Apprentice Work

In July 2013, an up-and-coming artist had an exhibition at the Galerie Oberkampf in Paris. It lasted for a week, was attended by the public, received press coverage, and featured works produced over a number of years, including some created on the spot in the gallery. Altogether, it was a fairly typical art-world event. The only unusual feature was that the artist in question was a computer program known as “The Painting Fool.” Even that was not such a novelty. Art made with the aid of artificial intelligence has been with us for a surprisingly long time. Since 1973, Harold Cohen—a painter, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a onetime representative of Britain at the Venice Biennale—has been collaborating with a program called AARON. AARON has…


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