Sarah Meyohas’s Pioneering Bitchcoin NFT Is Coming into the Centre Pompidou’s Assortment in a Landmark Acquisition of Digital Works

Sarah Meyohas, BITCHCOIN, Public Key: B5FHa2ufgSMi9fwtToFaEUo1mF9ChPd5J.
Picture: Peter Kaiser, © Sarah Meyohas, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.

In 2015, 5 months earlier than the emergence of Ethereum, Sarah Meyohas minted her first 200 Bitchcoins. The blockchain-verified tokens have been meant to function as artwork as a lot as digital foreign money, which collectors may maintain, promote, or commerce for artwork by Meyohas—a conceptual transaction that tied the speculative price of cryptocurrency with the subjective worth of artwork. The younger artist (and Wharton Enterprise College grad) launched Bitchcoin at a gallery present the place guests may drop Bitchcoin for her photographic works, with a press launch that cheekily trumpeted: “Investing in Bitchcoin is investing in Meyohas.”

Nevertheless incisive, Bitchcoin may very properly have been a low-key conceptual endeavor, if not for the feeling NFTs set off in 2020. Then once more, amid the resurfacing of historic blockchain-backed works, Meyohas’s identify was hardly ever invoked in an area and market dominated by top-selling, always-online male artists reminiscent of Beeple.


Sarah Meyohas. Picture: Steve Benisty.

However no extra. Final month, the Centre Pompidou introduced the acquisition of two Bitchcoins, that are becoming a member of 17 different NFTs being acquired by the establishment within the first-ever such acquisition by a French nationwide museum. These different works embrace an Autoglyph, a CryptoPunk, new works by Jill Magid and Jonas Lund, and historic digital artwork by Robness and Fred Forest. 

“It’s doubly thrilling that my first museum acquisition will also be a historic one,” Meyohas instructed Artnet Information. “I’m thrilled for every of the 12 different artists concerned as properly.”

The crypto artworks be part of the up to date artwork museum’s sizable assortment of new-media works, which the Pompidou has been amassing because the Seventies. For curators Macella Lista and Philippe Bettinelli, who’re overseeing the Pompidou’s NFT endeavors, the acquisition completely squares with a museum devoted to “addressing the impulses of innovation,” they instructed Artnet Information over e mail.


Larva Labs, CryptoPunk #110 (2017). Picture: © Larva Labs

“It’s attention-grabbing to see how [this] creativity began from exterior of the artwork world, or from the specialised area of digital arts, earlier than slowly echoing among the many basic panorama of up to date artwork,” they mentioned in a joint assertion. “Artworks associated to the blockchain are transferring many traces and supply a crucial appreciation of what’s going on right now.”

The museum plans to current the works as a part of its everlasting assortment in spring this 12 months (an internet exhibition can also be being gamed out for a later section, presumably inside “a particularly conceived digital house”). This showcase will occupy the fourth ground of the Pompidou the place crypto artwork can be framed as a part of the Conceptual and Minimal artwork traditions. As Lista and Bettinelli emphasised, “NFTs didn’t come ‘out of the blue.’”


Agnieszka Kurant, Sentimentite-Mt Gox Hack (2022). Picture: Kunstgiesserei St Gallen AG, courtesy of the artist and Zien.

Whereas the acquisition is heavy on new initiatives—starting from the conceptual, reminiscent of  Agnieszka Kurant’s Sentimentite-Mt. Gox. Hack (2022), to the accessible, particularly CryptoPunk #110, donated as a part of Yuga Labs’s Punks Legacy Venture—pioneering NFTs are represented too.

Most prominently, there’s John F. Simon Jr.’s Each Icon (1997), Emilie Brout and Maxime Marion’s Nakamoto (The Proof) (2014), and naturally, Bitchcoin. 


Sarah Meyohas, Bitchcoin #1.282 (2015 – 2021). Picture: © Sarah Meyohas, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.

Notably, the Pompidou’s acquisition additional nods to Meyohas’s 2017 venture, Cloud of Petals, which was backed by Bitchcoins. That 12 months, the artist launched reserved Bitchcoins on the event of her “Cloud of Petals” exhibition at Crimson Bull Arts in New York. There, the three,291 tokens have been linked to the same variety of bodily rose petals, every meticulously plucked, photographed, and fed into an A.I. dataset able to producing but extra photographs of petals. Holders may “burn” their Bitchcoin to assert its distinctive petal.

Once more, the work explored the strain in tying a cryptocurrency to a completely subjective view of magnificence, although this time, deployed digital applied sciences to additional look at what human labor may imply in an period of automation.

Cloud of Petals is a conceptual physique of labor that spans movie, synthetic intelligence, digital actuality, efficiency, information science, and images,” mentioned Meyohas. “It’s fantastic to see this work enter the Centre Pompidou’s assortment alongside Bitchcoin, a venture that proves blockchain-based work can embody every of these and extra.”


Sarah Meyohas, Cloud of Petals (2017). Picture: © Sarah Meyohas, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.

With its two Bitchcoins, the Pompidou intends to maintain one token and change the opposite for a preserved rose petal. To Lista and Bettinelli, the venture stands as “a seminal piece that touches on the core of what’s at stake, which is the whole interlocking of symbolic, cultural, and monetary values.” 

Certainly, whereas it’s taken virtually a decade for her trailblazing venture to obtain institutional recognition, Meyohas, it appears, has been content material to let Bitchcoin’s footprint do the speaking.

“Generally the initiatives that don’t tweet the loudest are probably the most considerate ones,” she mentioned. “I’m grateful that the curators on the Pompidou have the crucial judgment to distinguish.”