Madonna Defends Her Nude NFT Collaboration With Beeple
Madonna defended herself against backlash this week after releasing a graphic series of nonfunigble tokens that feature a depiction of her nude body, saying the project shows her doing “what women have been doing since the beginning of time, which is giving birth.”
Madonna speaks onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, … [+]
The series of three NFTs are a collaboration between the 63-year-old singer and wildly-popular digital artist Michael Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, the creator of an NFT that sold for an unprecedented $69.3 million at Christie’s last year and helped kick off the digital collectible craze.
However, the graphic nature of the NFTs–which depicts a three-dimensional, full-frontal view of her vagina as it gives birth to a tree, butterflies and even robot insects–raised eyebrows online after the announcement, with one tabloid labeling the work as “a filthy attention grab” while users involved in the cryptocurrency space targeted Madonna with misogynistic messages, according to Fortune magazine.
In a recent Twitter Space interview with Winkelmann, Madonna acknowledged viewers might be “weirded out”–adding that “not often does a robot centipede crawl out of my vagina,”–but said that each NFT is “is essentially me giving birth,” which women have been doing “since the beginning of time.”
Proceeds from the auction, which ends Friday, will go to nonprofits that help support women and children, Madonna said, including the Voices of Children Foundation, which helps those who are living in refugee camps amid displacement from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday afternoon, the highest bids on the three NFTs were $27,906, $19,835 and $29,753, respectively.
“We’re always operating and living under the male gaze, and unfortunately pandering to what we think people want us to do,” Madonna said. “It is often a challenge to create works of art … and it isn’t always pretty.”
Madonna has been scrutinized for depicting sex in her work for decades. Her saucy performance of “Like A Virgin” at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards while wearing a wedding dress received backlash in 1984, and six years later the music video for her song “Justify My Love” was banned by the broadcaster altogether for depicting group sex. In 1992, she released an erotic photography book titled SEX that featured images of her nude and simulating sexual acts. The Vatican called the publication “morally intolerable” and asked Catholics not to purchase it.
The images of Madonna in the NFTsS were created using a full body scan and took a full year to complete. It’s the latest celebrity venture into the blockchain since NFTs caught fire last year. Other stars who have collaborated with artists to release their own NFTS include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Snoop Dogg. NFTs prices can reach into eight-figure sums, but there’s concern that the digital collectible market is showing signs of cooling as the average price drops and sales slow. When an NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet that sold for $2.9 million in 2020 was put back up for sale on the OpenSea platform last month, it failed to attract comparable bids. On Thursday afternoon, it had still not sold, and the highest bid was listed at $19,687.
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