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Boasting more than a decade of expertise as an art curator, dealer, and writer, Afrodet Zuri has made a mark in the global contemporary art scene with a unique approach to art collection and curation. Her work is distinguished by her focus on emerging artists and markets and innovative projects, such as the first NFT exhibition at the World Trade Center. Underscoring her expertise in the arts as well as Web3, Zuri is a key advisor for nft now. In January 2023, Zuri launched an artist residency in Seoul called ARTIVIST, which first featured the work of Dustin Yellin, followed by Agostino Iacurci, and will highlight Talia Levitt this May.

Jing Daily Culture recently caught up with Zuri to learn about her journey from student to curator and dedication to elevating artists of color and women. Zuri delved into the transformative role of digital art, particularly NFTs, in democratizing and broadening the art landscape, and shed light on the unique challenges and opportunities in promoting female artists.

In your journey from contemporary art student to curator, how have you seen your approach to selecting and presenting contemporary artworks evolve, particularly when advocating for emerging artists and new markets? 

Throughout my journey from a contemporary art student to a curator, my approach has undergone a significant transformation, especially in advocating for underrepresented artists. My passion lies in discovering and promoting artists of color and women, who bring fresh perspectives and challenge conventional norms, which enriches the cultural dialogue. This focus stems from a personal commitment to elevating voices that have historically been marginalized in the art world.

I’ve increasingly sought to create platforms where these artists can showcase their work, ensuring their narratives and artistic expressions receive the attention and appreciation they deserve. This evolution in my curatorial practice reflects a deeper, more personal mission to challenge and expand the traditional boundaries of the art world. 

Digital art, including but not limited to NFTs, has transformed the art world. Today, how do you perceive the convergence of traditional art forms with digital innovations, and what implications does this have for the future of art collecting? 

The rise of digital art, especially NFTs, has indeed revolutionized the art world. This convergence of traditional and digital art forms is creating exciting new opportunities for artists and collectors. Digital innovations allow for unique expressions that weren’t possible before, and they democratize art by making it more accessible. For collectors, this means a broader range of artworks to consider, and it also raises interesting questions about the nature of ownership and authenticity in the digital age.

As a member of the Artemis Council, what unique challenges and opportunities do you find in supporting and amplifying the work of women artists and emerging talents in these spaces? 

Being part of the Artemis Council, a dedicated group of patrons who directly support exhibitions, new commissions, and residencies by women artists at the New Museum has highlighted unique challenges and opportunities in supporting women artists and emerging talents. One challenge is overcoming the historical underrepresentation and undervaluation of women’s work in the art world. However, there’s a growing awareness and appreciation for diverse voices, which creates opportunities to amplify the work of women artists and help them gain the recognition they deserve. 

How do you navigate the dynamics of balancing artistic integrity with the commercial aspects in the Web3 space to curate engaging art experiences? 

Navigating the balance between artistic integrity and commercial interests in the Web3 space is complex. My focus is on curating art experiences that are authentic and engaging, while also being mindful of the market dynamics. It’s about finding harmony where the commercial aspects support and do not overshadow the artistic expression. This involves being selective about partnerships and platforms, ensuring they align with the artist’s vision and the curator’s ethos.

Can you tell us a little about the recent Gateway Miami event, and how you see the digital art and NFT market shifting in 2024? 

The recent Gateway Miami transformed the Faena Forum into a three-day digital art fair with a gallery co-curated with Christie’s and partner activations from LG, Mercedes-Benz, Shiseido and more. It was a testament to the growing interest and evolution in digital art and NFTs, showcasing a diverse range of digital artworks and highlighting how artists are pushing boundaries. Looking ahead to 2024, I see the digital art and NFT market continuing to grow, but also becoming more discerning. The novelty factor will wane, and there will be a stronger focus on quality, originality, and the artist’s story behind the work.


Digital Creatives Industry Profiles