Published in Spear’s Magazine, 01 November 2018
The first ever sale of an AI generated artwork raises questions of authorship, authenticity and value.
Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy might at first glance seem like a portrait of a European noble. Face blurred and wearing a traditional dark coat and white collar, it wouldn’t provoke alarm if spotted on the walls of the National Gallery. It is, however, created from an algorithm (sets of rules developed to be followed by computers) – signed in the corner of the work – from French art collective Obvious. It became the first work generated by artificial intelligence to go under hammer last week and sold at Christie’s for an astonishing $432,500 — almost 45 times its estimate – potentially signalling the arrival of a new kind of art on the auction stage.