exhibition that explains the basics of NFT technology and its potential for impacting the art world and beyond. The museum’s founders see SNFTM’s mission as acting as a bridge for audiences outside internet and tech circles to learn about this new technology.
“We chose to open a museum versus a gallery because we do care about the community aspect of it,” Wong said, “We want it to be educational for those who only know the acronym NFT to the deep level enthusiasts. “