Headlines: SeuratBot, Basquiat, Craigslist
1) SeuratBot Goes Up Against Actor in Art Contest
Robots can make art now - or can they? This piece in TechCrunch shows what happened when an actor was pitted against SeuratBot, a robot designed to create realistic drawings informed by cameras and digital scanning technology. The bot and actor Judah Friedlander were both given time to create a sketch of live model, after which a professional art critic was called in to judge the pieces. While the bot may have been able to more accurately replicate the figure, it’s worth noting that the critic deemed its work somewhat devoid of “emotion.”
2) Man Charged With Fraud for Claiming to Sell Stolen Paintings
A man in West Virginia was charged after posting a Craigslist ad for the sale of two paintings worth tens of millions of dollars. The accused, a man by the name of Todd Desper, posted the ad under the guise of attracting potential buyers for two paintings that had been stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in a 1990 heist that remains the most valuable single art theft in American history. Desper did not in fact possess either of the paintings he was advertising, and is being held under charges of wire fraud.
3) Opinions Abound on Record-Breaking Basquiat Sale
Last Thursday’s record-breaking Basquiat sale at Sotheby’s is still causing ripples in the art economy. An untitled Basquiat from 1982 sold for $110.5 million, the highest amount ever paid for a single work by an American artist, or for a work made after 1980. New York art critic Jerry Saltz appeared on NPR to discuss the sale as it relates to Basquiat’s history - Saltz generally seemed to have a good opinion of the sale and what it means for the importance of artists of color in the United States. Other opinions were less rosy. An essay in Forward notes the other side of the coin, the idea that paying such a huge sum for the artwork only serves to further mythologize Basquiat’s image, to make his art inaccessible and useless. What do you think?
4) Facebook Image Guidelines Released
Facebook’s rules surrounding nudity in images have always had an air of opaque, mystical divination - this week we finally have some transparency. This handy guide in the Guardian goes over what’s allowed and what’s considered questionable, with the understanding that at the end of the day, your images are being moderated by real individuals with subjective tastes - tastes that can sometimes prove problematic. (Link contains some artistic nudity.)