Posts Tagged ‘art’

By Chris Baraniuk

Now and then, a painter like Claude Monet or Pablo Picasso comes along and turns the art world on its head. They invent new aesthetic styles, forging movements such as impressionism or abstract expressionism. But could the next big shake-up be the work of a machine?

An artificial intelligence has been developed that produces images in unconventional styles – and much of its output has already been given the thumbs up by members of the public.

The idea is to make art that is “novel, but not too novel”, says Marian Mazzone, an art historian at the College of Charleston in South Carolina who worked on the system.

The team – which also included researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Facebook’s AI lab in California – modified a type of algorithm known as a generative adversarial network (GAN), in which two neural nets play off against each other to get better and better results. One creates a solution, the other judges it – and the algorithm loops back and forth until the desired result is reached.

In the art AI, one of these roles is played by a generator network, which creates images. The other is played by a discriminator network, which was trained on 81,500 paintings to tell the difference between images we would class as artworks and those we wouldn’t – such as a photo or diagram, say.

The discriminator was also trained to distinguish different styles of art, such as rococo or cubism.

Art with a twist

The clever twist is that the generator is primed to produce an image that the discriminator recognises as art, but which does not fall into any of the existing styles.

“You want to have something really creative and striking – but at the same time not go too far and make something that isn’t aesthetically pleasing,” says team member Ahmed Elgammal at Rutgers University.

Once the AI had produced a series of images, members of the public were asked to judge them alongside paintings by people in an online survey, without knowing which were the AI’s work. Participants answered questions about how complex or novel they felt each image was, and whether it inspired them or elevated their mood. To the researchers’ surprise, images produced by their AI scored slightly higher in many cases than those by humans.

AIs that can tweak photos to mimic the style of famous painters such as Monet are already widely available. There are even apps that do this, such as DeepArt. But the new system is designed to produce original works from scratch.

Outside the comfort zone

“I like the idea that people are starting to push GANs out of their comfort zone – this is the first paper I’ve seen that does that,” says Mark Riedl at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

The results of the survey are interesting, says Kevin Walker at the Royal College of Art in London. “The top-ranked images contain an aesthetic combination of colours and patterns in composition, whereas the lowest-ranked ones are maybe more uniform,” he says (see image above).

Walker also notes that creative machines are already producing work for galleries. For example, two of his students are experimenting with AI that can learn from their drawing style to produce its own images. One, Anna Ridler, has used this technique to develop frames for a 12-minute animated film.

Art such as Ridler’s still relies heavily on human guidance, however. So will we ever value paintings generated spontaneously by a computer?

Riedl points out that the human story behind an artwork is often an important part of what endears us to it.

But Walker thinks the lines will soon get blurry. “Imagine having people over for a dinner party and they ask, ‘Who is that by?’ And you say, ‘Well, it’s a machine actually’. That would be an interesting conversation starter.”

Reference: arxiv.org/abs/1706.07068

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2139184-artificially-intelligent-painters-invent-new-styles-of-art/

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A long-lost Jackson Pollock painting once owned by a New York City socialite — and worth up to $15 million — was discovered in a dusty Arizona garage, according to a report Tuesday.

The splattered abstract art, which hits the auction block this week, was unearthed in January 2016, when retiree Gordon Cosgriff called an appraiser to his Scottsdale home.

Cosgriff hired the appraiser, Josh Levine, to size up how much a signed L.A. Lakers basketball poster was worth, according to the news site.

But an orange and green painting — featuring Pollock’s signature splatter — caught his eye under a pile of art, he said.

“As we’re going through the stack and we’re down to this last piece … I was like, ‘God, that looks like a Jackson Pollock,” Levine said.

Arizona is generally home to traditional southwest paintings, not big name New York City modern art, but it looked legit.

Levine then launched a borderline obsessive hunt — and even hired a private investigator — to prove it was the real thing.

Levine traced the owner’s history and learned that his late sister, Jenifer Gordon Cosgriff, once lived in the Big Apple in the 1950s. As the “black sheep” of her Midwestern family, she hobnobbed with provocative artists.

Her friends included writer Clement Greenberg, modern artist Hazel Guggenheim McKinley — and Jackson Pollock.

Levine forked over tens of thousands of dollars to authenticate the piece and to prove Gordon Cosgriff’s was at a Pollock art showing. And he hired experts to investigate the style and chemical make-up of the paint.

“All I was interested in was, was it executed before Jackson Pollock was dead, before 1956?” Levine said.

Experts soon confirmed it was one of Pollock’s missing “gouaches” — a style in which he used paint, water and a binding agent between 1945 and 1949.

Levine was thrilled.

“I actually felt weightless,” he said. “I was actually kind of worried I was having a panic attack or something.”

The painting, which faded and slightly damaged, needs to be restored at a price of $50,000, he said.

The piece will be auctioned off on June 20. Levine estimated it will sell for between $5 and $15 million.

By contrast, the Lakers poster he was at first called to appraise was valued at just $300.

http://nypost.com/2017/06/13/jackson-pollock-painting-worth-up-to-15m-found-in-dusty-garage/

Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee creates three-dimensional fantasy worlds.

With her background in visual design and photography, Lee captures her dreams, experiences, memories and emotions by building elaborate sets for her ongoing self-portrait series “Stage of Mind.”

In one of her latest works, “La Vie en Rose,” Lee drew inspiration from a Korean proverb, “Life is a thorny path,” and sculpted thorns made out of resin and plaster to represent life’s countless hardships.

“Pretty much anything surrounding me can become a source of inspiration,” Lee tells CNN.

Lee photographs herself as a character in each set and then records their destruction using video. “I could have used other models, but I find it more suitable to model myself since my work is very biographical. It reflects my identity and my life.” Her creations are cathartic, a way to remember and meditate.

Each installation takes Lee between two to three months to produce — from buying supplies to setting up lights — and the cost of each set varies from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Lee works completely solo and her photos are free of digital manipulations.

“This entire process is an act of discipline and training. I wouldn’t be able to experience these emotions through Photoshop.”

Her newest images, which were recently exhibited at the Gallery GO in Korea. Below, Lee discusses her work with CNN Style.

CNN: Why did you choose to create “a room” to capture your thoughts and memories?

Lee: When we visit someone else’s room, we can guess a lot about that person. A room is an enclosed and private space and my work is about creating a space that represents my psychological state of mind. So I thought characteristics of a room would be suitable.

CNN: Does being Korean influence your work in anyway?

Lee: I guess there would be a subconscious cultural element, since the environment that a person grows up in affects his or her identity. Some of my previous works, such as “Nightscape”, “Resurrection” and “Treasure Hunt” depict the Korean landscape that I saw growing up.

CNN: Why do you favor creating real scenes, as opposed to creating them using software programs like Photoshop?

Lee: The fact that I’m reflecting on real events and emotions that I’ve experienced makes my work real. On the other hand, the fact that the scenes I am creating only exist in my head makes it surreal.
I am creating installations to bring my thoughts into the real world, and taking photos of them to capture a part of my life and reminisce that moment.

By destructing the scene at the end, I’m putting the moment back in the past, where it belongs. This entire, emotional process is an act of discipline and training for me. I wouldn’t be able to experience this through Photoshop.
CNN: Your gaze is always fixed away from the camera in your photos. Why is that?
Lee: I want people to look at the entire scene, not just the model. Also, by not revealing particular facial expressions, it becomes an indirect expression of my emotions and allows for a wider interpretation of my work. Even though I am a protagonist in my work, I want the person to appear as one of the objects in the picture.

READ: Chinese artist makes mountains from tower blocks and construction sites
CNN: What is most challenging about realizing your work?

Lee: My installation is a very labor-focused work. So it’s physically hard, and eventually it’s a battle with myself. Sometimes traumatic memories I have with the story I’m recreating disturbs me.
CNN: Tell us about your most memorable project.

Lee: “Anxiety” means a lot to me. It was a very experimental work. I consider the entire process of building a set, taking a photograph, and destroying it, as my work. In most cases, the photograph is the final result, but for “Anxiety,” I exhibited two photographs and a video.

“Anxiety”

This work addresses common worries, insecurity, and doubts that we go through in our everyday lives.
In it, a performer makes a strange noise and I’ve cut the sound of the phrase “it’s okay” per syllable, and she reads them as if she’s singing. It sounds very disturbing, but since the work deals with concerns and insecurity, I wanted to deliver those feelings to the audience more directly.
CNN: What is your dream project that you hope to work on?

Lee: I have a lot of projects that I’d like to work on. Since I’m creating different sets inside the studio, there definitely are spatial limitations and there are limitations to the kind of light I can use. I want to work in a really large space, so large that a person will appear as small as a dot. I also want to try building an installation in the back of a truck and move around like a traveling theater.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/21/arts/artist-jeeyoung-lee-surreal-rooms/index.html

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Urban artist Biancoshock has converted Milanese manholes into tiny rooms to spotlight the extreme conditions people around the world are forced to live in.

The satirical intervention — titled ‘Borderlife’ — draws specifically from living standards in Bucharest, where more than 600 people call the city’s sewers home.

‘If some problems cannot be avoided, make them comfortable,’ Biancoshock says ironically.

The artist describes his work as ‘ephemeral experiences’ that play with the urban landscape of European cities.

He made the headlines in 2012 with a stress-reducing installation at a Milan bus stop, where customers could kill time waiting for their bus by bursting bubble wrap.


This photo provided by Australian Synchrotron and the National Gallery of Victoria, shows an image discovered with X-ray fluorescence microscopy, beneath Edgar Degas’ Portrait of a Woman. (Right) Degas’ painting Portrait of a Woman.

By Merrit Kennedy

Using specialized X-ray imaging, a team of researchers in Australia has revealed a striking painting of a woman’s face hidden under French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ Portrait of a Woman.

The researchers believe the auburn-haired woman in the hidden work — which they also attribute to Degas — is Emma Dobigny, who was reportedly one of Degas’ favorite subjects and modeled for him in 1869 and 1870.

It’s long been known that another painting lay beneath the image of an unknown woman in a black dress and bonnet, housed in the collection at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. Since at least 1922, the research team explains in Scientific Reports, another form has slowly become visible, discoloring the bonneted woman’s face.

“Degas painted directly on the underlying portrait with no intermediate ground paint layer using exceptionally thin paint layers, thus little pigment is present to provide hiding power,” the researchers wrote. “The hiding power of paint layers often decreases as oil paintings age.”

Even as the traces of a ghostly form emerged over the course of decades, conventional imaging technology could only provide hints of what the hidden portrait looked like.

Now, an enhanced process known as X-ray fluorescence elemental mapping gives a far better picture. The technique allowed the researchers to scan for the individual elements — such as iron, zinc and copper — found in different colors of paint. This chart shows maps of elements the researchers tested:


(Left) Eleven elemental maps providing an overview of the construction of the painting. (Right) Detail of zinc map.

The team said the maps “can be used to deduce pigment use based on the elements observed within the context of the painting.” For example, “Fe and Mn are co-located in the hidden sitter’s hair … strongly suggesting the use of the brown pigment umber.” The researchers detected cobalt in the face, and deduced that it is “probably present as a blue pigment, which is useful in defining flesh tones.”

By layering the elemental maps together, the researchers were able to create this representation of the hidden work:

It didn’t take long for them to identify Dobigny as the painting’s likely subject, study co-author Daryl Howard told the BBC: “Once the image had come through, basically what I did was to look up Degas’s catalogue of works. And I would say in under five minutes, it seemed that we had a good match. … I think the likeness is quite amazing.”

The researchers think at least seven years passed between the two portraits. The earlier work uses lighter and cooler tones, while the later painting is warmer and darker. This was helpful to the imaging process — as the researchers explained, “his change in palette provides exceptional elemental contrast.”

The X-ray fluorescence technique was previously used on Vincent Van Gogh’s Patch of Grass to reveal a portrait of a peasant woman, as NPR reported in 2008.

The team in Australia said the technology has advanced since then — it’s faster and can measure “spatial resolutions on the order of the size of a paint bristle.”

This technique, researchers concluded, “will significantly impact the ways cultural heritage is studied for authentication.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/05/488824963/x-rays-reveal-hidden-portrait-under-painting-by-edgar-degas

A French tattoo artist who lost his right arm 22 years ago recently received what has been called the world’s first tattooing prosthetic arm.

JC Sheitan Tenet, 32, told ABC News today he received and demonstrated the first prototype of the tattoo machine prosthesis earlier this month during a convention in Devezieux, France.

Though Tenet has been tattooing with his left arm and hand for years, he’s now learning how to tattoo with his right arm using the “Edward Scissorhands”-esque tool, he said.

The tattoo machine arm was created by visual artist and engineer Jean-Louis Gonzalez, who goes by “Gonzal.”

Gonzal told ABC News today that Tenet can control the prosthetic arm with his shoulder. Gonzal is still working on perfecting the prosthesis and said he hopes the next prototype will give Tenet more wrist mobility.

Tenet said that he uses the prosthesis to do a little filling but that he doesn’t rely on it to do elaborate artwork. He added that the needle is disposable and that the prosthesis can be cleaned like a regular tattoo machine.

And though the prosthesis has an oxidized metal look, it’s not rusted or unsanitary at all, Tenet said. It was painted in “steampunk style,” he explained. Steampunk is a science fiction genre and design style that typically features technology and aesthetics inspired by 19th century steam-powered machinery.

Visitors to a new exhibition at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, won’t just be looking at art. Thanks to virtual reality, they’ll be exploring a Dali painting in a dreamy, three-dimensional world that turns art appreciation into an unforgettable, immersive experience.

The new exhibition, “Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination,” tells the story of the relationship between Salvador Dali, the surrealist artist, and Walt Disney, the great American animator and theme-park pioneer.

But the museum exhibition’s highlight comes after visitors have seen the Disney-Dali show’s paintings, story sketches, correspondence, photos and other artifacts. As visitors leave the exhibition area, they’ll be invited to don a headset to try the virtual reality experience.

Called “Dreams of Dali,” the VR experience takes viewers inside Dali’s 1935 painting “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus.'” The painting depicts two towering stone figures along with tiny human figures in a bare landscape with a moody sky. Users can move around inside the painting, using Oculus Rift headsets to navigate a trippy three-dimensional environment that includes motifs from other Dali works like elephants, birds, ants and his “Lobster Telephone” sculpture.

Accompanied by a haunting piano soundtrack punctuated by bird cries, the VR visuals also include a crescent moon, a stone tunnel and even an image of rocker Alice Cooper, whom Dali featured in a hologram he created in 1973.

“You actually have a three-dimensional feeling that you’re inside a painting,” said Jeff Goodby, whose firm Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the VR experience. “It’s not just like you’re inside a sphere with things being projected. It’s actually like there are objects closer and further away and you’re walking amidst them. It’s a vulnerable feeling you give yourself up to. It’s not like anything you’ve ever felt before.” The VR experience was previewed in New York for the media 10 days before its opening Saturday at the Florida museum.

Disney and Dali met in the 1940s in Hollywood, according to museum director Hank Hine. “Their sensibilities were very connected,” Hine said. “They wanted to take art off the palette, out of the canvas and into the world.” The exhibition looks at the castle motif that became a symbol of Disney parks, along with Dali’s “Dream of Venus” pavilion from the 1939 World’s Fair, which some consider a precursor of contemporary installation art.

Disney and Dali also collaborated on a short animated movie, “Destino,” that was eventually completed by Disney Studios. The six-minute movie, which can be found on YouTube, features a dancing girl with long dark hair, a sundial motif and a song with the line, “You came along out of a dream. … You are my destino.” Clips will be played within the gallery for the Disney-Dali exhibition and the full short will be shown at the museum’s theater.

The show also displays the Dali painting that inspired the VR experience, “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus.'” The surrealist work was Dali’s interpretation of a 19th-century painting by Jean-Francois Millet depicting two peasants in a field, heads bowed in prayer. Dali said that his work was a “fantasy during which I imagined sculptures of the two figures in Millet’s ‘Angelus’ carved out of the highest rocks.”

Museum marketing director Kathy Greif said record numbers of visitors attended its last two major shows exploring Dali’s relationships with Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Given the Disney brand’s immense popularity and the VR novelty, attendance expectations for this show are high as well.

Dali “wanted art that took you over,” said Goodby. “He wanted to take you away and do something different with your head and that’s what this does.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:bbb7d86c27c34a5d8a53310f2ece2c98