Art.sy, an NY based startup which recommends visual art for users, launched its live version recently. The site has a stock of fine-art images and an online art appreciation guide, not to mention over 275 galleries with 50 museums and institutions as partners, according to The New York Times. Currently, there are already 20,000 images in the Art.sy reference system, also called the Art Genome Project. The company raises the question “can algorithms help explain art?”
Robert Storr, former curator of painting and sculpture at the MoMA said, “It depends so much on the information, who’s doing the selection, what the criteria are, and what the cultural assumptions behind those criteria are,. I’m sure it will be reductive.” In order to make correct suggestions for users, the technology has to label the art with different codes to identify the different between a Renaissance painting and a Modernist painting, and more. The technology also has to be able to make comparisons and connections between artworks. Matthew Israel, Ph.D. in art and archaeology from NYU, directs a team of art historians to apply these particular codes. These codes and tags can range from objective to subjective qualities of the art in question.