AI and the Generative Art Market- Art Pieces

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AI Driven Art Pieces

Five AI-driven art pieces are the Portrait of Edmond Belamy, Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 2, Deep Meditations, Memories of Passersby I, and LAUREN. An overview of these pieces is provided below.

Portrait of Edmond Belamy

  • This art piece was created by Obvious, a collective of artists comprised of Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel, and Gauthier Vernier.
  • The artists' AI approach is the GAN (generative adversarial network), which are Machine Learning algorithms that generate images.
  • To create this specific piece, they entered a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and the 20th century to the system. The Generator algorithm created a new image based on the data set, while the Discriminator algorithm spotted the differences between the human-made paintings and the ones created by the Generator. Their objective was to fool the Discriminator into thinking that the new images were made by humans.
  • The work is a portrait of a gentleman with a dark frock coat and a plain white collar. Its facial features are indistinct and "the whole composition is displaced slightly to the north-west." The artist’s signature, which seems to be an algorithm, is placed at the bottom right.
  • What makes this piece unique and relevant is that it is an algorithm-created portrait that looks old and contemporary at the same time. The work hit the auction block in New York at an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000 and it finally sold for $432,500.
  • The art piece can be found here.

Drawing Operations Unit: Generation 2

  • This art piece was created by Sougwen Chung, an artist and researcher from New York. She was named Woman of the Year in Monaco for achievement in the Arts & Sciences in 2019.
  • The artist's AI approach consists of combining "the mark-made-by-hand and the mark-made-by-machine" to understand the dynamics of humans and systems.
  • Chung created a robot named D.O.U.G. and generated a robotic arm’s behavior from neural nets that were trained based on her drawing gestures. This was done by collecting and saving gestures from previous drawings.
  • The work comprises a series of different paintings that resemble blue waves.
  • What makes this piece unique is the combination of human and robotic collaboration. The work was exhibited at ICC Tokyo, Japan Media Arts Festival 19th edition.
  • The art piece can be found here.

Deep Meditations

  • This art piece was created by Memo Akten, a media artist, musician, researcher, and philomath from Turkey.
  • Akten's AI approach consists of working with algorithms and custom software to combine critical and conceptual approaches with investigations into form, movement, and sound.
  • For this specific piece, the artist used thousands of images that were downloaded by a script from Flickr to train the neural network. The images seen in the final work were generated from scratch from fragments of memories of the neural network. The sound was generated by another artificial neural network that was trained on hours of religious and spiritual chants, prayers, and rituals from around the world downloaded from YouTube.
  • Deep Meditations is a series of works in different formats that includes a one-hour film, which describes a brief history of "the birth of the cosmos, the formation of the planets and earth, rocks, and seas, the spark of life, evolution, diversity, geological changes, formation of ecosystems," and the birth of humanity, among others.
  • What makes this piece unique is that it is aimed for the viewer to practice both introspection and self-reflection and, at the same time, it is a window into the mind of the machine.
  • The art piece can be found here.

Memories of Passersby I

  • This art piece was created by Mario Klingemann, a self-taught programmer from Germany.
  • Klingemann's AI approach consists of using neural networks, code, and algorithms.
  • This specific work is an IA machine installation that uses neural networks to generate an infinite stream of imaginary portraits, which are projected onto a two-screen installation.
  • The installation consists of a handmade chestnut wood console that hosts the AI computer brain and additional hardware, and two 65" screens that project a never-repeating stream of portraits of non-existing people.
  • What makes this piece unique is that it is the first autonomous AI machine to be successfully auctioned at Sotheby’s for $51,012.
  • The art piece can be found here.


  • This art piece was created by Lauren McCarthy, an AI artist from Los Angeles.
  • McCarthy's AI approach consists of "examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living."
  • For this specific work, the artist made an installation of custom-designed networked smart devices, such as cameras, microphones, switches, door locks, etc. to remotely watch over the person 24/7 and control all aspects of their home, simulating Amazon Alexa.
  • The art piece comprises a series of 360 photos and a film of a performance lasting several days.
  • What makes this piece unique is its focus on the tensions between intimacy and privacy, as well as the role of humans in the future of automation. It is important because it allows viewers to "rethink the value" of home digital assistants.
  • The art piece can be found here.