Has Madonna embraced the blockchain?
The pop superstar’s interest in NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, caught some fans off guard in March, when she paid 180 ether, a digital currency worth $560,000 at the time, for an NFT of a tattooed ape from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of digital art.
On Monday, the singer released her own NFT series, titled “Mother of Creation” — three digitally rendered videos that recast her as a nude woman giving birth to flora, fauna and technology. The artworks are the result of a yearlong collaboration with Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple.
“This is such an absolute, insane honor,” said Winkelmann, who is known for selling an NFT in 2021 for $69 million at Christie’s. “I don’t do many collaborations. This is probably the only one I will do for a very long time.”
From Wednesday through Friday, Madonna and Beeple’s NFTs will be auctioned for charity through the online marketplace SuperRare.
“It’s counterintuitive to who I am,” Madonna said in a phone interview, explaining that her initial struggle with the concept of digital assets made her want to explore what she saw as the elements of faith and community that drive the NFT market.
From there, Beeple and Madonna developed three videos in which audiences have a full-frontal view of Madonna’s avatar giving birth to different organisms from a hospital bed, a rusted vehicle, and a forest floor. The singer has paired each video with poetry — some her own and some by the mystic poet Rumi.
“I never want to be provocative just for the sake of provocation,” said Madonna, insisting that the butterflies and centipedes she gives birth to in the video mean something. “They stand for hope. They stand for technology.”
Proceeds from the NFTs will benefit three nonprofits supporting women and children: the Voices of Children Foundation, which cares for those affected by the war in Ukraine; the City of Joy Foundation, which helps survivors of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Black Mama’s Bail Out, which provides bail for incarcerated caregivers.
The charity auction comes at a time when the NFT market’s future remains uncertain.
John Crain, a founder and chief executive of SuperRare, said that his company did $10 million in sales last month compared to a $35 million high set in October. He sees the discrepancy not as a sign of the NFT market’s demise but of its maturation.
“It’s been a frothy year, but marketplaces are inherently volatile,” Crain said. “There are fluctuations, but I wouldn’t call it a bear market.”