Given its rapid growth and the ongoing pursuit of technical innovation, it is evident that artificial intelligence will infiltrate different aspects of ordinary operations. In this article “What Do We Consider Art ?” we shall navigate the different realms of art.
Two A.I. bots, DALL·E 2 and Midjourney, are taking over and creating space that many people can share. This has outraged some artists, who claim it is unfair and demeaning to the skill and labour required to create their paintings. The same might be said about the latter, though.
Is Digital Art Real Art Or Just Not Art?
Similar concerns were raised when digital art first emerged, with claims that it was disrespectful to traditional artists because resources were easily accessible and required little skill, that digital tools make it easier and it’s “cheating”.
However, as time has passed, it has become clear that this is not the case and requires some skill, software, and familiarity with traditional concepts.
With the advent of digital art, the art market underwent a transformation as more individuals gained access; it became simpler to produce prints and distribute works to the general public. More artists were able to support themselves. It also made advertising, animation, and design more straightforward for businesses.
Is AI-Generated Art Really Illegitimate?
Similar claims are being made about AI-generated art, with the argument that it is not authentic since, as we have seen before, it takes no expertise. As someone who has worked with A.I. art, I agree that it doesn’t require much in the way of surface skills per se to create art with A.I.
Still, as artists, we create with a vision, so it can be said that anyone who simply applies paint to paper without any intentions and calls it artwork is inherently disrespectful to those who actually have a message to convey.
The same is true for AI-generated art; those serious about it spend time repeatedly iterating between versions, coining new terms, and researching precisely how they want their piece to look. They also meticulously shape their work to get closer to what he wants, which can take days. Shaming that effort can therefore be seen as disrespectful to the artist.
Why was there such opposition to these supposedly fresh developments, for which A.I. art is being criticized just as harshly as digital art was, and why has this treatment persisted over time? People tend to be fearful of change, resistant to it, and predisposed to seeing the worst possible outcomes; as a result, they often ask, “why should we change what we’re already doing?” and fail to see potential effects right in front of them.
What Is Art? Do We Have A Say?
Do we truly have a voice in what constitutes real art, though? It could be argued that not all art requires skill to be considered genuine art. For example, consider the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s “The Comedian,” which sold for $120,000 at Miami’s Art Basel, or Piero Manzoni’s “Artist’s Breath,” both of which are ironic and humorous but are still regarded as works of art.
Many artists have historically questioned what has been perceived as conventional art, from Andy Warhol, who used printing presses rather than brushes, to Darren Bader’s work “lasagna on heroin“, which involved injecting lasagna with heroin. Like everything else, art forms, art mediums, and instruments will continue to change. Because art is a part of our life, we can choose to accept it or not.
Trying to figure out what art is, its subjectivity and objectivity will only lead us further down a rabbit hole. We interpret it in our own different ways. The artist’s purpose is meaningless if each observer can interpret a work of art differently. When art enters the public domain, it becomes subject to fair or unfair judgement and criticism, and the creator is marginalised (Kevin Hayler, 2022).
Clive Bell, a famous art critic, once said, “There must be some one quality without which a work of art cannot exist; possessing which, in the least degree, no work is altogether worthless. What is this quality? What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions? Only one answer seems possible – significant form. In each, lines and colours combined in a particular way, certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions.”
Therefore, regardless of the media, everything that has shape and arouses our aesthetic emotions—such as beauty, enchantment, repulsiveness, and so on—could be considered art. Art is not only seen as an end in itself but as an end in itself (Thomas Munro, Roger Scruton; Britannica, 2022).
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