Will AI-generate Art Excitement, or Fail To?

Will AI-generate Art Excitement, or Fail To?


It’s only a matter of months since Portrait of Edmond de Belamy – a 19th Century style portrait generated by artificial intelligence – sold for $432,500, against a valuation of below $10,000. Some are predicting a gold rush of AI-generated art.

But things don’t look so positive on this side of the Atlantic. This week, Sotheby’s put Mario Klingemann’s Memories of Passersby I under the hammer, selling for £32,000, well below the estimate of £40,000.

So why did it fail to excite?

Tim Ensor, Commercial Director Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge Consultants, comments:

“The ‘first-ever’ hype surrounding Portrait of Edmond de Belamy created an inflated value. The value of future AI-generated art will come down the to the same interpretation of creativity and value that art buyers have applied for centuries.

On its own, AI will not resonate with people on a creative level or make a significant impact on the art market. Mario Klingemann said that “neural networks are my brushes”, but creativity and artistic talent cannot be abstracted away like that. Buyers need to see the brush work, in addition to the machine.  

It won’t be long before AI-generated art makes a major and sustained impact in the art world, by combining emerging AI techniques with the artist’s imagination in ways never seen before, but only where the human creativity and ingenuity remains clear. At this point, we may not even be aware that AI has played a role.”

Food for thought…

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