Reality Star and Crypto Evangelist Paris Hilton Runs Digital Art Acquisition Fund at LACMA

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is creating a new acquisition fund for digital art made by women artists. The initiative is led by none other than Paris Hilton, the socialite-turned-reality star who has become an NFT evangelist over the past year.

“As an activist and entrepreneur who likes to push boundaries in many male-dominated fields, I immediately identified the need to support women in Web3,” Hilton said in a statement. “There are so many incredibly bright and creative female innovators in the space.”

Hilton has been a longtime supporter of crypto, investing in both bitcoin and ether in 2016. She even named his dogs Crypto Hilton and Crypto Reum after her husband, Carter Reum.

On social media, Hilton championed the work of NFT wunderkind Fewocious, Pak and Friendswithyou, and in April 2021 launched her own NFT drop in collaboration with digital artist Blake Kathryn. She’s also the reason Jimmy Fallon jumped on the Bored Ape Yacht Club bandwagon, which the two discussed at length on his late-night show.

LACMA director Michael Govan thanked Hilton for his initiative, adding that the museum “has always been interested in experimentation and risk-taking in art, and this initiative will help the museum – and Los Angeles – to continue to evolve into an important center for digital art.”

However, not everyone is so confident in the plan. On Twitter, art critic and author Ben Lewis wrote, “Celebrity interested in NFTs creates a ‘fund’ to purchase NFTs for a public institution – a classic art market and museum scam when there is a conflict of interest. Should be shut down.

The institution acquired two works of art to launch the fund: Korean-Canadian artist Krista Kim Continuum: Los Angeles (2022) and British artist Shantell Martin’s The question (2022). Kim’s work is an extension of her “Continuum” series, which features color gradients inspired by specific cities, which morph and evolve with the music. The Los Angeles edition was created in collaboration with composer Ligovskoy, formed by Nikolai Azonov and Valerio Selig in 2010. Martin’s piece uses digital technology to create engaging designs.

Both works will be included in an exhibition co-presented by LACMA and Arizona State University in fall 2022.

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