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People-Powered Museum Arkive Unveils its Next Acquisition: Aria Dean's Eulogy for a Black Mass (2017)

By: WebWire

SAN FRANCISCO (August 26, 2022) -- Arkive, the world's first decentralized physical museum, today announced its newest acquisition: Eulogy for a Black Mass by Aria Dean. Created in 2017, Eulogy for a Black Mass is a video work that explores the way memes, both in their content and their circulation, mirror aspects of Black life. This is the fourth work to enter the collection under the theme of “When Technology Was a Game Changer”—a phrase that captures Arkive's search for objects that reflect, embody, and witness turning points in art or culture driven by technological advances.

“Memes have something black about them,” Aria Dean proposes in her opening statement of the video essay Eulogy for A Black Mass (2017). While viewers are watching the videos Dean pulled from YouTube, Vine, and Instagram, they're listening to her narration of how memes, both in their content and circulation, mirror aspects of Black life. Her audio overlay explores the juxtaposition of Black death and Black joy online. This critical work from Dean's early career serves as a conversation starter on the relationship between digital culture, race, and identity.

Leading the curatorial and collections strategy for Arkive is Bay Area-based art world veteran Kelly Huang. Art curator Simon Wu and culture writer Isabel Flower guide the community through the acquisition rounds. Many traditional museums showcase less than 1% of their collections, and the items that enter their collections are chosen by a select group of curators and patrons. What we see in museums is a reflection of an institution's perspective of culture and history. At Arkive, the community—composed of everyday people who apply for membership—act as the acquisitions committee building Arkive's permanent collection and shaping culture in real-time.

“We're proud to welcome Aria Dean's Eulogy for a Black Mass into our collection and introduce our members to incredible artists and new mediums. Our process aims to be more inclusive than a traditional museum and provide more opportunities for works to be seen in real life through exhibitions and partnerships around the world,” said Tom McLeod, founder of Arkive. “We can't wait to see people experience this artwork when it's on display.”

This acquisition comes on the heels of recent milestones for the company, including its launch out of stealth in July with $9.7M in funding and three other community-led acquisitions. The first cultural artifact introduced into Arkive's gallery was the patent for the world's first computer, the ENIAC (1946). Next came Seduction (1985), a vintage print by Lynn Hershman Leeson, followed by the MTV Moonman prototype (1984) by Pat Gorman.

“It is our hope that through this first thematic exploration we can reflect critically on impactful moments in culture and art, as well as create a novel way of collectively preserving and sharing the items we bring into the collection,” said Kelly Huang. “We have been encouraged by the incredibly rich and thoughtful conversations our members have engaged in during each acquisition round. We will continue developing new ways to facilitate member contributions to the process and discourse.”

Arkive is taking applications for the first 1,000 members. As an alpha member, you will have curatorial power, access to IRL and digital experiences, and early access to Arkive's future NFT-based membership.

To apply to be an alpha member, visit

About Artist Aria Dean

Aria Dean is a New York-based artist, curator, and writer. Her videos, essays, installations and sculptures challenge the representational systems of race, power, and form. Her work is in the collection of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her writing has appeared in publications including Artforum, Art in America, e-flux, The New Inquiry, X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly, Spike Quarterly, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Texte zur Kunst, CURA Magazine, and November.

About Arkive

Arkive is the world's first decentralized physical museum. Arkive's brand-new model of how a museum can operate gives the people the power to curate and select what items are culturally significant, rather than institutions. Built by museum alums from MoMA and Gagosian Galleries, Arkive was co-founded by Tom McLeod, a 5x founder who exited his last startup, Omni, to Coinbase, and prior to that ran Pagelime (acquired by SurrealCMS in 2015), LolConnect (acquired by Tencent in 2012), and Imaginary Feet which developed 15+ profitable iPhone apps enjoyed by over 10 million users.

Arkive's investors include Offline Ventures, TCG Crypto, NFX, Freestyle Capital, Not Boring Capital, Awesome People Ventures, ChainforestDAO, Coinbase Ventures, Parade Ventures, Saltwater, Darling Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Coil, Paul Veradittakit of Pantera Capital, Joe McCann, Leore Avidar from Alt, Spice Capital, Chris Cantino of Color Capital, Marty Bell of Poolsuite, Flexx Chapman and Commodore from Krause, Ethan Beard, and Sarah Gibson Tuttle CEO of Olive & June.

For more information, visit

Media Contact

Brook Klingel

VSC on behalf of Arkive


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