« back to artworks

ready-made token

silicium, solidity code, language

The ready-made token is a unique - though totally liquid - ERC20 token sold at auction on the Ethereum blockchain. Its name and form - a non-sensitive artwork - draws a continuity with the Dada program: granting a sacredness to a random commodity through the performative gesture of an artist. The ready-made token turns a cryptographic unit of value into an artwork the same way Duchamp elevated a common object to the status of artwork.

The creation of the ready-made token has been a long linguistic and semantic trick questioning the arcane of the contemporary art world and market. Indeed, the ready-made token has been signed under the name of Richard Prince. But no material connection has ever been made between this Richard Prince - the one signing the ready-made token - and the Richard Prince everyone knows for his appropriation art.

This hazardous mistmatch has drawn a lot of attention towards the ready-made token, showing how tightly the mechanisms of value production in the art worlds are connected to « linguistic games » and attribution logics. The well known american artist Richard Prince ended up trapped in this hominimy game: he got invited to the prestigious Rare Digital Art Festival, in New-York, to introduce the ready-made token.

ERC20 RMT on Etherscan | browse the GitHub repo

caption of the Rare Digital Art Festival website


At first I read this as Disturbed Gallery. Check.

— Richard Prince (@RichardPrince4) January 6, 2018

I have no idea what a blockchain is. That’s why I have one. Or not. I’m not sure. Maybe I do and don’t realize it. Anyway I still don’t know what it is.

— Richard Prince (@RichardPrince4) January 6, 2018

I didn’t make a token. I made a Ripple. But then someone took my Ripple and made a token.

— Richard Prince (@RichardPrince4) January 8, 2018

In before @ReadyMadeToken Is one of the most important works of the blockchain era of art. A second coming of "Fountain".

— Muhammad Khalifa (@mkhalifa503) January 15, 2018