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Is AI the Art World's Next Big Thing?

The portrait in its gold-leaf frame reveals a corpulent gentlemen, maybe a Frenchman, and, judging by the dark frock coat and plain white collar he’s wearing, maybe a man of the church. There’s an unfinished quality to the work, in that the facial features are left somewhat blurred and there are blank areas on the canvas. A tag on the wall reveals that the model is someone named Edward Belamy, and the artist’s signature at the bottom right, rendered in cursive script, lets it be known that this work of art was created by Artificial Intelligence.

It went under the hammer at the Christie’s Prints & Multiples Sale that took place from the 23rd of October this year to the 25th. It sold for an extraordinary US$432 000, announcing the arrival of AI art. Artificial Intelligence is making itself felt in a number of industries as we near the end of 2018, most notably healthcare, automobiles, and entertainment, like the online slots Australia and the rest of the world now provide, and now the world of painting can be added to the list.

Obvious Art Uses a GAN to Create
The work is one of a group of portraits created by Obvious Art, a French cooperative enterprise consisting of Gauthier Vernier, Pierre Fautrel, and Hugo Caselles-Dupré. They all depict members of the fictional Belamy family, and are products of the collective’s exploration of the interface between art and AI. The method they use goes by the acronym GAN, or Generative Adversarial Network.

Caselles-Dupré revealed that GAN is made up of 2 parts, the Generator and the Discriminator. He stated that the collective fed the system with a data set of paintings created between the 14th and 20th centuries, and the Generator’s task was to create a new image based on these. The Discriminator then comes in to play, trying to spot the difference between an image created by humans and one that the Generator produced, and when it couldn’t, the new images were kept.

A Modern Version of 18th Century Portraits
One of the most interesting things about this portrait is that it is a definite departure from our idea of what 18th Century portraiture looks like. There is something very contemporary in the piece, with it even resembling some of Glenn Brown’s art history appropriations.

Caselles-Dupré explains that the distortions are an attribute of the model, since the Discriminator would be looking for features like faces and shoulders in the image, and for now was more easily tricked than the human eye by the absence of these.

A Difficult Genre for AI
Certainly this genre of art is a difficult one for Artificial Intelligence to tackle, since we are very attuned to the complexities and curves of a face in a way that machines just can’t be. This, however, was all part of the collective’s thinking.

Caselles-Dupré said that they had done some work with landscapes and nudes, and even tried feeding sets of famous painters’ works to the algorithm, but found that portraits worked best. The point they are trying to make with these creations is that algorithms are capable of copying creativity.

Today's News

December 11, 2018

Unique exhibition on Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck opens in Turin

The J. Paul Getty Museum opens 'Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed'

New display brings together a selection of objects separated by over four thousand years

Exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the 19th century's largest private collection

Frick Executive Director Robin Nicholson to become Executive Director/CEO of Telfair Museums

Taj Mahal ticket price hiked fivefold for Indians

'Fearless Girl' gets new home at New York Stock Exchange

Richard Roth debuts new large paintings and compositions at David Richard Gallery

Ai Weiwei creates flag to mark 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Exhibition focuses on Dara Birnbaum's large-scale video installations from the 1990s

Museo Jumex exhibits Michael Smith's video Imagine the view from here!

Rare cache of posters set for auction shed light on the early days of Pink Floyd

Lacoste Keane shows the Halsey and Alice North ceramic collection

Gerald Peters Gallery opens an exhibition of paintings by the late Peter Rogers

Exhibition showcases an extraordinary collection of more than 100 European arms and armor

Christie's Finest Wines & Spirits totals $3.01 million

Exhibition presents an exemplary selection of Rhondal McKinney's intimate landscape photographs

Ponti Art Gallery to offer a remarkable oil painting by 20th century Italian artist Giuseppe Ar

Frederick Law Olmsted's 1859 letter describing his vision for Central Park to be auctioned

Paddle8 relaunches website with new design

Unseen work by celebrated British artist Henry Moore to go up for auction

Recently discovered Gruppe kicks off Kaminski's Thanksgiving Auction

Is AI the Art World's Next Big Thing?

Angel Otero debuts a series of recent works at Lehmann Maupin Seoul

Art Basel Miami Beach concluded with strong and consistent sales across all levels of the market

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Newly restored Titian's Rape of Europa set to be reunited with accompanying works

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3.- The Met's Rock & Roll exhibition reaches a milestone 500,000 visitors

4.- A new species of giant penguin has been identified from fossils

5.- Fondation Phi pour l'art contemporain exhibits works by pioneering artist Yoko Ono

6.- Comprehensive exhibition of Elfie Semotan's work on view at C/O Berlin

7.- 'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

8.- Major exhibition explores the romantic fascination with the Scottish Highlands

9.- Meet the Ercolines, the Woodstock lovebirds whose hug made history

10.- Dallas Museum of Art re-opens European Galleries after total reinstallation

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