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MoMA Acquires Pioneering Digital Artworks by Refik Anadol and Ian Cheng

MoMA Acquires Pioneering Digital Artworks by Refik Anadol and Ian Cheng

Refik Anadol Moma

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has added digital artworks by celebrated artists Refik Anadol and Ian Cheng to its collection.

Anadol’s piece, “Unsupervised – Machine Hallucinations – MoMA (2022),” is an evolving data sculpture that employs machine-learning to interpret and recreate images from MoMA’s extensive visual archive. Drawing considerable attention since its unveiling last year, the artwork will still be on display until October 29. While some critics have been skeptical, likening the artwork to a mere “lava lamp”, others have lauded its profound dialogue with modernism.

Tech entrepreneur Ryan Zurrer, a leading collector of digital art, donated the piece to the museum. Commending MoMA for capturing the zeitgeist, Zurrer remarked, “AI is the defining topic of the moment.” He emphasized that the donation is a collaborative effort with Anadol, who provided essential hardware components for the artwork.

Anadol, a Turkish American digital art pioneer, is renowned for his immersive installations and performances, powered by data and machine-learning algorithms. His past commissions include notable venues like the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Furthermore, in 2016, he made history as Google’s inaugural artist-in-residence.

Cheng’s addition to MoMA, titled “3FACE (2022)”, utilizes blockchain data to craft a visual representation of its owner’s personality. This intriguing piece was a gift from Outland Art, a platform and publisher for digital art. MoMA has previously recognized Cheng’s innovative approach, already housing three other artworks by him and hosting a solo exhibition in 2017.

“Unsupervised” offers a unique take on MoMA’s expansive collection. Anadol utilizes AI to reimagine over two centuries of art, producing a dynamic digital masterpiece that constantly evolves. This piece not only reinterprets the history of modern art but speculates on its future possibilities.

Furthermore, Anadol’s creation responds to the surroundings of the Museum’s Gund Lobby, with fluctuations in light, acoustics, and external weather influencing the perpetually changing visuals and audio. Unlike typical AI applications that mirror reality, “Unsupervised” ventures into the realms of fantasy and hallucination, proposing an alternative perspective on the very essence of art. Based on blockchain-encoded works, this installation resonates with Anadol’s aspiration to “make the invisible visible.”

This news has been created in collaboration with Open AI’s GPT-4. 

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