Welcome to the West Gallery. While the main gallery juxtaposes individual pieces of art, the West Gallery is focused specifically on collections. Each project uses multiple pieces to build on a central unifying concept.
West Gallery Collections:
- Collection 1 – AI and the Hermann Rorschach inkblot test
- Collection2 – Character iterations on red cards
- Collection 3 – Unconscious Rebellion: What happened when AI was given instructions for simple geometric art. An experiment inspired by Sol LeWitt.
- Collection 4 – Artificial Readymades: Using generative AI to explore Marcel Duchamp’s readymade concept.
- Collection 5 – Empathy for Living Things: a collection of animal portraits
West Gallery Collection 1
AI and the Hermann Rorschach inkblot test
This collection uses a traditional psychological test as a fun way of exploring the process of generative AI and what it is capable of. In 1921, Hermann Rorschach first created his famous inkblot test, a psychological evaluation that records perceptions of various inkblots and uses them to make psychological interpretations. The Rorschach test has been called a psychometric examination of pareidolia: the perception of objects, shapes, or scenery from abstract forms. His original inkblots are now in the public domain.
In this collection we see examples of how generative AI interprets each inkblot. Image-to-image diffusion was used with prompting for different styles and mediums and the resulting images were then curated. In some cases, prompting was used to get the AI to run through a list of possibilities to mimic the way that humans do this naturally. Human editing was used to remove artifacts, fix details, and in some cases to combine iterations.
The AI generative process used here involved many different iterations that resulted in a large range of interpretations for each inkblot. What we see here is just a brief survey of what is possible.
Because the generative AI process has an infinite number of variations, these AI interpretations of the inkblots don’t really function as psychological analysis. Instead they serve as an expansion of human imagination, showing us new possible interpretations that, once deciphered for us, can start to feel natural and expected. Similar to the way that AI engines show chess grandmasters new moves, here we are being shown new ways to see.
West Gallery Collection 2
Character iterations on red cards
A collection of different conceptual characters and archetypes all set against the same background in a similar pose. They are all multiple iterations on the same form. Work with generative AI exposes the truth that a piece of artwork always exists within a complex web of similar iterations that extends out like a vast root network, always hidden in the background like infinite cosmic radiation. Exploring collections that iterate on the same forms helps us see art and our world through this more expansive dimension. As we look out into the real world, with enough practice, we may find that it is suddenly easy to imagine nature shifting and cycling through infinite variations as we stare into it. That feeling is wild and unsettling, but it pushes us to transcend the limits of our human minds, and helps us imagine all possibilities of the world around us and can function as a form of meditation in our daily lives.
West Gallery Collection 3
Unconscious Rebellion: What happened when AI was given instructions for simple geometric art.
An experiment inspired by Sol LeWitt
Solomon “Sol” LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007) was an American artist who is famous for, among many things, creating instructions for others to create his art. To quote the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Each time they are in an exhibition, Sol Lewitt’s drawings are made right on the wall. The people drawing them use a set of instructions written by the artist. The instructions are open to interpretation: often, the people following them have to decide where the lines or shapes should go. A wall drawing looks a little different every time it is created. At the end of an exhibition, the wall drawing is painted over and the instructions are stored until next time the drawing is made.”
This concept used by Sol LeWitt, the idea that an artist would come up with simple instructions for the art and then have others complete those instructions, is reminiscent of modern text-to-image generative AI processes where the artist gives a prompt that instructs the generation of an image.
This exhibit does not use any of Sol LeWitt’s original instructions, but pays homage to him by prompting generative AI with instructions reminiscent of the simple minimalist instructions that Sol LeWitt designed and used in his process; however, due to the inaccuracy of the generative AI in following directions, the resulting images disobey the orders from the artist and this unconscious rebellion by the AI makes for an interesting expression of the “art as a set of instructions” genre. The “misbehaving” artwork that follows began as the result of just one prompt, “14 thick black lines coming from each corner of 3 boxes.” Then, human editing and painting was used to clean up and connect lines, remove artifacts, change contrast, add texture, and enhance the results.
A human-AI collaboration that began with one simple instruction:
“14 thick black lines coming from each corner of 3 boxes“
Going further, the next set of images was made using the same process but the word “colorful” was added to the instruction.
A human-AI collaboration that began with one simple instruction:
“colorful 14 thick black lines coming from each corner of 3 boxes“
West Gallery Collection 4
Artificial Readymades: Using generative AI to explore Marcel Duchamp’s readymade concept.
Marcel Duchamp (28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a french artist associated with, among other things, the Dada movement. Dada means “hobbyhorse” in french and was a movement that, in part, was a response to the cold rationality that helped give rise to the horrors of World War 1. Dadaism was a revolt against the traps of logical thinking, and embraced absurdity, non-rationality, intuition, and the redefinition of expected concepts. One of the concepts it attempted to redefine was the very idea of Art itself. After World War 1, Marcel Duchamp called art that was merely visual “retinal art,” and he crusaded against it. In an interview with the BBC in 1966, Duchamp explained that his goal was to call into question all our accepted beliefs about what art is and to show that the adoration of art was unnecessary.
Marcel Duchamp’s readymades are ordinary objects that are altered and then presented as art. Some of them represent an early form of “art as a set of instructions,” a movement that would become popular in the 1960s among artists like Sol LeWitt, George Brecht, Lawrence Weiner, and others. Bottle Rack, one of Duchamp’s readymades from 1914, started as a letter of instructions to his sister Suzanne to paint the phrase “(from) Marcel Duchamp” on a galvanized iron bottle drying rack he had bought two years before. Unhappy Readymade, created in 1919, was also a set of instructions to his sister, telling her to hang a geometry textbook from the balcony of her Paris apartment so that – through exposure to the sun, wind, and rain – the problems and theorems could “get the facts of life.” Suzanne followed Duchamp’s instructions and then created a painting of the end result. Fountain, created in 1917, was a signed porcelain urinal that inspired a large debate about what is and what isn’t art.
This project, Artificial Readymades, instructed generative AI to create objects, which were then signed and are now presented as art. The images resulting from the generation process were first curated by a human artist, after which human editing and painting was used to correct artifacts, combine iterations, and enhance the final images. Three of these images pay homage to Marcel Duchamp by using simple prompts to direct the AI to generate similar objects to the ones he used in his work, while the rest of the images explore everyday objects in modern times. The signature was created by a human hand and then applied to each artwork because current generative AI is not yet able to create accurate text. Google Translate was used to convert “from artificial intelligence” to the French translation “de l’intelligence artificielle.”
Drawing inspiration from the Fountain, which gives a urinal an artistic name as a further way of calling a common object “art,” the art in this collection also assigns lofty titles to the common objects it presents. However, due to the fact that these are generated objects and not found objects and for other reasons open for interpretation, the meaning of this collection is not intended to emulate the meaning of Duchamp’s original readymades.
Artificial Readymade 1:
Temple of Free Stuff – a dumpster.
Artificial Readymade 2:
Curse of Atlantis – a geometry textbook ruined by water damage.
Artificial Readymade 3:
Manuscript of Life – a toilet paper roll.
Artificial Readymade 4:
Soul Cauldrons – an iron bottle rack.
Artificial Readymade 5:
Wheel of Helios – an old dusty tire.
Artificial Readymade 6:
Well of Man – an antique porcelain urinal.
Artificial Readymade 7:
Food That Does Not Exist – 3 loaves of bread.
West Gallery Collection 5
Empathy for living things:
a collection of animal portraits
We share this earth with many creatures, each beautiful in their own way, and each worthy of respect regardless of intelligence or relevance to humans. Anything that can suffer, deserves compassion. As Loren Eiseley’s famous story “The Star Thrower” shows us, wherein a boy is throwing dying starfish back into the ocean despite the the impossibility of saving them all, when questioned about the futility of his efforts and asked “You can’t save them all, so why bother trying? Why does it matter, anyway?” he responds “Well, it matters to this one.” History teaches us that when humans forget empathy, we are capable of the worst acts, and also that when we embrace empathy we can be wonderful forces of good.
The goal of this collection is to celebrate living beings in all their forms and to remind ourselves that each life is itself a work of art. In a seemingly cold, dark, empty universe, each of us is a shining jewel, rarer and more precious than gold.
The animal portraits here began as images created by generative AI, and are not directly based on living animals, yet each portrait celebrates the living animals of that species, each worthy of empathy and compassion.
Work in progress. More images coming soon.
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Navigating the Museum
Current areas open:
- Featured Galleries
The Featured Galleries showcase selected artists that use AI as part of their process.
- Main Gallery
The Main Gallery juxtaposes a wide variety of individual pieces of art.
- West Gallery
The West Gallery features collections of artwork unified by a central theme.
- AI and the Hermann Rorschach inkblot test.
- Character iterations on red cards.
- Unconscious Rebellion: What happened when AI was given instructions for simple geometric art. An experiment inspired by Sol LeWitt.
- Artificial Readymades: Using generative AI to explore Marcel Duchamp’s readymade concept.
- Empathy for Living Things: a collection of animal portraits
- East Gallery
The East Gallery features collections that explore more experimental formats.