Yuga Labs, the parent company of the NFT collections Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, announced Tuesday that it will be donating a CryptoPunk to the ICA Miami as part of its new initiative, the Punks Legacy Project.
CryptoPunks, a series of 10,000 procedurally generated “punks” in a pixelated style, were initially created by software engineers at Larva Labs in 2017 (Yuga Labs acquired the CryptoPunks collection in March of this year). CryptoPunks are considered a key precursor to the tidal wave of “profile pic” NFTs that exploded onto the market in 2021.
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“This is really exciting for us,” Alex Gartenfeld, the founding director of the ICA, told ARTnews. “We got involved in this space because our mission is to reflect upon the most important conversations that are happening today. And over the last couple of years, you can’t have a conversation about contemporary or visual art without talking about technology, and specifically NFTs.”
Gartenfeld said that the ICA and Yuga Labs have a strong working relationship, so when Noah Davis, (who left Christie’s to head the CryptoPunks division) mentioned that Yuga Labs would be initiating the Punks Legacy Project, which aims to donate CryptoPunks to museums, it was natural that the ICA would help kick off the program.
Yuga Labs donated CryptoPunk #305 to the ICA, in a wink to Miami’s nickname “the 305” a reference to the city’s original area code. The punk is blonde, female, sporting bleach blonde hair, purple lipstick, and VR goggles. This will be the second Punk in the ICA’s collection, which is the only major museum to hold an NFT from the collection. However, Yuga Labs said it is hoping to change that with their Punks Legacy Project.
“Yuga believes that CryptoPunks deserve to be on the walls of contemporary art and design institutions worldwide,” Davis said in a statement. “Our team will oversee the donation and installation of several CryptoPunks to leading contemporary art museums around the globe, providing these museums with resources regarding security, NFT display best practices, and Web3 education.”
Thus far, other participating museums have not been confirmed.
CryptoPunk #305 will be officially unveiled at the ICA during a ceremony on December 2nd during Art Basel Miami Beach. Though the ICA has another Punk in its collection, it is not yet on display. Museums, collectors, and gallerists have struggled with how best to physically present digital NFTs, but during the unveiling, Yuga Labs’ efforts to ameliorate the issue — by developing installation-quality display technology — will be on view.