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Non-Fungible Culture: The Impacts of NFTs on Art, Galleries and the Museum Typology

Part 1 Dissertation 2023
Chloé Degnan
Loughborough University | UK
The Covid-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to cultural institutions with many, regardless of size or financial backing, being forced to make drastic cuts shaking the very foundations of their operations. Closures, redundancies, and de-accessions became distressingly common and the survival of cultural heritage was hanging by a thread. However, advancements in blockchain technology provided exciting – and, perhaps, controversial - opportunities for these cash-strapped institutions in the form of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Media outlets raised valid concerns and sparked spirited discussions about NFTs. However, within this discourse, one must recognize the immense potential NFTs hold for cultural institutions and the design and operation of the buildings that house them.
To gain insight into the perceptions of individuals in the art industry I conducted interviews with pioneering gallery and museum curators against a backdrop of theoretical analysis, taking in the fields of artistic authenticity and exhibition culture through thinkers such as Benjamin, Krauss, and Carpo. The investigation provides thorough analysis, insights and new knowledge into this ultra-contemporary phenomenon. The conclusions seek to equip galleries and museums with valuable knowledge to better understand the applications of NFTs within curatorial contexts, speculating on the potential consequences for the future design of commercial exhibition spaces.

Chloé Degnan

Simon Richards
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