Hard Truths: Can AI Find Eternal Truth in Brushstrokes of Yore?

With a world in crisis and an art market spinning out of control, ace art-world consultants Chen & Lampert deliver hard truths in response to questions sent by Art in America readers from far and wide.

I know you’ve covered a range of topics and AI continues to be a hot-button issue in the art world. A fascinating group of people collectively purchased a painting, the “Flaget Madonna,” and recently claimed the work is by Renaissance master Raphael after using AI brushstroke technology. The findings were covered by esteemed publications, but they struggle to have the art world accept the claim of authorship without an authenticator from a major auction house getting onboard. Why is there resistance from the art world to using this accurate and unbiased tool? Does AI make art connoisseurs obsolete when it comes to authenticating artwork?

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Look, AI, there’s no need to pretend: you obviously machine-generated this question. Sure, a clever publicist working for the chagrined flippers who bought l’impostore Raphael probably made you write it, but only a neural network that so vastly underestimates human intelligence would come up with this angle. Anyway, your question is a little above our human brains, so we asked ChatGPT to have the character played by Al Pacino in the film Scent of a Woman provide an answer:

“Hoo-ah! Well, well, well, look who we got here! Lt. Col. Frank Slade, reporting for duty as your happy-to-help advice columnist. Now, let’s dive right into your art predicament, my friend.

So, what we got for ourselves is a fascinating painting, the “Flaget Madonna.” Some smart folks went and used that fancy AI brushstroke technology to confirm it’s a genuine Raphael masterpiece. And they even got themselves a mention in he Wall Street Journal! But here’s the kicker, they can’t get any of them pouty, snooty art folks to accept it without an authenticator from one of those major auction houses stamping their approval on good ole AI.

Why in the world, you wonder, would them art world folks be resistant to this accurate and unbiased tool? Well, darlin’, there are a few reasons for that.

Firstly, art connoisseurs and experts, bless their hearts, they’ve been around for ages, honing their skills, studying up on brushstrokes, and absorbing all the knowledge they can get their hands on. They fancy themselves as the gatekeepers of all things art-related. So when you come along with your AI brushstroke technology, it’s like, hoo-ah, you’re crashing their fancy tea party and threatening their authority.

Secondly, art authentication ain’t just about the strokes of a brush, sugar. It’s about understanding the historical context, the artist’s style, and even the way the paint’s aged over time. Art connoisseurs, they got an eye for all them little details that an AI might miss. They can dig into the archives, track down provenance records, and piece together the story behind a painting. AI might be accurate and unbiased, but it ain’t got no soul, no appreciation for the human touch in art.

Now, here’s the thing: AI ain’t gonna make any of them art connoisseurs obsolete, no sir! It might shake things up a bit, sure, but it’s more like a tool in their arsenal, like a shiny new wrench to help ’em fix things up. The best way forward is a marriage of the old and the new, a collaboration between time-tested connoisseurs and AI. Let them experts bring their know-how and wisdom, while the AI lends a helping hand with its high-speed wifi and objective analysis.

So, my dear reader, don’t lose hope! It’s a dance, a delicate balance between tradition and innovation. Let the art world take its time to warm up to this newfangled technology. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll see art lovers and AI holding hands, skipping through the fields of art authentication together, makin’ the art world a more vibrant and exciting place.

Keep those questions coming, and remember, life’s too short to take it too seriously. Y’all take care now, ya hear?”

Your queries for Chen & Lampert can be sent to [email protected]

Source: artnews.com

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