Christie’s are auctioning the first work of art created using AI.
In a bold move, which questions the idea of art and the intention of the artist, Christies will be the first auction house to offer for auction the first work of art created using AI.
Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, an apparently unfinished portrait of a formally dressed male subject, uses recognisable imagery of a historical sitting. The portrait is one of a series of eleven works representing the fictional Belamy family, named in tribute to the inventor of GANs, Ian Goodfellow – “Goodfellow” is roughly translated as “Bel ami” in French.
Conceived by Obvious – a Paris-based collective consisting of Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel and Gauthier Vernier the project explores the boundaries between art and algorithm. Using a method known as a ‘generative adversarial network’ (GAN) there are two parts to the process. The system was fed a data set of 15,000 portraits, one part of the process (“the Generator”) made new images based on the set, then “the Discriminator” reviewed the outputs until it deemed the result imperceptible as to whether it had been created by a human-hand, or could be attributed to the algorithm.
The work included in the auction is Edmond de Belamy, the ‘youngest’ documented member of the family or the ‘newest’ born creation of the algorithm. The sale will take place this October, Christie’s New York.