Lately, I’ve wondered if the unique renderings created by Dall・E2 ( the AI software that converts text to images) qualify as art? 

What defines art? 

I don’t resonate with a lot of the art I see in museums. Yet, it must be art if it’s in a museum, right?

When I was a teenager, my parents hated the music I listened to; they called it noise. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon recently marked its 50th anniversary. It’s been on the charts the entire time. Was my parent’s noise art?  

What signifies an artist?

-A person who channels the zeitgeist?

-Someone who allows us to see something inside them that we recognize in ourselves?

-An individual with insight into the human condition, which enables us to experience where we belong?

Or a derivative algorithm?

The last statement sounds pejorative, but isn’t most art derivative? Is that not the definition of an artistic movement or period?

In his book Being You, A New Science of Consciousness, Anil Seth claims that we don’t directly experience the world as it is, but rather as we are. Maybe art lacks objective standards and instead is defined by who we are?

I love impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Several years ago, we visited the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which has a fabulous collection. A close-up view of Van Gogh’s self-portrait gives the appearance of haphazard dabs of pigment on canvas… until one steps back!

I can’t explain why Van Gogh’s paintings are compelling. He wasn’t commercially successful during his lifetime. Yet, today, he is recognized as one of the greatest artists ever. 

What changed?

Music is my favorite art form. Sometimes I mishear lyrics for my favorite songs. I lock them in my brain and insert them into the music, even when I know they’re wrong. Does that impact the artistic merit of the song?

Actress Judy Garland commented on the artistic journey: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.”

Bob Dylan is the poster child for that. Song lyrics won him the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016. Dylan elected not to attend the ceremony. Later, Alexandra Schwartz in The New Yorker commented on the rambling 27-minute acceptance speech Dylan recorded and sent to the Nobel committee, where he questioned his qualifications to win the prize. Schwartz’s comment: 

“He is onto something true and vital here: literature is not simply writing, or even good writing, but above all a way of examining the conditions of the human soul, and of trying to inform and guide one’s own.”

If derivative algorithms create images the public resonates with, perhaps one day, computer science courses will be added to the curriculum of fine art schools. Why not? Electronic music is popular, and it’s created by sampling and manipulating audio files.

Art is entering a new era. Computer algorithms now render unique images by building on the catalog of previous creations. Is that different from the Rolling Stones building on the Mississippi Delta Blues? Who’s to say one is art and the other isn’t?

Art will evolve as technologies advance. Perhaps more important than how it’s created is it’s capacity to move us.


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2 Replies to “Art”

  1. Tim—You have now entered into a zone that has been Joan’s and my # 1 activity over the past 18 years—-that is how long her Malkerson Gallery 408 has been open here in Carrizozo, NM. Why are we here instead of sunny Florida or Arizona playing retirement golf? Because she said she wanted to find a small town in the Southwest and ” Make a Difference in the World of Art” !!
    For the last eight years I have been running the largest photo gallery in the state of New Mexico here in Carrizozo as well….. Joan also helps run an Artist in Residence Program that has seen over 50 individual artists come and stay in our little town –each one for about a month— over the past 6 years…..on top of that she has personally created over 6 major art installations of her own across a wide variety of thought and art mediums from oil paintings, to bronze heads, to ceramic pieces, to tapestries, to acrylic paintings , to even painted 80 lb aluminum casted BURROS. Our photo gallery for the past seven years has been the exclusive home of the annual NM Magazine Photo Contest Winners—this year 2600 entries from over 700 photographers and I am even one of the just 6 judges——We chose 31 winning photos in 6 different categories—People, Animals, Landscape, Nightscapes, New Mexico Experience and Mobile. They are all always in the February issue of the NM Magazine.

    Now back to your comments—– they are fantastic and really show the wide range of thought and emotion that are necessary to understand and enjoy the world of art —visual or auditory. It is a very personal response to the world around each of us—one that can be shared with others but also strikes a personal chord or piece of our memory, forward thought or heart !! Your last sentence really sums it up from my experience of watching and talking to hundreds of customers that come into our Galleries and seeing each react to totally different pieces of art ——ART WILL EVOLVE AS TECHNOLOGIES ADVANCE. PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW IT’S CREATED IS IT’S CAPACITY TO MOVE US !!!!

    Thanks as always for your great thought and insight into the world around us—–Wren.


    1. You guys have done absolutely amazing things in Carrizozo. Talk about fun and impact!!! I’m shocked it’s been 18 years already. I would’ve guessed 10. I would love to visit again. Maybe someone reading this comment will be motivated to drop in. I hope so!!


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