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Sebastian Cwilich (left) and Carter Cleveland (here at a gallery called Haunch of Venison) have constructed an art “genome.”
Photo: Eric Ogden

According to Art.sy, [selected] works all share the same DNA, so to speak…a team of art historians have spent the past year studying thousands of works and compiling a list of their distinct and measurable elements. The result is the Art Genome, composed at present of more than 550 “genes”: attributes of fine art that range from the simply factual (the medium, the color palette) to the undeniably subjective (the “movement” a work falls into, or its “subject matter”). Using these attributes, Art.sy’s recommendation engine can evaluate a piece on the fly and suggest relationships with other works, presenting those results on any device—even, eventually, a phone…

By teasing out traits in artworks that link them together aesthetically and historically, Art.sy can draw on buyers’ own taste to suggest other works to them, in some cases circumventing (if not entirely dispensing with) the choices put forward by gallerists and critics. On Art.sy, a would-be collector can select a work of art and get presented with a range of “similar” work, much of it for sale. And what this will represent in practice is not just more products to buy but—potentially—future geniuses to coronate.

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Shahan Mufti
Wired

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