The AI-Art Boom

AI art “is really a term the press came up with in the last three to five years,” says Jason Bailey, founder of the digital-art blog Artnome. “Most of the artists I talk to don’t like to be called AI artists. But it’s become shorthand, whether people like it or not, for the work that’s being done”

In October 2018, Christie’s New York sold an algorithm-generated print that resembled 19th century European portraits, called Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy, for the staggering sum of $432,500, nearly 45 times its high estimate. The print, by the French collective Obvious, had never been exhibited or sold before coming to auction, and its sale stunned the art world.

When artwork is created by an algorithm, who is the artist—the programmer or the computer? Because many works of AI art are digital, how do you value a creation that’s designed to live natively on the internet and be widely shared? And where, exactly, is the market for this new kind of work headed? There are few clear answers.

AI art “is really a term the press came up with in the last three to five years,” says Jason Bailey, founder of the digital-art blog Artnome. “Most of the artists I talk to don’t like to be called AI artists. But it’s become shorthand, whether people like it or not, for the work that’s being done.”

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