How to Do Your Own Research - Interview Nancy Baker Cahill and Nina Roehrs for Right Click Save
Nancy Baker-Cahill interviewed DYOR curator Nina Roehrs about curating the historical crypto art exhibition in Zurich.

Jan 9th, 2023

Baker Cahill, Nancy: How to Do Your Own Research. Right Click Save, January 9th, 2023:


Nina Roehrs shares what it takes to curate crypto art history with Nancy Baker-Cahill

Nancy Baker Cahill: “DYOR” is an historic exhibition for so many reasons and I’m curious what prompted you to embark on such an ambitious, rigorous, and (pun-intended) well-researched curatorial endeavor? What about NFTs and blockchain appealed to you as a curator and to Kunsthalle Zürich as an institution? 

Nina Roehrs: Little more than two years ago, a new art world appeared, and for many it came out of nowhere. This new world ignored museums, galleries, curators, and critics — in short, the entire establishment — but it arrived dripping with money and generating a lot of interest. This new art world was based on a new technology (blockchain), had its own distribution system (Web3), unregulated aesthetic concepts (evident through NFTs), digital currencies (cryptocurrencies), new spaces for discussion, critique, and promotion (Discord channels and Twitter) and new forms of participation. 

Nevertheless, in the last few months, people have been coming round to this movement. It is an extremely vital, young, dynamic, contradictory, fascinating, problematic, creative, critical, and critiqued field that many people want to know more about. The hunger to learn is there, but many haven’t had access to the right information. For this reason, Kunsthalle Zürich developed one of the first ever institutional exhibitions on this emerging field.

To quote the historian Martin Lukas Ostachowski, who contributed his own installation, Cumulonimbus Murus, to the exhibition: Crypto art “is a movement of values over aesthetics. As such, it is essential to remember and promote the concept of the self-sovereign crypto artist. […] Blockchain technology created tools for artists to challenge their role in the traditional art world, [where] the entire art market is built on their backs.” …

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The new online magazine seeks to drive critical conversations about art on the blockchain. It aims to engage readers about the ongoing topical and historical importance of NFTs to culture, give artists and collectors of the NFT space the same level of respect afforded those of the traditional art world, help artists, collectors, and the uninitiated to comprehend the changing reality of NFT ownership, foreground new voices and foster dialogue between different creator communities and to offer the highest quality of art writing anywhere in the NFT space.