Pioneering NFT Bitchcoin Is Entering the Centre Pompidou’s Collection in a Landmark Acquisition of Digital Works

In 2015, five months before the emergence of Ethereum, Sarah Meyohas minted her first 200 Bitchcoins. The blockchain-verified tokens were intended to operate as art as much as digital currency, which collectors could hold, sell, or trade for art by Meyohas—a conceptual transaction that tied the speculative worth of cryptocurrency with the subjective value of art. The young artist (and Wharton Business School grad) launched Bitchcoin at a gallery show where visitors could drop Bitcoin for her photographic works, with a press release that cheekily trumpeted: “Investing in Bitchcoin is investing in Meyohas.”

However incisive, Bitchcoin could very well have been a low-key conceptual endeavor, if not for the sensation NFTs set off in 2020. Then again, amid the resurfacing of historic blockchain-backed works, Meyohas’s name was rarely invoked in a space and marketplace dominated by top-selling, always-online male artists such as Beeple.

Sarah Meyohas. Photo: Steve Benisty.

But no more. Last month, the Centre Pompidou announced the acquisition of two Bitchcoins, which are joining 17 other NFTs being acquired by the institution in the first-ever such acquisition by a French national museum. These other works include an Autoglyph, a CryptoPunk, new works by Jill Magid and Jonas Lund, and historic digital art by Robness and Fred Forest. 

“It’s doubly exciting that my first museum acquisition can also be a historic one,” Meyohas told Midnight Publishing Group News. “I’m thrilled for each of the 12 other artists involved as well.”

The crypto artworks join the contemporary art museum’s sizable collection of new-media works, which the Pompidou has been amassing since the 1970s. For curators Macella Lista and Philippe Bettinelli, who are overseeing the Pompidou’s NFT endeavors, the acquisition entirely squares with a museum dedicated to “addressing the impulses of innovation,” they told Midnight Publishing Group News over email.

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

“It is interesting to see how [this] creativity started from outside of the art world, or from the specialized domain of digital arts, before slowly echoing among the general landscape of contemporary art,” they said in a joint statement. “Artworks related to the blockchain are moving many lines and provide a critical appreciation of what is going on today.”

The museum plans to present the works as part of its permanent collection in spring this year (an online exhibition is also being gamed out for a later phase, possibly within “a specifically conceived digital space”). This showcase will occupy the fourth floor of the Pompidou where crypto art will be framed as part of the Conceptual and Minimal art traditions. As Lista and Bettinelli emphasized, “NFTs didn’t come ‘out of the blue.’”

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

While the acquisition is heavy on new projects—ranging from the conceptual, such as  Agnieszka Kurant’s Sentimentite-Mt. Gox. Hack (2022), to the accessible, namely CryptoPunk #110, donated as part of Yuga Labs’s Punks Legacy Project—pioneering NFTs are represented too.

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

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

Notably, the Pompidou’s acquisition further nods to Meyohas’s 2017 project, Cloud of Petals, which was backed by Bitchcoins. That year, the artist released reserved Bitchcoins on the occasion of her “Cloud of Petals” exhibition at Red Bull Arts in New York. There, the 3,291 tokens were linked to a similar number of physical rose petals, each meticulously plucked, photographed, and fed into an A.I. dataset capable of generating yet more images of petals. Holders could “burn” their Bitchcoin to claim its unique petal.

Again, the work explored the tension in tying a cryptocurrency to an entirely subjective view of beauty, though this time, deployed digital technologies to further examine what human labor might mean in an era of automation.

Cloud of Petals is a conceptual body of work that spans film, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, performance, data science, and photography,” said Meyohas. “It’s wonderful to see this work enter the Centre Pompidou’s collection alongside Bitchcoin, a project that proves blockchain-based work can encompass each of those and more.”

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

With its two Bitchcoins, the Pompidou intends to keep one token and exchange the other for a preserved rose petal. To Lista and Bettinelli, the project stands as “a seminal piece that touches on the core of what is at stake, which is the complete interlocking of symbolic, cultural, and financial values.” 

Indeed, while it’s taken almost a decade for her trailblazing project to receive institutional recognition, Meyohas, it seems, has been content to let Bitchcoin’s footprint do the talking.

“Sometimes the projects that don’t tweet the loudest are the most thoughtful ones,” she said. “I’m thankful that the curators at the Pompidou have the critical judgment to differentiate.”

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Hermès Wins Its Lawsuit Against the Digital Artist Who Made ‘MetaBirkins,’ Setting a Precedent for NFT Copyright Cases

Hermès, the French luxury brand behind the famously pricey Birkin handbag, scored a legal victory today over a digital artist known as Mason Rothschild, who produced an NFT titled MetaBirkin.

A federal jury returned a verdict against the artist today, following a five-day trial, deciding that the artist violated Hermès’s Birkin trademark rights.

“Great day for big brands. Terrible day for artists and the First Amendment,” said the artist’s lead counsel Rhett Millsaps in a statement.

“This is not the end of this case,” he told Midnight Publishing Group News in an email.

Rothschild, referring to the jurors, said: “Take nine people off the street right now and ask them to tell you what art is but the kicker is whatever they say will now become the undisputed truth. That’s what happened today.”

The jury awarded Hermès $133,000 in damages and also found the artist’s NFTs aren’t protected speech under the First Amendment.

Attorneys and a representative for Hermès did not comment following the verdict. 

The case was closely watched since it is the first major test of how NFTs, which have exploded in popularity in recent years, should be considered in the context of copyright law. One expert predicted “a chilling effect on NFT artists,” as a result of the decision, according to Bloomberg News.

As Midnight Publishing Group News reported earlier this year, similar disputes surrounding ownership have popped up over a series of unauthorized NFT photos of Olive Garden restaurants and Quentin Tarantino’s NFTs from Pulp Fiction.

In December 2021, Hermès sent the artist a cease and desist letter. The MetaBirkins were removed from OpenSea’s primary market around the same time.

In the MetaBirkin project, the artist reimagined the designer bags with dyed fake fur—a move that, according to the MetaBirkins website, was “inspired by the acceleration of fashion’s ‘fur free’ initiatives and embrace of alternative textiles.”

A disclaimer at the bottom of the site read: “We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the HERMES, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.” In the lawsuit it eventually filed, Hermès asserted that the disclaimer actually made matters worse by “excessively” using the brand’s name and “unnecessarily” linking to its website.

Rothschild’s post-verdict statement continued: “A multibillion-dollar luxury fashion house who says they ‘care’ about art and artists but feel they have the right to choose what art IS and who IS an artist. Not because of what they create but because their CV doesn’t scream artist with a pedigree from a world-class art school. That’s what happened today.

A broken justice system that doesn’t allow an art expert to speak on art but allows economists to speak on it. That’s what happened today.

What happened today was wrong. What happened today will continue to happen if we don’t continue to fight. This is far from over.”

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Damien Hirst’s NFT Initiative, Which Asks Buyers to Choose Between a Digital Token and IRL Art, Has Already Generated $25 Million

Earlier this summer, Damien Hirst announced his latest project: a showy NFT initiative called “The Currency.” It involved selling 10,000 unique hand-painted dot-covered works on paper, each one corresponding to a nonfungible token. But wait, there’s more.

Each of the hybrid print-NFTs, available to collectors at the low, low price of $2,000, has a very particular stipulation. Buyers would have one year to decide if they wanted to keep the NFT, in which case the physical artwork would be ceremonially burned. Or they could keep the physical work, and relinquish rights to the blockchain-based artwork.

In essence, “The Currency” pitted Hirst’s foray into the new world of digital art against his old-school practice, asking the art market to decide which was more valuable. (At the height of Hirst’s market heat in 2007, a work on paper by the artist sold for more than $393,065.)

At the time, it sure sounded like Hirst was, ahem, jumping the shark, with a philosophical gimmick, but just about two months into the project’s debut, the artist took to social media to announce that sales generated by “The Currency” have reached $25 million already.

The graph of Hirst's NFT sales from "The Currency." Courtesy of HENI.

The graph of Hirst’s NFT sales from “The Currency.” Courtesy of HENI.

A statement posted today to the Discord server by HENI Analytics, an arm of the company that partnered with Hirst on the project, broke down the sales for the past six, 12, and 24 hours for the NFT works. In the last 24 hours, 14 sales totaling almost $400,000 were recorded, with a maximum price of $43,204 and minimum price of $3,694.

Since the project launched in July, there have been a total of 1,571 sales on secondary market NFT platforms adding up to just a bit more than even the whopping eight-figure Hirst boasted about, at $26,345,475.

The maximum price paid so far sits at $120,614 for a work titled Yes, which is considered one of the rarer of the pieces in the series because it has a single word title. HENI ranks each of the works in “The Currency” for its rarity based on algorithms that analyze density of the spots, colors used, and what kind of words are in each title, which all come from Hirst’s favorite songs.

OpenSea’s public data on the project confirm the basic trends suggested by HENI and Hirst. It shows that the floor price (or lowest available price) for an NFT from “The Currency” sits at 8.8 ETH, or $28,500, more than 10 times its original price. (The OpenSea floor price is updated hourly.)

According to OpenSea snapshot of the project, by far the most active day in the trading history of “The Currency” was August 14, when 249 of the NFTs changed hands. In recent days things have settled down considerably, with anywhere between 10 and 20 sales per day.

One recent sale, for the work A Way of Life, was originally listed 10 days ago on the secondary market by its owner @Quality for 18.88 Ethereum (over $60,800). Finding no takers, it was re-listed a day later for 8.8 Ethereum (or $28,500). At that price it was sold to @syzygyfinance 8 days ago for 8.49 Ethereum ($27,200), which re-listed A Way of Life just two days later for 14.8 Ethereum (or $47,800).

Today @syzygyfinance adjusted its asking price down to 9.75 Ethereum ($31,300), and sold it at that price to @liquiddyor, realizing about $4,000 in profit on the flip.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

‘It Was Like Making Homes’: Watch Artist Rachel Rossin Build Entire Worlds in Her Hybrid Digital Artwork

Growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida, artist Rachel Rossin was often desperate to escape. Since that’s not particularly easy when you’re a kid, Rossin, like so many others, found escapism through the internet.

As a kid, Rossin taught herself the basics of computer programming, and soon moved on to hacking, losing herself in multiplayer video games like Call of Duty. Those early formative experiences set the groundwork for what would become her mature artistic practice blending computer imagery and new technology with analog painting methods.

“The way I was making art before I knew it was art, it was like making homes,” Rossin says in a new video as part of Art21’s New York Close Up series.

In her pursuit of always “trying to find a home,” Rossin found a sense of safety and care within Call of Duty, adopting a male avatar “to sort of live inside.” The neutral anonymity of her avatar stood in contrast to the male-dominated gaming culture she was in, acting as a sort of shield from threats of harassment.

Production still from the Art21 "New York Close Up" film, "Rachel Rossin's Digital Homes." © Art21, Inc. 2021.

Production still from the Art21 “New York Close Up” film, “Rachel Rossin’s Digital Homes.” © Art21, Inc. 2021.

In the video, which is part of Art21’s participation in the collaborative Feminist Art Coalition Initiative, Rossin is at work in her Brooklyn studio preparing for a group exhibition called “World on a Wire that is organized by Rhizome and the Hyundai Motor Company.

In Rossin’s work I’m my loving memory, Plexiglas sculptures with virtual imagery printed on them are melted into humanoid figures distorted by color and shadow. The futuristic images represent the dual aspects of Rossin’s process, combining virtual iconography with a personal touch. 

One of the avatars Rossin keeps to herself is a creature she calls a “harpy,” which is half human, half bird. “She speaks to a reality that most people feel,” Rossin tells Art21, “which is so much of our emotional and cognitive space lived in virtual spaces, but still… tethered to a mortal coil.”

More of Rossin’s digitally printed Plexiglas works are on view at Magenta Plains in the solo exhibition “Boohoo Stamina” (on view through May 22). The show continues the artist’s pursuit to answer questions about how technology and alternate realities can extend, enhance, or limit the nature of being human.

Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s New York Close Up series, below. 

This is an installment of “Art on Video,” a collaboration between Midnight Publishing Group News and Art21 that brings you clips of newsmaking artists. A new series of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship series Art in the Twenty-First Century is available now on PBS. Catch all episodes of other series like New York Close Up and Extended Play and learn about the organization’s educational programs at

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Phillips Is Entering the Digital Fray With the Sale of a Mad Dog Jones NFT That Will Generate New NFTs Every Month

When Beeple shattered expectations with a history-making $69 million NFT sale at Christie’s New York last month, it was all but inevitable that other auction houses would look to match that success. Soon after, Sotheby’s announced a sale with NFT artist Pak. Now, completing the trifecta of top auction houses, Phillips is getting into the game with a new work by Mad Dog Jones, one of the top-selling digital artists in the NFT world.

NTFs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital assets minted on and authenticated by the blockchain. Some of the most widely disseminated digital images are being sold for stratospheric sums—comparable to a single autographed copy of a mass-produced trading card.

The NFT that Mad Dog Jones is selling at Phillips is especially unique in that it is designed to generate new NFTs on a monthly basis. So the buyer of it could go on to own anywhere from 180 to 220 unique NFTs on the basis of a single purchase.

Titled REPLICATOR, the NFT will produce new variants of the piece every 28 days, for a total of seven generations of different artworks. The auction house is billing it as the first “multi-generational NFT.”

Michah Dowbak, known as Mad Dog Jones. Photo courtesy of Phillips.

Michah Dowbak, known as Mad Dog Jones. Photo courtesy of Phillips.

REPLICATOR is the story of a machine through time. It is a reflection on forms of past groundbreaking innovation and serves as a metaphor for modern technology’s continuum,” the artist said in a statement. “Back in the day, photocopiers were revolutionary, and before that, fax machines. Look where we are today. I’m interested to see how collectors will respond as the work evolves and the NFTs in their possession continue to create new generations.”

Like an actual photocopier, REPLICATOR will occasionally jam, which means that after the second generation, there is a chance for up to three “Jam Artworks,” which are unique cannot reproduce.

“If Phillips was going to embark on the NFT journey, it had to be with an artist and concept we believe in,” Phillips specialist Rebekah Bowling told Forbes. “What I’m most excited about is the relationship between medium and form in REPLICATOR. The concept couldn’t be realized if it weren’t an NFT. It’s completely dependent on this technology to do what it’s been designed to do. We can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.”

Bids at Phillips will start at just $100. The sale will be held online, April 12–23, and will mark the first time that the auction house will accept Ethereum as payment.

Mad Dog Jones, Why would I care I'm just a cat? and Déjà Vu from the series "Crash + Burn." Courtesy of the artist.

Mad Dog Jones, Why would I care I’m just a cat? and Déjà Vu from the series “Crash + Burn.” Courtesy of the artist.

The Ontario artist, whose real name is Michah Dowbak, has made NFT headlines before. Notably, in February he surpassed Beeple’s then record $3.5 million NFT, when he sold $3.9 million worth of two open-edition works, initially priced at $2,500 and $5,000 each, in a drop titled “Crash + Burn.” Another piece, Boardwalk, sold separately for $388,888 the same day.

Like Beeple—who has created visuals for musicians including Avicii, Justin Bieber, Childish Gambino, Eminem, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry—Mad Dog Jones has worked with musicians and entertainers, creating artworks for Run The Jewels, Deadmau5, Jabbawockeez, and Maroon 5.

Mad Dog Jones is currently included in the world’s first NFT museum exhibition, on view at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing through April 4. The show appears to be of the pay-for-play nature, curated by a crypto-art company renting the UCCA Lab for the occasion.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook: