Can machines make bad art fair art?

A new artificial intelligence project doesn't get what artists really do

By Robert Barry

Examples of images generated by the Creative Adversarial Networks (CAN) system. Image: courtesy of Dr. Ahmed Elgammal

Fuzzy blocks of white and blue melting together on a horizon of smudged curlicues; a Nicolas de Staël beach scene in soft focus; Mark Rothko illustrating a package holiday brochure; an impossible smear of mottled landscape beneath a Jean-Francois Millet sky; an uncertain figure centre-frame resembling a horse made of smoke rearing triumphantly at nothing in particular; spiked Albert Oehlen-esque puddles in bright, burnished orange against a field of gradient fill pinks and blues, like the gaudy sign of a…

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