Credit: Refik Anadol

MoMA Acquires Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” in Historic First

BY Erika Lee

October 10, 2023

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has marked a historic milestone by acquiring Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised – Machine Hallucinations.” This acquisition is the museum’s inaugural inclusion of a tokenized artwork in its permanent collection.

The three-part work is part of Anadol’s “Unsupervised” exhibition, where the artist uses artificial intelligence to re-interpret and re-imagine more than 200 years of art at MoMA.

Anadol employed a sophisticated machine-learning model to interpret public data from MoMA’s collection, crafting a distinctive piece infused with light, movement, sound, and external climatic elements. This is all displayed on a vast media wall, elevating the vibrant visual and auditory experience.

“Unsupervised” has been on display at the MoMA since November 2022. The museum recently extended the exhibition until Oct. 29.

“It is a historic day for our studio and digital art,” Anadol tweeted in response. “Excited and honored to be on a journey with a beautiful community and grateful to the entire MoMA and our curators for pushing the boundaries of imagination in the age of machine intelligence!

The acquisition was made possible by benefactors from RFC Collection, led by Pablo Rodríguez-Fraile and Desiree Casoni, and 1of1, led by Ryan Zurrer.

“Refik Anadol’s journey in digital artistry stands out as a reference of innovation and exploration,” Rodriquez-Fraile said in a tweet. “His visionary approach, coupled with an enduring dedication, marks him as a trailblazer truly deserving of leading the charge in this novel artistic frontier.”

Famed for his avant-garde media projects and public showcases, Anadol recently earned worldwide attention for presenting “Machine Hallucinations: Sphere” on the massive 580,000-square-foot Sphere in Las Vegas — crowning it as the world’s largest AI artwork.

This acquisition exemplifies yet another convergence of the traditional and digital art realms for MoMA, only a week after the museum announced its NFT Postcard collaboration.

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