Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Launches NFT Project

by Christopher Blay May 11, 2021
Nancy Baker Cahill

Nancy Baker Cahill.

In collaboration with the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (CAMH), a new site-specific augmented reality series created by artist Nancy Baker Cahill will be available online next Tuesday, May 18; Contract Killers has been developed into a Non Fungible Token (NFT) project  — four separate Augmented Reality renderings of a dissolving handshake will be minted as the digital assets.

The assets are minted on the Tezos blockchain and paired “with physical assets, rewards and consequences outlined in a reimagined smarter contract,” and three essays from the collaborators, who include Cahill; CAMH Director Hesse McGraw; and art attorney Sarah Conley Odenkirk, partner at the law firm of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. The essays offer the collaborators’ perspectives on what they describe as “the dangers of the collective amnesia induced by the rush to embrace, mint, and sell NFTs.”

Contract Killers will launch on May 18 between 10-2PM, PST on

Misha Libman, Co-Founder of, states: “We are so thrilled to work with Nancy and collaborate with Hesse from the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston on this project to bring clean NFTs on Tezos to the platform. Furthermore, Sarah’s diligence to create a smarter contract for NFTs brings us a step closer to restoring authenticity, identity, and magic to works of art.”

From the announcement:

‘Each AR handshake, recorded in front of a selected charged environment (listed below), represents a realm of obligation and agreement where trust evaporates, where stated contracts continue to fail individuals and communities.’

Social, 2021, Video/AR Performance, 14.1MB, MP4, Single Edition

Nancy Baker Cahill, Social, 2021. Video/AR Performance, 14.1MB, MP4, Single Edition

Artworks, from left: Judicial, Civic, and Financial. All works 2021, Video/AR Performance, 14.1MB, MP4, Single Edition respectively.

Art works from left: Judicial, Civic, and Financial. All 2021. Video/AR Performance, 14.1MB, MP4, Single Edition respectively.

Says McGraw: “I’d like to think Nancy Baker Cahill’s Contract Killers offers a way to see through the accelerating uncertainties of the value, purpose, and meaning of artworks on the blockchain. Contract Killers makes real the abject disintermediation of the non-fungible token as a form. In her work, we get what we came for, and see the possibilities of a media and contract form information. In the end, it’s a bright signal that in the age of trustless trust, where we choose to align ourselves is an ethic and a craft — a values statement of how we choose to be in the world. Here’s what I know: Trust Artists.”

Says Odenkirk: “At the moment in time that these NFTs are offered for sale, the marketplace is currently lacking in protocols, rules, remedies, or any formal structure that would protect NFT owners or creators against any number of eventualities, including but not limited to the loss of evaporation of NFT assets. Thus, a key component of this project is to suggest enforceable contract terms that will create a rational path to NFTs becoming a sustainable vehicle in the marketplace.”

To learn more about Contract Killers, please go here.

To listen to a podcast featuring Glasstire’s Brandon Zech and Christina Rees discussing NFTs and the implications for the art world, please go here.

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