The Lunder Center galleries are closed today, July 17.

A CLARK Symposium

transformative futures: Blockchain and the arts ecosystem

november 22, 2024

Blockchain—defined as a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a network—stands to offer solutions to long-standing inequities in the arts and culture sector. This one-day symposium explores the potential of blockchain to create greater equity within arts' systems by bringing together practitioners at the forefront of these developments to discuss their work, assess new possibilities for blockchain’s use throughout the art market, and to engage with community members interested in understanding blockchain and its applications. 


Conforti Pavilion
Clark Center
Clark Art Institute
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA 01267


1:30 PM        LECTURE

Frances Liddell (University of Edinburgh) on “What is Blockchain?”

Conforti Pavilion 


3:00 PM        BREAK



Rhea Myers (artist), Tina Rivers Ryan (Artforum), Yayoi Shionori (Estate of Chris Burden and the Studio of Nancy Rubins), Kelani Nichole (TRANSFER)

Moderator: Cheryl Finley (Cornell University)


4:45 PM        BREAK



Moderators: Destinee Filmore (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Lauren van Haaften-Schick (Wesleyan University) 

The moderators will lead an open forum for community members to pose questions, offer comments, and to further discuss projects and initiatives led by convening participants. 


All events will be held in the Conforti Pavilion of the Clark Art Institute. No registration required. Free and open to the public. This event will not be recorded or livestreamed.


Destinee Filmore, co-convener, is a curator and creative practitioner exploring the use of blockchain technology in museums and public commemoration. As Assistant Curator in the Modern and Contemporary Art department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Destinee focuses on research and curatorial endeavors centering women and historically marginalized makers that complicate the history of modern art in America. As Project Director of On This Land, she guides a team in developing markers that embed archival materials and personal narratives in their site-specific context. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Spelman College and an M.A. in the History of Art from Williams College.


Cheryl Finley is the Inaugural Director of the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Art & Visual Culture at Spelman College. A curator and contemporary art critic, Dr. Finley is also an award-winning author noted for Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press, 2018), the first in-depth study of the most famous image associated with the memory of slavery—a schematic engraving of a packed slave ship hold—and the art, architecture, poetry, and film it has inspired since its creation in Britain in 1788. Her co-authored publications of note include My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South (Yale University Press, 2018), Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story (Carnegie Museum of Art, 2011), and Diaspora, Memory, Place: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos- Pons, Pamela Z (Prestel, 2008). A frequent essayist, Dr. Finley’s writing has appeared in numerous academic and popular publications, including Aperture, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, American Quarterly, Art Forum and Small Axe. Dr. Finley’s current research examines the global art economy, focusing on the relationship among artists, museums, biennials and migration in the book project, Black Art Futures, and the interdisciplinary project, Mapping Art History at HBCUs, designed to harness the power of art history and the promise of technology to revolutionize the art industry.


Lauren van Haaften-Schick, co-convener, is currently Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She holds a PhD in Art History from Cornell University. Her forthcoming book examines artists’ rights laws and contracts in the U.S. through the case study of Seth Siegelaub’s The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement (1971), an artwork sales contract that has been debated widely and has recently inspired blockchain smart contracts. Lauren writes and curates exhibitions at the intersection of art and law. Her recent scholarship has appeared in Grey Room, Panorama Journal, and the Oxford Handbooks in Law Online among other venues. 


Frances Liddell is a post-doctoral researcher in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. She holds a PhD in Museum Practice from the University of Manchester and an MA in Arts Management and BA (Hons) in Art History. She has previously been a consultant lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, where she set up the MA elective in blockchains, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies and is currently an associate fellow with the Arts & Antiquities Blockchain Consortium, New York. Her research critically examines emerging and decentralising technologies as a tool to develop new ownership and participatory models in the cultural sector.


Rhea Myers is an artist, hacker and writer originally from the United Kingdom, now based in British Columbia, Canada. Her work places technology and culture in mutual interrogation to produce new ways of seeing the world as it unfolds around us. Since 2014 she has used the blockchain as a medium for embodying, critiquing, and moving beyond the anxieties of post-financial-crisis society. Inspired by the histories of conceptualism and net art, she has made work with digital imagery, computer code, as well as producing theory, critique, and fiction as the blockchain art world has gone from imagined to mainstream. Myers’ art has been exhibited internationally, sold at Sotheby’s, and collected by the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. Urbanomic Publishing released a collection of her blockchain art and writings, Proof of Work. Her most recent solo show is The Ego, and It’s 0wned at Galerie Nagel Draxler in Berlin, Germany.


Kelani Nichole is a technologist and founder of an experimental media art gallery called TRANSFER. She has been exploring decentralized networks and virtual worlds in contemporary art since 2013. Nichole’s focus is supporting artists with critical technology practice and exploring alternative models of cultural infrastructure. She has produced numerous solidarity experiments at TRANSFER, including the TRANSFER Download, an immersive exhibition format for virtual artworks that has traveled internationally.  Currently she is building the TRANSFER Data Trust, a decentralized artist-owned archive and cooperative model for cultural value exchange and producing a generative documentary film Almost in Real Time.


Tina Rivers Ryan is Editor in Chief of Artforum magazine. Previously, she was Curator at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, where she organized exhibitions including 2022's Peer to Peer (the first U.S. museum survey of artists engaged with blockchain technologies) and created one of the largest museum collections of tokenized art. Her writing on this topic has appeared in the magazines Artforum, Art Review, Burlington Contemporary, and Broadcast, as well as in the books Algorithmic Imaginary: Art on the Blockchain and in the Metaverse and Radical Friends: Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Arts.


Yayoi Shionoiri is an art lawyer. Among other positions, she serves as U.S. Alliance Partner to City Lights Law, a Japanese law firm that represents creators; and as Board Director to Startbahn, an art x blockchain company. In the past, Yayoi has served as General Counsel to Artsy, Associate General Counsel of the Guggenheim Museum, and Legal Advisor to Takashi Murakami. She has degrees from Harvard University, Cornell Law School, and Columbia University. Yayoi writes frequently on legal issues related to copyright, art NFTs, AI, and ethics. She serves as Board Director to the Asia Art Archive in America. 

Image: Rhea Myers, Is Art (Token, Democratic Palate), 2024. A token that can be nominated as art (or not) by its owner and that displays this state using colors from Democratic Palette (2016). Courtesy Myers Studio, Ltd.

For any questions, please contact [email protected].