Tina Rivers Ryan will write a series of articles assessing the present and future impact of blockchain technologies on the criticism and curation of contemporary art. The unifying theme of her articles will be “decentralization,” a key but hotly contested concept in the so-called Web3 space, which generally opposes the centralization of power by “gate-keepers” and institutions. Building on the recent work of artists and cultural workers such as Ruth Catlow and Simon Denny, Ryan will consider what decentralization is in theory and in practice; how decentralization might upend the art world’s models of criticism and curation (or, alternatively, how those models might upend Web3’s understanding of decentralization); and how we might use decentralization as a lens through which to reframe existing debates in the art world over power, authority, and community. Possible topics include the shifting nature of “expertise” in an increasingly technologized art world; the merits and limits of automated and distributed models of critical and curatorial labor; the potentials and paradoxes of decentralized art institutions; and the fault lines between decentralization and democracy, especially as the latter is imagined and contested by contemporary art.

Tina Rivers Ryan is a curator and critic who specializes in art since the 1960s, with a focus on artists using media technologies. Her writing about the history of art and technology—including kinetic, video, internet, and virtual reality art—has appeared in magazines including Artforum and Art in America and catalogs from institutions including Dia Art Foundation in New York, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Since 2017 Ryan has worked as curator at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo, New York. She recently co-curated the exhibition Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art with artist Paul Vanouse, which was awarded a 2022 Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators. Previously she was curatorial assistant in the Modern and Contemporary Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She holds a PhD in art history from Columbia University.