Art.sy and the Art Genome Project

11 Oct

On Monday this week the art curation website Art.sy launched. Art.sy provides a new way for people to discover art and is based on the Art Genome Project. Much like how the music streaming service Pandora curates art according to what songs you like, Art.sy curates art based on your visual taste. The website has one of the biggest collections of art online and comprises more than 17,000 artworks by over 3,000 artists from leading galleries, museums, private collections, foundations, and artist estates. Art.sy works with more than 300 of the world’s leading galleries, museums, private collections, foundations, and artist estates from New York to London, Paris to Shanghai, Johannesburg to São Paulo.

As Melena Ryzik noted in the New York Times:

Any music fan knows that there are myriad ways to find new songs online: a scroll through digital playlists and streaming radio services like Pandora, which serve as musical recommendation engines. Likewise, Netflix subscribers are regularly showered with suggestions for, say, romantic comedies and horror films, based on previously viewed movies.

But until now, there was no automated guidance for art lovers seeking discoveries online — no “If you like Jackson Pollock’s ‘No. 1,’ you may also enjoy Mark Rothko’s ‘No. 18.’ ”

For the Art Genome Project, Matthew Israel, 34, who holds a Ph.D. in art and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, leads a team of a dozen art historians who decide what those codes are and how they should be applied. Some labels (Art.sy calls them “genes” and recognises about 800 of them, with more added daily) denote fairly objective qualities, like the historical period and region the work comes from and whether it is figurative or abstract, or belongs in an established category like Cubism, Flemish portraiture or photography.

Other labels are highly subjective, even quirky; for contemporary art, for example, Art.sy’s curators might attach terms like “globalisation” and “culture critique” to give ideological context.

Maybe Tumblr or Pinterst is more your bag, but new channels for finding art are always welcome.

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