Talk: Will the Metaverse Break the Artworld?


Join Cao Fei, Mimi Nguyen, Philip Tinari and Alfredo Cramerotti in this online panel discussion

In recent commentary, the Metaverse is frequently invoked in either dystopian or utopian terms. In this talk, we assemble a panel to tackle it in more meaningful, nuanced ways.

What are the Metaverse’s implications for artmaking, art production and creativity? Will it be another manifestation of the ‘second life’ that constitutes so much digital interaction today? Or will it grow to encompass all forms of life as we know it? Will it represent a break or continuation of how we make, sell, appreciate and interact with art?

This talk – featuring Cao Fei, Mimi Nguyen, Philip Tinari, Alfredo Cramerotti, and moderated by J.J Charlesworth – is the second in a series of discussions jointly developed and hosted between ArtReview and APENFT Foundation.

Venue: Zoom
Date: 23 September
Time: 5pm BST


Cao Fei, Artist
Mimi Nguyen, Associate Lecturer, Central Saint Martins
Philip Tinari, Director, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art
Alfredo Cramerotti, Director of Mostyn, Wales, co-Director of IAM Infinity Art Museum
J.J. Charlesworth, Editor at ArtReview (moderator)
Introduction by Sydney Xiong (Director, APENFT and Secretary General, Art Dream Fund)

About the panellists:

Cao Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou) is an internationally-renowned Chinese contemporary artist. Currently living in Beijing, she mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid and developmental changes that are occurring in Chinese society today. Cao Fei’s works have been exhibited at a number of international biennales and triennales, and international art museums, including MoMA, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate London, Centre Pompidou. Cao Fei’s recent solo projects include a major retrospective at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2021). Cao Fei was nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize and the Future Generation Art Prize in 2010, and was awarded the “Best Young Artist” and “Best Artist” at the China Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) in 2006 and 2016 respectively. Cao Fei received the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Award in 2021.

Mimi Nguyen is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London, where she leads the CSM NFT Lab. She is a doctoral researcher, and teaches at Imperial College London, Faculty of Engineering, together with Mana Lab, a ‘Future of work in Blockchain’ research group. Creative Director at Her previous research on creativity and human-computer interaction has been published by Cambridge University Press, Design Studies, Design Research Society, TIME magazine, and ACM Association for Computing Machinery.

A cultural entrepreneur working in contemporary art, mass media and the verse, Dr. Alfredo Cramerotti is Director of Mostyn, Wales; co-Director of IAM Infinity Art Museum; Art Adviser to the UK Government Art Collection, British Council Visual Arts Acquisition Committee, Italian Council program and Art Institutions of the 21st Century Foundation. He has curated and led over 250 exhibitions and events and 3 biennials (archive at and his publications include The Haptic Visual: Imaging as Life-Shaping (forth. 2023),Curating the Image: Notebook for a Visual Journey (2020), Forewords: Hyperimages and Hyperimaging (2018), Unmapping the City: Perspectives of Flatness (2010), and Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform without Informing (2009). He serves as President of IKT; Executive Committee Member of ICOM UK and of AICA; Co-Chair of VAGW; and Member of CIMAM.

Since coming to UCCA in 2011, Philip Tinari has led its transformation from a founder-owned private museum into an accredited museum across multiple locations, a public foundation, and a family of art-driven enterprises. During his tenure, UCCA has mounted more than seventy exhibitions and thousands of public programs, bringing artistic voices established and emerging, Chinese and international, to an audience of over a million visitors each year. From 2009 to 2012 he founded and edited LEAP, the first internationally distributed, bilingual magazine of contemporary art in China. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, and launched the magazine’s Chinese edition in 2008. Having written extensively on contemporary art in China, he was co-curator of the 2017 exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Based in Beijing since 2001 and fluent in Mandarin, Tinari is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a fellow of the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on US-China Relations. He holds degrees from Duke and Harvard.

Sydney Xiong is a professional art consultant and writer, specialising in collection management and art evaluation of post-war and contemporary art. Since her appointment as director of APENFT, she initiated Art Dream Fund, curated major NFT show Digital Wanderlust in China, launched APENFT Marketplace backed by the TRON, led the team to make investments in more than 30 NFT and metaverse projects. She has been interviewed and featured in Artnet, the New York TimesWhitewall and has participated in many internationally renowned forums, such as the TIME Roundtable ‘Uncovering the Mystery of NFTs’, among others.

About APENFT Foundation:

Formally registered and established on 29 March 2021, APENFT is backed by the underlying technology of blockchains Ethereum and TRON with support from the world’s largest distributed storage system Bittorrent File System (BTFS) to deliver the mission of registering world-class artworks as NFTs on the blockchain. The collection of the APENFT Foundation includes artworks by Picasso, Andy Warhol, and crypto-artists Beeple, Pak, as well as other high-end NFT collectibles of various categories such as Punks avatars and EtherRock, with a total value of more than $46 million. APENFT Foundation has successfully sponsored the ‘Art + Technology’ Summit at Christie’s in New York. In the future, it will curate a series of online and offline exhibitions with world-renowned artists and facilitate high-end IP collaboration.

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