Paris Hilton is LACMA’s newest patron for digital art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a new patron: Paris Hilton. The Hilton hotel heiress, media personality, DJ and businesswoman gifted the museum Acquisition fund for the acquisition of digital works by artists, the museum announced on Thursday.

In conjunction with the gift, the museum has also acquired two new digital works by Canadian-Korean artist Krista Kim and for its permanent collection British artist Shantell Martin. Kim’s work is a gift to the museum, while Martin’s work was commissioned through Hilton’s Acquisition Fund.

The museum wouldn’t say how much Hilton’s gift was worth, but “it’s an acquisition move that will significantly impact our collection and expand our knowledge and ideas around digital art,” Dhyandra Lawson, associate curator in LACMA’s photography department, tells The Times. “And it will allow us to survey a variety of art practices within the broad spectrum of digital art.”

Funds will go towards Expansion of the museum’s digital art holdings Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, animation, graphics, multimedia installation, photography, NFTs, performance, software, sound and video art – and which future areas will arise in the course of technological development.

“We can see artists moving from one platform to the next,” says Lawson. “In recent years there has been a wave of experimentation and continued exploration. And digital art offers artists new ways to engage with what we would call traditional media like drawing and painting.”

Although Hilton has attended LACMA’s fundraising gala in the past, The acquisition initiative is her first major donation to an art museum. Hilton said in an email interview that she both makes and collects digital art, “including my first NFT in 2020 to raise funds for victims of the Australian wildfires. I have always loved LACMA and now with my husband [Carter Reum] As a board member of the museum, I am delighted to be a part of LACMA’s journey into the future.”

Providing the funds to acquire works by women artists is key, says Hilton.

“With my media venture 11:11 and this current chapter of my career,” she says, “uplifting and empowering women is a focus of mine alongside my community involvement. LACMA has always been at the forefront of supporting artists and digital artists so it made perfect sense to partner with LACMA to start this initiative and I was so excited to be a part of it.”

A digital work of art.

Shantell Martin, “The Question2022, an NFT work.

(By Shantell Martin)

The two new digital acquisitions are video works that are delivered as NFTs. Kim’s Continuum: Los Angeles (2022) takes inspiration from the ever-changing LA sky, with a gradation of color that changes over 40 minutes. Electronic music duo Ligovskoï created the work’s original sound elements.

Martin’s The Question (2022) “uses digital technologies to encourage drawing,” according to the museum’s announcement. Both works “explore the impact of digital technology on human perception and interaction.” They will be featured in an upcoming exhibition exploring digital innovation by featured artists in the collection of LACMA. The exhibition is a co-presentation with Arizona State University, where it will be on display this fall.

LACMA has a long history of technology-driven art. Its arts and technology program, which awarded artist grants, was founded in 1967 by the museum’s early days Full-time curator of modern art, Maurice Tuchman. This initiative ended in 1971, but LACMA revived it in 2013 with the new Art + Technology Lab. “And we’ve been supporting artists annually ever since,” says Lawson.

The museum’s digital art collection is now substantial, she says. “LACMA has been collecting digital art since the advent of the internet in the late 1990s. And some of the best examples come from women.”

These include “major works” by Mariko Mori and Diana Thater, as well as more recent works acquired by Petra Cortright and Cao Fei between 2000 and 2010.

The acquisition initiative seeks to encourage this dynamic for female artists while also responding to a broader art historical direction that has favored innovation by male artists and in the tech world.

“I think our perceptions and associations with technology tend to be gendered,” says Lawson. “But women artists worked innovatively just as early as men. It’s just that they haven’t garnered the same amount of attention and notoriety. That is why this initiative is so important.”

LACMA director Michael Govan said in the announcement that the museum “has always been interested in experimentation and risk-taking in art.”

The initiative, he added, “will help the museum — and Los Angeles — continue to evolve as a major hub for digital art.” Paris Hilton is LACMA’s newest patron for digital art

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