On February 13, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art gallery in the western United States, revealed a lavish donation of 22 NFTs from a mysterious collector Cozomo de'Medici.
The collection handed over to the museum comprises works spanning from 2017 to 2022 created by thirteen artists from the United States, China, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Portugal and England. Some of the notable NFTs donated by Cozomo de'Medici include CryptoPunk #3831 by Larva Labs (John Watkinson), Woman n°001 by Yam Karkai, Ringers #962 by Dmitri Cherniak, AI Imagined Portrait Painted by a Robot #2 by Pindar Van Arman, Fragments of Infinite Field #972 by Monica Rozzilli and A Feeling I Can't Put My Finger on by Claire Silver.
Other artists represented in the collection are Han (CryptoCubes), Kelian Maissen (Kleee), Neil Strauss, Adam Swaab, Justin Aversano, Matt DesLauriers, Matt Hall, Cai Guo-Quiang, Mark Graeffe, Matt DesLauriers and Johannes Gees. Some of the works donated to LACMA are exceptionally valuable — for example, the highest selling price of CryptoPunk #3831, one of eighty-eight zombie punks, was 850 Ether, or $2.08 million.
Michael Govan, director of the Wallis Annenberg Museum and CEO of LACMA, expressed the museum's gratitude to the collector in the official press release:"As one of the first museums to support artists’ experimentation with technology, it’s fitting that LACMA would receive this first museum collection of blockchain art. We’re grateful to Cozomo de’Medici for his forward-thinking generosity that will expand the diversity of our art collection and propel us to develop new standards and techniques for preserving works created on the blockchain."
LACMA has always been interested in cryptoart movement and is now actively developing new standards for acquiring, exhibiting, and conserving NFT-authenticated digital art.
The museum started collecting non-fungible tokens when it received its first gift from John Gerrard, who donated his Western Flag NFT. Next, it received one of Tom Sachs' Rocket Factory series artworks, as well as ALMT28B by Lee Mullican. LACMA also has works by Peter Wu, Erick Calderon, and Jessica Wimbley in its NFT collection.
In a Twitter post, Cozomo de’Medici expressed hope that their donation will bring more recognition to NFT art.
"My hope is that this donation helps forever cement the on-chain art movement in the canon of art history. It paves the way for museums everywhere to hold the greatest digital works alongside the greatest physical. And inspires us all to keep making history together."
Who is Cozomo de'Medici?
The influencer of the world of digital artworks goes by the name of Cosimo di Giovanni de'Medici, an Italian banker and generous philanthropist born in the 14th century. Over his lifetime, de’Medici spent over 600,000 gold florins on culture and artworks, or about $500 million at today’s prices. The donations from the 21st century Cozomo de'Medici are far more modest — but still impressive. At press time, the estimated worth of de’Medici's NFTs is $17 million.
The NFT aficionados are particularly curious about the person behind the pseudonym. Although rapper Snoop Dogg claimed to be Cozomo de'Medici last year, some members of the Web3 community did not find the possible connections between these individuals convincing enough to believe that they were the same person.
The Internet is full of guesses about the true identity of the collector. People speculate about the possibility of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Bitcoin educator Dan Held being Cozomo. Another possible candidate is a conspiracy theorist Richard Byrne whose previous company Overstock used the services of the firm called Medici Ventures to manage its crypto investments.
Meanwhile, Cozomo de'Medici’s account ran a poll, inviting followers to guess his real identity. The options included Elon Musk, George Clooney, Jason Derulo, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, Chamath Palihapitiya, and NFT trader Keyboard Monkey — but no mention of Snoop Dogg was ever made.