It’s Getting Hard to Tell If a Painting Was Made by a Computer or a Human


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In all aspects of life, machines are slowly taking over. But are we losing out on the essence?

Michael Connor, the artistic director of Rhizome, a non-profit that provides a platform for digital art, agrees. He describes the gap between silicon- and carbon-based artists as wide and deep: “Making art is not the sole role of being an artist. It’s also about creating a body of work, teaching, activism, using social media, building a brand.” He suggests that the picture Elgammal’s algorithm generates is art in the same way that what a Monet forger paints is art: “This kind of algorithm art is like a counterfeit. It’s a weird copy of the human culture that the machine is learning about.” He adds that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: “Like the Roman statues, which are copies of the original Greek figures, even copies can develop an intrinsic value over time.”

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Rene Chun — Artsy

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Wiki – Diane Arbus (/dˈæn ˈɑːrbəs/; March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer and writer noted for photographs of marginalized people—dwarfsgiantstransgender people, nudistscircus performers—and others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal.

Walker Evans called her a huntress—and she was as matter-of-fact about her predilections as her biographers are flustered. “She told me she’d never turned down any man who asked her to bed,” recalled one confidante at the time. “She’d say things like that as calmly as if she were reciting a recipe for biscuits.” Friends remembered her confessing compulsively or weeping while recounting these episodes. Others said she appeared dignified, coolly unafraid. They might all have been telling the truth. Her adventures were probably a combination of the desperate, dull, thrilling, numbing, humiliating—aren’t yours? But they’ve only ever been interpreted as tragic, as a symptom of depression and hideous loneliness, as proof that she was, in Schultz’s words, “a living suicide algorithm.”

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Parul Sehgal — Bookforum

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THE MOZART EFFECT


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Music is not a drug that incapacitates the listener and produces a predictable result. A whole lifetime spent listening to Bach will not automatically make a woman love God. And – despite the warning of two generations of moralists – a lifetime listening to the Rolling Stones will not make a man fornicate. Particular kinds of music may express things that appeal to the listener, and the listener may select a particular kind of music because he finds that it resonates with his own pre-musical emotional condition, but the music itself can never cause the listener to act. Action is a function always of the will, and while music may prod, and it may suggest, it cannot force. We must indeed pay the piper, but we always choose the tune and decide whether or not to dance.

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Michael Linton — Future Symphony Institute

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Literary Desire


In this review of Rita Felski’s The Limits of Critiquethe author looks at contemporary literary criticism.

Felski asks what might happen if we looked not “behind the text” but “in front of the text, reflecting on what it unfurls, calls forth, makes possible.” In doing so, she seeks to rehabilitate the validity and importance of what we might call “literary desire”: the force that drives you to reread your favorite book yet again; or to finish that work of genre fiction even when you know the ending; or to press a beloved book awkwardly into a distant acquaintance’s hands in hopes that she, too, will come to love what you love and might one day talk with you about it.

First Things

Painting by Brianna Keeper

Calibri’s Scandalous History


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Somehow Calibri font seems to be there in recent scandalous events.

Since 2007, Calibri has figured in several other forgery allegations. In 2012, the Turkish government accused approximately three hundred people of plotting a coup, on the basis of documents that had been printed in Calibri but were purported to date from as early as 2003. De Groot sent a form letter in response to the many inquiries he received from Pakistan. “In my opinion, the document in question was produced much later” than 2006, he wrote. While Microsoft had by then released a beta version of its Office suite that included Calibri, de Groot pointed out that only “computer nerds” and “font lovers” were using it. “Why would anyone use a completely unknown font for an official document?”

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Ross Arbes — The New Yorker

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What the Minotaur can tell us about Picasso


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His Minotaurs appear in scenes both of rape and of tender eroticism, as monsters and as victims and as heroes. In one piece from 1937, Minotaure dans une barque sauvant une femme, the monster is a saviour, hoisting a limp woman into his boat. In the Minotauromachie, the Minotaur, hulkingly huge on the right of the etching, reaches his arm out to block the light from a little girl’s candle. The girl is entirely unafraid; the monster, apparently, scared to be seen. But then he is also, as the viewer can hardly fail to notice, beautiful – a self-portrait that, once again, reads as a confession masking a boast, and vice versa.

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Tim Smith-Laing — Apollo

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FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: A FORCE OF NATURE


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It is said that the character of Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead was inspired by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “The self-proclaimed “world’s greatest architect” was an inspired talent-spotter, employing brilliant female assistants”. Today’s needull talks about this aspect of Wright.

Driven by big ideas and a desire to reach nationwide audiences, Wright mastered any number of presentation techniques, from coloured pencil drawings to books, magazines, exhibitions, monographs, films, radio and television. He even appeared on the popular TV quiz show, What’s My Line? He also knew—the MoMA exhibition is very good on this—how to attract talented young assistants, some straight from high school, who, quite simply, drew beautifully. In fact, the MoMA exhibition reveals many of the set-piece Wright drawings to be the work of assistants, notably Jack Howe, known as “the pencil in FLW’s hand”, who, joining the studio in 1932 aged 19, was its chief draughtsman from 1937 when Fallingwater in Pennsylvania—one of the most renowned of all US buildings—was under construction.

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Jonathan Glancey — The Art Newspaper

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