NFT Art: Who Is Refik Anadol?

Refik Anadol

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has for the first time included NFTs in its permanent collection, with the items in question including, most notably, work by renowned artist Refik Anadol. Also, in collaboration with the Yawanawa community, Anadol earlier this year released a highly valued new NFT collection called Winds of Yawanawa, while ongoing creative innovation continues at Refik Anadol Studio.

There was some much-needed positive news for NFTs this week, thanks to Refik Anadol, a globally renowned digital artist whose work can be found on display around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which is now in permanent possession of his tokenized art.

Anadol has also enjoyed NFT success this year–beating the bear market in the process–through a collection produced in collaboration with an Amazonian rainforest tribe called the Yawanawa, so let’s take a look at these stories, at Anadol’s background, and at his future NFT and Web3-related plans.


The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is an iconic art venue, and it has now for the first time included NFTs in its permanent art collection. One of the works in question is called Unsupervised – Machine Hallucinations, and it’s by Refik Anadol, while the other is by Ian Cheng, from a collection called 3FACE.

Refik Anadol
Image credit: Refik Anadol

The Refik Anadol work connected to the NFT is displayed on a giant screen, and uses Machine Learning to create visuals based on data taken from 200-years-worth of MoMA art. The piece was donated to MoMA by digital collectors Ryan Zurrer at 1of1, and Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile and Desiree Casoni at RFC, with Anadol himself supplying hardware to the museum.

Refik Anadol

There’s been a huge amount of well-deserved praise for the acquisition, and it’s being excitedly hailed as a milestone, but it’s worth noting that not all critics are fans of the work in question, with one entertainingly savage review comparing it to “a half-million-dollar screensaver.”

Who Is Refik Anadol?

Based in LA, Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol is officially a big deal in the artworld, having installed high-tech creations at locations such as The Centre Pompidou and Charlotte Douglas International Airport, among many other famous settings. He’s known for huge-scale multimedia pieces that incorporate animated abstract visuals, and which are designed to fit into, and make creative use of, their architectural surroundings.

Recently, Anadol became the first artist-in-residence at the Sphere in LA, where he is putting on an immense visual spectacle called Machine Hallucinations: Sphere.

Refik Anadol
Image credit: AVNation Media

Anadol employs an entire team of co-creatives to execute on his plans at Refik Anadol Studio, and is always quick to utilize new technologies, including AI and Machine Learning. This embrace of cutting edge tech means that he is fully onboard with NFTs and Web3, and was quick to incorporate on-chain tokens into his launches, interconnecting physical and digital items.

Some notable Refik Anadol NFT collections include Synthetic Dreams and the various different Machine Collections sets, although all his works are collectible.

Winds of Yawanawa

Earlier this year, Anadol released a new NFT collection called Winds of Yawanawa, which was created in collaboration with the Yawanawa community. The Yawanawa are from an area of Amazon rainforest in Brazil, and the 1,000 piece NFT collection was created using weather data from the Yawanawa village, and through taking creative inspiration from Yawanawa art and music.

Refik Anadol
From the Winds of Yawanawa collection

The result is distinctly Anadol-esque, with animated, swirling patterns and ambient, chant-centered soundtracks to create what some people refer to as data sculptures.

The Winds of Yawanawa collection minted in July at a price of 1.3 ETH, and despite NFTs being in the depths of a drawn-out bear market, immediately bucked the prevailing trend and soared in price on secondary markets, hitting a floor price high of around 12 ETH by September.

Refik Anadol
Winds of Yawanawa floor price from Coin Gecko

Floor prices then decreased to around 6 ETH, but have received a boost from the recent MoMA news, jumping to around 8 ETH and currently (at the time of writing) sitting at around 7.2 ETH, while a big 20 ETH sale came in this week.

Current and Future Plans

Refik Anadol’s exhibition on the exterior of the Sphere in LA started on September 1st and is scheduled to run for four months from that date, and he also has several permanent or ongoing exhibitions at various locations around the world, and a new one coming up in Tokyo from mid-October.

Refik Anadol
Image credit: Ben Davis

As for NFTs, there’s a new collection in the pipeline called Glacier Dreams. This has actually been scheduled for a long time, as part of the roadmap at Refik Anadol Studio, although details around the mint have yet to be announced, and not much is known at the moment.

There are ongoing plans for an art-oriented metaverse project called Dataland, but this appears to be a work in progress and experimental, and there are no substantial developments at the moment.

Refik Anadol Studio has a very active Discord community for NFT collectors, and this is the best place to keep up with all the latest announcements, keeping in mind that the studio sometimes has complicated (but very interesting) mint arrangements for current holders of Anadol’s NFTs.

In the world of NFT art there are some collections that have established a position as high status grails. That would certainly include Fidenzas, Chromie Squiggles, Ringers, and Autoglyphs, among some others. Refik Anadol’s art is different–it’s digital but often primarily physical, with NFTs attached–but still, his work and his unique techniques are adjacent to those renowned, grail collections.

NFT Art: Who Is Refik Anadol? - - 2024

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NFT Art: Who Is Refik Anadol? - - 2024
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