Christe’s this year’s Prints & Multiples has hammered an incredible $432,500, which might seem like not that pricey compared with other exorbitant masterpieces. However, this portrait sold for double the price realized by both an Andy Warhol print and a bronze work by Roy Lichtenstein which were hanging close to it. And this possibly French gentleman was created by not even a human being.
This Portrait of Edmond Belamy was created by Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) which is exploring the potential combining by art and artificial intelligence. After knowing it’s produced by AI, you might find this painting a little bit off in some ways. The whole portrait is located at the north-west rather than the center, and the face remains vague and unfinished. Not mention the unique formula signature at the bottom right. It still sold nearly half a million dollar which is over 40 times Christie’s initial estimate of $7,000-$10,000. How could this happen?
Of course, some savvy markets take advantage of the situation where the art world is currently not clear about artificial intelligence. But this did remark a new era’s beginning by a mainstream auction houses’ awareness of this new technology.
But can the portrait to be called as a piece of artwork?
It depends a lot on what do you think art is. Things with an aesthetic intention or inner sensibilities and feelings?
Ahmed Elgammal, director of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Rutgers University, has put a test about whether their AI-generated images can be called art, like a visual Turing test. “We measured the difference in responses towards the human art and the machine art and found that there is very little difference. Actually, some people are more inspired by the art that is done by machine.” He said. Artificial intelligence is created to analyze people’s behavior to mimic us to make decisions. It’s quite easy to understand why some people feel more in touch with sophisticated computing results especially with a huge amount of background data.
From last week’s #FreyrArtMonday discussion, more people said they love to experience the same struggles and sensibilities and strong feelings artists pour in their artwork. People always appreciate art strikes a chord with them or surprises them or makes them think, although it’s claimed AI is able to emulate creativity but no machine can express humanity, maybe never will.
However, AI is quite handy to help with some dull design work. Alibaba group has launched an AI platform capable of generating 8,000 different banner designs per second which added more tailor marketing bonus to their biggest annual online shopping festival, Single’s Day Event, which is just a few days ago.
And some people stand a point that artificial intelligence can be a future medium of art combining human mind and machine mind. It sounds more like a pretty good tool for everybody to personalize their own artwork, which still can be different from what artists do. Meanwhile, with this possibility, artists might have an even harder time to survive than now.
You can’t say whether there will be an AI to influence human’s preference and lead an art new trend. After all, art is what you see about it, which never really has a standard. It’s worthy to wait to see what potential future artificial intelligence can bring to the art world.
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