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Nora N. Khan has emerged as one of the most important voices when it comes to all things related to art and technology. A Harvard grad with a degree in English and American Literature, she attended the most prestigious writing program in the country, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, before swerving into arts criticism, philosophy and curating. Her book Seeing, Naming, Knowing, published by the Brooklyn Rail in 2019, investigated the impact of predictive algorithms and machine vision on the arts. Later that year, she became the Shed’s first guest curator, bringing together artists to respond to and critique emerging technologies that, purposefully or not, replicate systems of oppression with the celebrated exhibition “Manual Override.”
The rise of NFTs has provoked a mix of reactions among those who deal regularly with art and technology. Some immediately embraced this new medium, while others distanced themselves from it. Khan decided that she wanted to wait a bit to watch it develop, and now, as Topical Cream‘s editor-in-residence, she’s made her first foray into the NFT space.
With the NFT platform Foundation to curate a sale, she organized “Experimental Models,” which Khan views as a way to highlight the work of female and gender non-conforming new media artists. The sale has the potential to shake up the NFT space, which has, admittedly, not shown an appetite for conceptually rich pieces. It also could add a diverse array of voices to an area of the art world that has largely tended to uphold white, male artists. With works by Danielle Braithwaite-Shirley, Rachel Rossin, Umber Majeed, and others, the sale is, in part, intended to bring artists who’ve rarely or never worked with NFTs into the fold.
To hear more, Khan spoke with ARTnews about her thoughts on NFTs and her slow research process.
By: SHANTI ESCALANTE-DE MATTEI