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The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries collection contains a wide variety of resources that can be used to locate information on artists and their works. Our open shelf collection in the reading room contains reference sources, such as dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, and indexes. We have strong collections of artist files, auction catalogs, books, exhibition catalogs, journals, and newspapers in the library collection, and the Ryerson and Burnham Archives collections also contain papers for individual artists and arts organizations, as well as a collection of artists’ oral histories.

This research guide provides recommendations for research sources and strategies to locate information on both prominent and obscure artists and their works. Prior to beginning your research, we recommend that you compile as much information about the artist or artwork of interest to you as possible. Do you know the artist’s name, the artwork’s title, the approximate dates the artist worked or the piece was created, or the geographic area where the artist lived or the object was created? If you are working on an artwork in your collection, have you examined it to see whether it contains any signatures or marks, labels, or annotations (you may wish to remove the frame to fully examine the object)? Recording this information and bringing an outline of keywords or research objectives as well as clear, closeup images of any signatures or markings to the library with you will provide you with a strong starting point for your research.

Getting Started

The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries’ catalog will lead you to articles, artist files, books, and exhibition catalogues for an artist. For best results, use the Library Catalog search scope, and enter the artist’s name, last name, first name (example: Monet, Claude). The following resources will also be helpful in learning more about specific artists and their artworks.

Catalogues Raisonnés

Look for a piece in the most comprehensive catalogue of the artist’s known works. Please note these are not available for all artists. The International Foundation for Art Research maintains a free database of published and forthcoming catalogues raisonnés.

In the library catalog, search the Library Catalog scope for: [Artist’s name; Last Name, First Name] – Catalogues raisonnés (example: Hopper, Edward – Catalogues raisonnés).

Artist Files

The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries have over 35,000 artist files, which contain small exhibition catalogs, checklists, clippings, images, and fliers for artists, galleries, museums, and art schools. These are described in the catalog: the location and material type is Pamphlets. See also the New York Public Library’s artists file on microfiche (call number 1990 3).

Biographical Reference Resources

  • Who’s Who in American Art This subscription resource is also available digitally in the reading room.
  • Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975
  • Dictionary of Artists (Bénézit) This subscription resource is also available digitally in the reading room.
  • Allgemeines Kunstler-Lexikon This subscription resource is also available digitally in the reading room.
  • Contemporary Artists

Ryerson Index

Look for articles on an artist, particularly if the artist was in the Chicago area and was active in the early to mid-20th century. This includes references to the Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks .

Full Title :   I ndex to Art Periodicals (1962)

Signature Directories

If you do not have the name of the work you are researching, but it has a signature, try resources such as these.

  •      American Artists: Signatures & Monograms, 1800-1989
  •      Marks & Monograms: The Decorative Arts, 1880-1960
  •      The Visual Index of Artists’ Signatures & Monograms
  •      Artists’ Monograms & Indiscernible Signatures: An International Directory, 1800-1991

Reproduction Indices

Track down works that reproduce a painting, such as World Painting Index or Art Reproductions .

Art Dictionaries

Art dictionaries are useful for biographies, introductions to periods of art, and the bibliographies that accompany entries; the Grove Dictionary of Art and Oxford Art Online (this subscription resource is available in the reading room) are good examples. Works such as the Dictionary of Art Terms can also be useful for definitions and explanations of terms and periods of art, as well as illustrations and diagrams for entries.

Articles on Art, Artists, and Related Topics

These subscription resources provide citations and some full-text articles on art, artists, and related topics. Unless otherwise noted, they are available onsite at the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago campus. Faculty, students, and staff at the Art Institute of Chicago and School of the Art Institute of Chicago can also access most of these resources from other locations with an ARTIC username and password via the Art, Architecture, and Design Resources Page .

Newspaper Databases

The Libraries subscribe to online regional and national newspaper databases, which can be used to locate biographical or exhibition information.

These resources are accessible in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries via the Newspapers Resources Page .

Auction Databases

The Libraries subscribe to a number of auction databases, most of which cover auctions from the last 20 years. 

These resources are accessible in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries via the Auction Resources Page.

Researching Artworks in a Museum Collection

Objects currently on display in the Art Institute galleries can usually be found in Collections Online . The record may include an image, information from the wall label, and occasionally an exhibition history and bibliography of titles that mention the artwork. CITI is the museum’s internal collection database, which includes information on all artworks in the Art Institute’s collection. If an item is not on display in the galleries, this may be the best starting point. Please ask at the reference desk for CITI access.

For objects that are on display in other museums and institutions, the subscription ARTstor database, available in the reading room, contains a growing survey of major works of art, as well as specialized image collections.

Search by museum collection, artist, or keyword. ARTstor is available from the Image Databases page .

Catalog of Museum or Department

Consult the catalogs of a museum’s collection or a museum department’s collection. For example: American Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago . You can find these by searching the library catalog for the museum and department name and the term catalogs (for example, Art Institute of Chicago. Department of Textiles — Catalogs).

Beyond the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries

Area Libraries

Check libraries and/or historical societies in the area that the artist was from or was most active for information including newspaper articles and pamphlet files. Try “Find a library near you,” available here: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries .

Chicago Artists’ Archive at Chicago Public Library

This archival collection is available at the Harold Washington Branch of Chicago Public Library (8th floor). Files may contain: resumes, newspaper articles, artists’ books, gallery flyers, videos, press clippings, letters, photographs, some original artwork, and CDs. To find out if a particular artist is included in the collection you can call (312) 747-4300 or consult the list available here: http://www.chipublib.org/fa-chicago-artists-archive/ .

Collections that Have Works by the Artist

Once you discover which museum collections hold pieces by an artist, check with these institutions for information. 

Union Catalogs

The Chicago Collections Consortium contains digitized items from the archives and special collections of various Chicago-area institutions, including scrapbooks, photographs, and other printed material for local art-related topics. Access the free online portal here: http://explore.chicagocollections.org .

WorldCat is a catalog of library catalogs worldwide that contains records for libraries’ holdings of books, journals, manuscript collections, newspapers, and digital and audiovisual resources. It is available thorough subscription in the reading room, or in a free version .

Archival Collections

Look for collections of an artist’s papers in library collections around the world search WorldCat or ArchiveGrid .

For American artists, try the Archives of American Art: http://www.aaa.si.edu/ .

Art Information on the Internet

Conduct broad searches for anything on an artist’s name. Using quotation marks around the artist’s name can help limit, as can adding keywords outside the quotation marks.

“Claude Monet”

“Claude Monet” watercolor

“Claude Monet” artist

Searching Google Images, Google Books, and Google Scholar can also be very useful.

The entries in this free online encyclopedia often include bibliographies, references, and links to related entries.

Biographical Information

Consult sites created by museums, libraries, archives, galleries, and others that provide information on artists.

Art in Context

Artcyclopedia

 For artists about whom little professional literature is available, try genealogical resources such as census documents, city directories, county histories, and local newspaper collections. Many of these resources are freely accessible online.

ChicagoAncestors

Chronicling America

FamilySearch

Internet Archive

  Image Searching

If you have a digital image of the item you are trying to identify, run it through a reverse image search to locate images of similar items on the Internet.

Google Images

Art-Related Services

Appraisal and Conservation

Staff at the Art Institute of Chicago cannot provide authentication or appraisal services, and our conservation staff are not able to accept inquiries on works of art in personal collections. You can locate advice on these topics in our research guide on Appraisal and Conservation Resources for Art .

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machine learning models aren’t autonomous.  ‘They aren’t going to create new artistic movements on their own – those are PR stories

Art for our sake: artists cannot be replaced by machines – study

There has been an explosion of interest in ‘creative AI’, but does this mean that artists will be replaced by machines? No, definitely not, says Anne Ploin , Oxford Internet Institute researcher and one of the team behind today’s report on the potential impact of machine learning (ML) on creative work. 

The report, ‘ AI and the Arts: How Machine Learning is Changing Artistic Work ’ , was co-authored with OII researchers Professor Rebecca Eynon and Dr Isis Hjorth as well as Professor Michael A. Osborne from Oxford’s Department of Engineering .

Their study took place in 2019, a high point for AI in art. It was also a time of high interest around the role of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the future of work, and particularly around the idea that automation could transform non-manual professions, with a previous study by Professor Michael A. Osborne and Dr Carl Benedict Frey predicting that some 30% of jobs could, technically, be replaced in an AI revolution by 2030.

Human agency in the creative process is never going away. Parts of the creative process can be automated in interesting ways using AI...but the creative decision-making which results in artworks cannot be replicated by current AI technology

Mx Ploin says it was clear from their research that machine learning was becoming a tool for artists – but will not replace artists. She maintains, ‘The main message is that human agency in the creative process is never going away. Parts of the creative process can be automated in interesting ways using AI (generating many versions of an image, for example), but the creative decision-making which results in artworks cannot be replicated by current AI technology.’

She adds, ‘Artistic creativity is about making choices [what material to use, what to draw/paint/create, what message to carry across to an audience] and develops in the context in which an artist works. Art can be a response to a political context, to an artist’s background, to the world we inhabit. This cannot be replicated using machine learning, which is just a data-driven tool. You cannot – for now – transfer life experience into data.’

She adds, ‘AI models can extrapolate in unexpected ways, draw attention to an entirely unrecognised factor in a certain style of painting [from having been trained on hundreds of artworks]. But machine learning models aren’t autonomous.

Artistic creativity is about making choices ...and develops in the context in which an artist works...the world we inhabit. This cannot be replicated using machine learning, which is just a data-driven tool

‘They aren’t going to create new artistic movements on their own – those are PR stories. The real changes that we’re seeing are around the new skills that artists develop to ‘hack’ technical tools, such as machine learning, to make art on their own terms, and around the importance of curation in an increasingly data-driven world.’

The research paper uses a case study of the use of current machine learning techniques in artistic work, and investigates the scope of AI-enhanced creativity and whether human/algorithm synergies may help unlock human creative potential. In doing so, the report breaks down the uncertainty surrounding the application of AI in the creative arts into three key questions.

  • How does using generative algorithms alter the creative processes and embodied experiences of artists?
  • How do artists sense and reflect upon the relationship between human and machine creative intelligence?
  • What is the nature of human/algorithmic creative complementarity?

According to Mx Ploin, ‘We interviewed 14 experts who work in the creative arts, including media and fine artists whose work centred around generative ML techniques. We also talked to curators and researchers in this field. This allowed us to develop fuller understanding of the implications of AI – ranging from automation to complementarity – in a domain at the heart of human experience: creativity.’

They found a range of responses to the use of machine learning and AI. New activities required by using ML models involved both continuity with previous creative processes and rupture from past practices. There were major changes around the generative process, the evolving ways ML outputs were conceptualised, and artists’ embodied experiences of their practice.

And, says the researcher, there were similarities between the use of machine learning and previous periods in art history, such as the code-based and computer arts of the 1960s and 1970s. But the use of ML models was a “step change” from past tools, according to many artists.

While the machine learning models could help produce ‘surprising variations of existing images’, practitioners felt the artist remained irreplaceable...in making artworks

But, she maintains, while the machine learning models could help produce ‘surprising variations of existing images’, practitioners felt the artist remained irreplaceable in terms of giving images artistic context and intention – that is, in making artworks.

Ultimately, most agreed that despite the increased affordances of ML technologies, the relationship between artists and their media remained essentially unchanged, as artists ultimately work to address human – rather than technical – questions.

Don’t let it put you off going to art school. We need more artists

The report concludes that human/ML complementarity in the arts is a rich and ongoing process, with contemporary artists continuously exploring and expanding technological capabilities to make artworks . Although ML-based processes raise challenges around skills, a common language, resources, and inclusion, what is clear is that the future of ML arts will belong to those with both technical and artistic skills. There is more to come.

But, says Mx Ploin, ‘Don’t let it put you off going to art school. We need more artists.’

Further information

AI and the Arts: How Machine Learning is Changing Artistic Work . Ploin, A., Eynon, R., Hjorth I. & Osborne, M.A. (2022). Report from the Creative Algorithmic Intelligence Research Project. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK. Download the full report .

This report accounts for the findings of the 'Creative Algorithmic Intelligence: Capabilities and Complementarity' project, which ran between 2019 and 2021 as a collaboration between the University of Oxford's Department of Engineering and Oxford Internet Institute.

The report also showcases a range of artworks from contemporary artists who use AI as part of their practice and who participated in our study: Robbie Barrat , Nicolas Boillot , Sofia Crespo , Jake Elwes , Lauren Lee McCarthy , Sarah Meyohas , Anna Ridler , Helena Sarin , and David Young.

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Who made the paintings: artists or artificial intelligence the effects of identity on liking and purchase intention.

\r\nLi Gu

  • Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China

Investigating how people respond to and view AI-created artworks is becoming increasingly crucial as the technology’s current application spreads due to its affordability and accessibility. This study examined how AI art alters people’s evaluation, purchase intention, and collection intention toward Chinese-style and Western-style paintings, and whether art expertise plays a role. Study 1 recruited participants without professional art experience (non-experts) and found that those who made the paintings would not change their liking rating, purchase intention, and collection intention. In addition, they showed ingroup preference, favoring Chinese-style relative to Western-style paintings, in line with previous evidence on cultural preference in empirical aesthetics. Study 2 further investigated the modulation effect of art expertise. Art experts evaluated less favorably (less liking, lower purchase, and collection intentions) AI-generated paintings relative to artist-made paintings, while non-experts showed no preference. There was also an interaction effect between the author and the art expertise and interaction between the painting style and the art expertise. Collectively, the findings in this study showed that who made the art matters for experts and that the painting style affects aesthetic evaluation and ultimate reception of it. These results would also provide implications for AI-art practitioners.

The development of full AI (artificial intelligence) could spell the end of the human race.

— Stephen Hawking

Introduction

Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting humankind in various aspects. In recent years, scientists have been dedicated to generating creative products such as poetry, stories, jokes, music, paintings, and so on. For instance, taking advantage of Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), Elgammal et al. (2017) built a new system to generate art by learning about styles and deviating from style norms. Astonishingly, human subjects could not distinguish paintings generated by this system from paintings made by contemporary artists ( Elgammal et al., 2017 ). Although the art-generating agent is mature enough to deceive our eyes (for a review, see Cetinic and She, 2021 ), a more thought-provoking question is whether it could capture our minds.

Many discussions have been held on the value of artworks created by AI ( Ploin et al., 2022 ). Previous studies have focused on comparing AI-created and artist-made artworks such as paintings ( Chamberlain et al., 2018 ; Hong and Curran, 2019 ; Gangadharbatla, 2021 ), performing arts ( Darda and Cross, 2022b ), and music ( Moffat and Kelly, 2006 ). Researchers are interested in the following three important issues: whether observers could distinguish art generated by AI from those made by humans; whether a bias against AI-created artworks exists; and whether art experience plays a role. First, concerning the ability of observers to discern between computer and man-made art, most prior studies showed that observers could not differentiate between computer-generated and man-made art ( Chamberlain et al., 2018 ; Gangadharbatla, 2021 ; Darda and Cross, 2022b ), while Moffat and Kelly (2006) found that participants could differentiate musical pieces composed by a computer from those composed by humans. Second, a bias against AI-generated artworks has been proven in previous studies. For instance, both implicit and explicit biases against computer-generated paintings were found in Chamberlain et al. (2018) , that is, participants perceived paintings categorized as computer-generated by them had lower aesthetic value, irrespective of whether they rated or categorized the paintings first. Third, prior research on art expertise and aesthetics has shown that art experts and non-experts appreciate art differently ( Hekkert and Van Wieringen, 1996 ; Leder et al., 2012 ; Bimler et al., 2019 ). Researchers demonstrated that art experts gave higher ratings to artworks ( Leder et al., 2012 ) and showed a much higher level of comprehension than beginners ( Leder et al., 2004 ; Mullennix and Robinet, 2018 ). A few studies have explored the role of expertise in modulating the bias against AI-generated artworks ( Moffat and Kelly, 2006 ; Chamberlain et al., 2018 ; Darda and Cross, 2022b ). Moffat and Kelly (2006) showed that musicians had a heightened bias against computer-generated musical pieces than non-musicians, whereas Chamberlain et al. (2018) found no modulation effect of art education.

Another line of research in empirical aesthetics, including behavioral studies ( Belke et al., 2010 ; Hawley-Dolan and Winner, 2011 ; Mastandrea and Umiltà, 2016 ; Mastandrea and Crano, 2019 ) and neuroimaging studies ( Kirk et al., 2009 ; Silveira et al., 2015 ), investigated framing effects by exploring how labels and titles influence aesthetic processing and evaluations. For instance, Mastandrea and Crano (2019) demonstrated that artworks said to be created by famous artists were appreciated more than the same artworks attributed to non-famous artists, being judged more interesting and beautiful. Silveira et al. (2015) investigated whether a socially defined context would set a mental frame that modulates the neurocognitive processing of artworks. Participants were presented with identical abstract paintings from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York that were labeled as being either from the MoMA or from an adult education center. Higher neural activation was found when they were evaluating artworks from the MoMA than the education center. Kirk et al. (2009) labeled images as either originating from an art gallery or generated by a computer program (Photoshop) and presented images to participants. They found that participants’ aesthetic ratings were significantly higher for stimuli viewed in the “art gallery” than in “computer program” contexts. Overall, these findings indicate that mental frames play a role in aesthetic evaluations.

In addition, while much research has focused on participants’ perceptions of and biases toward AI-generated artworks, several bodies of research explored the ingroup bias in aesthetic evaluations (for a review, see Che et al., 2018 ). Prior behavioral and neurological evidence consistently indicated cultural preference (ingroup bias) in aesthetic evaluations ( Bao et al., 2016 ; Yang et al., 2019 ), that is, people showed a tendency to like artworks originating from one’s own culture more than another culture. Individuals may feel a sense of cultural identity and belongingness when looking at artworks from their own culture and therefore gave higher aesthetic ratings compared to those from another culture ( Bao et al., 2016 ). People showed ingroup bias in evaluating artwork, especially when they lack art-related expertise and experience ( Mastandrea et al., 2021 ), which could be accounted for by the uncertainty-identity theory ( Hogg, 2007 , 2015 ). The uncertainty-identity theory is an extension of social identity theory that proposes uncertainty reduction as a major driving force behind group and intergroup actions and social identity processes ( Hogg, 2007 ). According to this theory, people try to lessen their feelings of uncertainty about and connection to themselves through group identification, which would promote ingroup bias in behavior and attitudes.

The present research

In 2018, a painting called Portrait of Edmond Belamy, created by AI, rocked the art world, selling for $432,500 at Christie’s. Art, as an investment, is embedded with financial attributes. It is essential to understand people’s evaluations and ultimate reception of it. Thus, indicators of paintings’ value, such as purchase intention and collection intention, are worth noting, besides the aesthetic rating. For instance, Gangadharbatla (2021) measured purchase intention as well as the evaluation of artworks. Thus, the current studies measured participants’ liking ratings, purchase intentions, and collection intentions.

People’s ingroup bias in the context of AI-generated artworks and the modulation of art expertise warrants greater understanding. We conducted two studies to explore these questions in this study. The aim of study 1 was to explore the influence of the author (AI and human artists) and the style (Western and Chinese) of paintings in the aesthetic evaluations of Chinese participants without art-related experience or expertise. In line with previous research on the bias against artworks created by machine/AI (e.g., Chamberlain et al., 2018 ) and the framing effect, we expected a bias against AI-generated paintings irrespective of whether they were of Western or Chinese style. Moreover, based on findings in Mastandrea et al. (2021) and uncertainty-identity theory, we predict that people might be uncertain about the AI-generated context and may resort to cultural identity as an art appreciation heuristic, therefore showing a higher preference for Chinese-style than Western-style AI-generated paintings. Together, our first hypothesis (H1) includes (H1a) Chinese participants showed an overall bias against AI-generated paintings irrespective of whether they were Western or Chinese style; (H1b) Chinese participants favored Chinese-style paintings more than Western-style paintings; and (H1c) participants showed a greater ingroup bias in the context of AI-generated paintings.

Previous evidence suggests that people who are interested in art concur in their aesthetic judgments irrespective of their cultural backgrounds ( Child, 1965 ; Iwao and Child, 1966 ; Iwao et al., 1969 ). Moreover, previous research showed an ingroup bias for dance, but not for paintings, and also the modulation role of art expertise ( Darda and Cross, 2022a ). The aim of study 2 was to explore the influence of the author (AI and human artists) and the style (Western and Chinese) of paintings in aesthetic evaluations and whether it would be modulated by art expertise. Our second hypothesis (H2) extends H1 to incorporate the modulation effect of art expertise, and a three-way interaction would be tested. We first focused on the difference between human-artist and AI-created art for experts only (H2a), then the preference of non-experts toward different styles of paintings (H2b), and the difference between experts and non-experts in evaluating AI-generated paintings (H2c). Together, H2 includes (H2a) art experts showed a greater bias against AI-generated paintings irrespective of whether the painting was in Western or Chinese style; (H2b) non-experts favored Chinese-style paintings more than Western-style paintings irrespective of whether the painting was AI-generated or artist-made; and (H2c) art experts evaluated AI-generated paintings lower than non-experts.

Study 1 explored whether the author of paintings (AI and human artists) and art style (Western and Chinese) influence individuals’ perceptions of paintings.

Materials and methods

Design and participants.

Study 1 employed a two-factor mixed-subject design, with the author of paintings (AI art and human artists) as the between-subject factor and the art style (Western and Chinese) as the within-subject factor. Study data were collected from wenjuanxing 1 in China. As a professional survey company that provides online questionnaires and data collection services, Wenjuanxing has 2.6 million registered members on the platform. All participants were assured that the survey was completely anonymous and confidential, and they were informed that there were no right or wrong answers. A total of 106 participants were recruited online, and they all completed the study via the Wenjuanxing platform. The online study took approximately 10 min to complete. Participants first completed an online consent form and a question about their background in art. If the participant responded yes to the question “Have you ever received art-related training or worked in art-related areas?” the questionnaire would skip to the end. All participants reported no professional art-related experience in study 1. The average age of participants was 42.35 years ( SD = 7.41; range 21–50 years), and 39 were identified as men and 67 as women. Most held 4-year college degrees or higher (59.4% had 4-year college degrees, 9.4% had master’s degrees, and 3.8% had doctoral degrees).

The stimuli consisted of 12 high-quality digital paintings (6 were Western style and 6 were Chinese style), including landscape pictures, portraits, and abstract drawings. Following previous research ( Mastandrea et al., 2021 ), the proportions and brightness of the stimuli were in accord with the original format of each painting. The painting sizes and resolution in the display were between 18 and 54 cm in height and between 14 and 24 cm in width, with 72 dpi. All paintings were of similar dimensions, except for one Western-style landscape picture. Half of these paintings were randomly selected and presented to participants. All paintings were made by human artists who were acknowledged in the painting area but were not well-known to the popular. A pilot ( N = 20) was conducted to exclude the confounding effect that these paintings might be recognized especially by art experts. Both non-experts ( N = 7) and art experts ( N = 13; majoring in design and art education) reported that they could not recognize the paintings. This study manipulated the author of paintings (AI art and human artists) by describing the paintings based on the participant’s assigned condition before evaluation. In the AI art condition, the participants read a description of the technology used in art and were told that the paintings were generated by “AlphaART” based on learning original paintings. In the artist-made condition, participants were told that the paintings were done by famous artists. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, with 53 participants in the AI art condition and 53 participants in the human artist condition.

Following Reymond et al. (2020) , we measured participants’ liking of a painting with a rating slider displayed below the image, offering the possibility to rate the paintings from 0 to 100 (0 = “not at all,” 100 = “very much”).

The willingness to buy and the willingness to collect

This study measured the willingness to buy a scale (I want to buy this painting; The likelihood of my purchasing this painting is high; The probability that I would buy this painting is high; α = 0.96) using a three-item scale adopted from Dodds et al. (1991) , and the purchase intention was calculated by averaging scores on these three items. Furthermore, the willingness to collect (I want to collect this painting; I think this painting is worth collecting; α = 0.94) was measured using a two-item scale, and the collection intention was calculated by averaging scores on these two items. For all items, agreement with the statements was assessed on a Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 = totally disagree to 7 = totally agree.

Data analysis

Greenhouse-Geisser corrections were applied to repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) analyses. Partial eta-squared (η p 2 ) was used as a measure of effect size, with values of 0.01, 0.06, and 0.14 indicating small, medium, and large effects, respectively ( Cohen, 2013 ). Effect sizes were reported using Cohen’s d z for within-subject comparisons ( Lakens, 2013 ). All t -tests were two-tailed. ANOVAs, simple tests, and t -tests were performed using IBM SPSS Statistics 22.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, United States).

Liking of paintings

To investigate the effect of the author and style on participants’ liking of paintings, we ran a 2 (author: AI vs. human artists) × 2 (Style: Western vs. Chinese style) ANOVA (refer to Figure 1 ), with the former as a between-subject factor and the latter as a within-subject factor. The analysis revealed a significant main effect of the painting style [ F (1, 104) = 9.47, p = 0.003, η p 2 = 0.08], and the main effect of the author and their interaction effect was non-significant. Although the interaction effect was not significant, we conducted post-hoc tests (paired-t tests) to verify H1c. Results indicate that the liking of AI-generated Chinese paintings was greater than the liking of AI-generated Western paintings, t (52) = 3.45, p = 0.001, while no significant difference was found between Chinese and Western paintings made by artists, t (52) = 1.11, p = 0.272 (refer to Table 1 ).

www.frontiersin.org

Figure 1. Mean values for the four conditions (author: AI vs. human artists; style: Western vs. Chinese style) in study 1. Participants gave higher ratings for Chinese-style paintings (A) and showed higher purchase intention (B) and collection intention (C) for Chinese-style paintings. Error bars stand for ± S.E.M.

www.frontiersin.org

Table 1. Mean values of liking ratings, purchase intention, and collection intention toward paintings in different conditions.

Purchase intention and collection intention of paintings

For purchase intention and collection intention, 2 (author: AI vs. human artists) × 2 (style: Western vs. Chinese style) ANOVA tests indicated consistent results. The analysis revealed a significant painting style effect [purchase intention: F (1, 104) = 13.54, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.12; collection intention: F (1, 104) = 17.14, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.14], and the main effect of author and interaction effect were non-significant. Paired-t test (refer to Table 1 ) further indicated that the purchase and collection intention of AI-generated Chinese painting was greater than AI-generated Western painting [purchase intention: t (52) = 3.55, p = 0.001; collection intention: t (52) = 3.93, p < 0.001]. Moreover, the purchase and collection intention of artist-made Chinese painting was greater than artist-made Western painting [purchase intention: t (52) = 2.10, p = 0.041; collection intention: t (52) = 2.42, p = 0.019].

Results in study 1 showed that the main effect of the author under hypothesis H1a was not significant, suggesting that there was no bias against AI-generated paintings. In addition, the main effect of the painting style was significant, supporting H1b. Chinese participants favored Chinese-style paintings more than Western-style paintings. Although the interaction of the author and the style was not significant, we conducted a post-hoc analysis to verify the proposed H1c. Evidence suggests that participants preferred AI-generated Chinese-style paintings to AI-generated Western-style paintings. Specifically, they showed more purchase and collection intentions toward Chinese-style than Western-style paintings, no matter whether the paintings were AI-generated or artist-made. For the liking rating, participants gave a higher rating for AI-generated Chinese-style than Western-style paintings, while no significant preference for artist-made paintings was found.

In Study 2, we further explored the effect of art expertise on painting liking, purchase intention, and collection intention. We recruited participants with art experience from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (students and teachers majoring in design or art education), which is the only higher art institution in southern China approved by the Ministry of Education. Participants without art experience (non-experts) were recruited from Jinan University in the same city (students and teachers majoring in management). Participants first completed an online consent form and a question about their background in art. If the participant responded yes to the question “Have you ever received art-related training or worked in art-related areas?” they were labeled as art experts, otherwise labeled as non-experts. Participants completed the study online via the Wenjuanxing platform, and it took approximately 10 min to complete.

Study 2 employed a three-factor mixed-subject design, with the art expertise (experts and non-experts) and the author of paintings (AI art and human artists) as the between-subject factors and the art style (Western style and Chinese style) as the within-subject factor. A total of 301 participants were recruited, and 2 participants failed to complete it. Thus, 299 participants were included in the final analysis. The average age of participants was 28.20 years ( SD = 10.19; range 18–50), and 134 were identified as men and 165 as women. Participants consisted of 143 experts (mean age: 27.34, SD = 10.73) and 156 non-experts (mean age: 28.99, SD = 9.64), and there was no difference between the two groups in age or education (age: paired t -test, p = 0.162; education level: Mann-Whitney U test, p = 0.112). Stimuli, procedure, and measures adopted in study 2 were the same as that in study 1. The reliability of the willingness to buy a scale and the willingness to collect were both over 0.90.

For the liking of paintings, we ran a 2 (art expertise: experts vs. non-experts) × 2 (author: AI vs. human artists) × 2 (style: Western vs. Chinese style) ANOVA, with the former two as between-subject factors and the latter as a within-subject factor. The analysis revealed a significant main effect of the author effect [ F (1, 295) = 8.09, p = 0.005, η p 2 = 0.03], a significant interaction effect of the author and the art expertise [ F (1, 295) = 3.90, p = 0.049, η p 2 = 0.01], and a significant interaction effect of the style and the art expertise [ F (1, 295) = 10.42, p = 0.001, η p 2 = 0.03]. Neither the main effect of the style, the main effect of the art expertise, nor the interaction effect of the style and the author, the interaction effect of the three factors were significant ( Fs < 3.59, ps > 0.05).

The results of the author and the art expertise interaction are presented in Figure 2A , and mean values are listed in Table 2 (left panel). Simple effect analysis further showed that experts showed more liking toward artist-made paintings than AI-generated paintings, F (1, 296) = 11.53, p = 0.001; and no difference was found for non-experts, F (1, 296) = 0.43, p = 0.515. Moreover, experts showed less liking toward AI-generated paintings than non-experts, F (1, 296) = 5.72, p = 0.017; and no difference was found for artist-made paintings, F (1, 296) = 0.04, p = 0.832.

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Figure 2. Author (AI and artist) by art expertise (experts and non-experts) interaction. Consistent results were found for liking rating (A) , purchase intention (B) , and collection intention (C) . Error bars stand for ± S.E.M.

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Table 2. Mean values of liking ratings, purchase intention, and collection intention toward paintings.

The results of the painting style and the art expertise interaction are presented in Figure 3A , and mean values are listed in Table 2 . Simple effect analysis showed that non-experts showed more liking toward Chinese-style paintings, F (1, 297) = 7.27, p = 0.007 than experts, but not for Western-style paintings, F (1, 297) = 0.01, p = 0.943. Experts showed more liking toward Western-style than Chinese-style paintings, F (1, 297) = 7.51, p = 0.007, and non-experts showed no preference in liking, F (1, 297) = 3.50, p = 0.062.

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Figure 3. Painting style (Western style and Chinese style) by art expertise (experts and non-experts) interaction. Consistent results were found for liking rating (A) , purchase intention (B) , and collection intention (C) . Error bars stand for ± S.E.M.

For purchase intention and collection intention, a 2 (art expertise: experts vs. non-experts) × 2 (author: AI vs. human artists) × 2 (style: Western vs. Chinese style) ANOVA indicated consistent results. The analysis revealed a significant main effect of the author effect [purchase intention: F (1, 295) = 3.95, p = 0.048, η p 2 = 0.01; collection intention: F (1, 295) = 13.77, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.05], a significant interaction effect of the author and the art expertise [purchase intention: F (1, 295) = 4.78, p = 0.029, η p 2 = 0.02; collection intention: F (1, 295) = 8.38, p = 0.004, η p 2 = 0.03], and a significant interaction effect of the style and the art expertise [purchase intention: F (1, 295) = 15.28, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.05; collection intention: F (1, 295) = 21.71, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.07]. Neither the main effect of the style, the main effect of the art expertise, nor the interaction effect of the style and the author, the interaction effect of the three factors were significant ( Fs < 1.32, ps > 0.05).

For the interaction of the author and the art expertise, simple effect analysis on the purchase intention ( Figure 2B ) and collection intention ( Figure 2C ) revealed similar results. As expected, experts showed higher purchase and collection intentions toward artist-made paintings than AI-generated paintings ( Fs > 8.36, ps < 0.005), and no difference was found for non-experts ( Fs < 0.88, ps > 0.560). Besides, experts showed higher collection intention of artist-made paintings than non-experts, F (1, 296) = 5.36, p = 0.021; and no difference was found for AI-generated paintings, F (1, 296) = 2.12, p = 0.146. The purchase intention toward neither AI-generated paintings [ F (1, 296) = 2.26, p = 0.134] nor artist-made paintings [ F (1, 296) = 2.11, p = 0.148] was affected by art expertise.

For the interaction of the painting style and the art expertise, simple effect analysis on the purchase intention ( Figure 3B ) and collection intention ( Figure 3C ) also revealed similar results, except that experts were more willing to collect Western-style paintings than non-experts, F (1, 297) = 5.44, p = 0.020, but no difference in purchase intention. In addition, experts were more willing to buy and collect Western-style relative to Chinese-style paintings, F (1, 297) > 8.44, p < 0.004, while non-experts were more willing to buy and collect Chinese-style relative to Western-style paintings, F (1, 297) > 7.18, p < 0.008.

Collectively, art experts evaluated less favorably (less liking, lower purchase and collection intentions) AI-generated paintings relative to artist-made paintings, while non-experts showed no preference. Non-experts showed significantly higher purchase intention and collection intention toward Chinese-style paintings than Western-style paintings, but no difference in liking ratings, partially supporting H2b. Art experts evaluated AI-generated paintings lower than non-experts.

We investigated how AI art alters people’s liking, purchase intention, and collection intention toward Chinese-style and Western-style paintings, and whether art expertise plays a role. In study 1, several findings were revealed. One is that the main effect of the author under hypothesis H1a was not significant. Specifically, who made the art (AI vs. artists) would not influence evaluations, purchase intention, and collection intention toward paintings. Second, the main effect of painting style (ingroup preference) was revealed as hypothesized (H1b). Chinese participants favored Chinese-style paintings more than Western-style paintings. Third, although the interaction of the author and the style was not significant, we conducted post-hoc tests and found that participants preferred AI-generated Chinese-style paintings to AI-generated Western-style paintings in support of H1c. Study 2 further investigated the modulation effect of art expertise and found a significant main effect of the author, interaction of the author and the art expertise, and interaction of the style and the art expertise. In support of H2a, art experts evaluated less favorably (less liking, lower purchase and collection intentions) AI-generated paintings relative to artists-made paintings, while non-experts showed no preference. Non-experts showed significantly higher purchase intention and collection intention toward Chinese-style paintings than Western-style paintings, but no difference in liking ratings, partially supporting H2b. In support of H2c, art experts evaluated AI-generated paintings lower than non-experts. Overall, these findings partially supported our hypotheses.

We expected a bias against AI-generated paintings based on existing literature on the framing effect of labels or titles in empirical aesthetics ( Kirk et al., 2009 ; Belke et al., 2010 ; Hawley-Dolan and Winner, 2011 ; Silveira et al., 2015 ; Mastandrea and Umiltà, 2016 ; Mastandrea and Crano, 2019 ). However, participants (non-experts) in study 1 showed no bias against AI-generated paintings. One explanation was that the label “AI-generated” might make observers feel novel ( Israfilzade, 2020 ). Israfilzade (2020) found that abstract paintings were rated more novel and surprising when artificial intelligence accompanied the title, and no difference was found in terms of complexity, interestingness, and ambiguity arousal of the paintings. Moreover, participants in study 1 showed a preference for AI-generated Chinese-style to AI-generated Western-style paintings, in line with the uncertainty-identity hypothesis ( Mastandrea et al., 2021 ). They might be uncertain about the AI-generated context and may resort to cultural identity as an art appreciation heuristic.

As expected, non-experts in this research (study 1 and study 2) showed a preference for Chinese-style relative to Western-style paintings, indicating the existence of ingroup bias in aesthetic evaluations (for a review, refer to Che et al., 2018 ). However, art experts in study 2 showed a preference for Western-style paintings. One explanation might be that people who are interested in art concur in their aesthetic judgments irrespective of their cultural backgrounds ( Child, 1965 ; Iwao and Child, 1966 ; Iwao et al., 1969 ). This finding was consistent with results in Darda and Cross (2022a) , which found that art experts tended to agree in their judgments and showed lower ingroup preference than non-experts.

Additionally, we expected that art expertise modulated the bias against AI-generated paintings. As expected, we found a bias among art experts but not non-experts, in line with Darda and Cross (2022b) . However, this finding was inconsistent with Moffat and Kelly (2006) and Chamberlain et al. (2018) , which indicated a bias against computer-generated artworks by both experts and non-experts. One explanation for this discrepancy might be the stimuli adopted. We used artist-made paintings and labeled them as made by AI or artists. Chamberlain et al. (2018) selected paintings from computer art databases and matched them with man-made counterparts. The paintings used in our studies were of high artistic value, meanwhile avoiding being too well-known to be recognized by participants. Therefore, it is important to note that these findings should only be interpreted to the current image set and should not be broadened to the overall comparison of AI-generated and artist-made paintings.

Implications and limitations

As stated in Leder et al. (2012) , “Art is a unique feature of human experience. It involves the complex interplay among stimuli, persons, and contexts.” This may explain why the aesthetic appreciation of experts and non-experts differs to a great extent, and why the author of artworks matters to experts. The findings in this study offer support for the bias against AI-generated paintings and the modulation effect of art expertise, contributing to the framing effect and ingroup bias research in empirical aesthetics. In terms of applications, our findings also suggest that AI-related personnel, such as designers of websites and apps taking AI art as a focus, should consider how to decrease potential users’ bias against AI-generated paintings as well as enrich painting styles to meet individuals’ tastes and preferences. Increasing anthropomorphism of the “AI” system might be useful. Previous evidence suggested that viewing the creation of artwork by a robot increased aesthetic appreciation for it ( Chamberlain et al., 2018 ). It is worth noting that perceptions of AI anthropomorphicity can be manipulated by changing the language used to talk about AI—as a tool vs. agent ( Epstein et al., 2020 ). AI-enhanced, rather than AI-generated, has been used in the research report, and it is essential to emphasize that AI/machine was dedicated to helping unlock human creative potential ( Ploin et al., 2022 ).

Several limitations in this research should be addressed in future studies. First, the sample we recruited may have restricted the generalization of findings in the current studies. For ease of sampling, we collected data mainly from students and teachers in design and art education in China. Famous artists and a larger size of sample would be more appropriate. In addition, we only recruited Chinese participants for this research. It is preferable to recruit participants from both China and Western culture in future studies. Second, some relevant characteristics were not collected prior to the studies, such as the participants’ level of familiarity with Western-style and Chinese-style paintings, making it difficult to perform assessments of the specific effects of familiarity with paintings. The inclusion of characteristics such as this would add value to analyses in future studies. Third, although we conducted a pilot to make sure these paintings would not be recognized (author and name of the painting), especially by our sample population, several teachers reported that they might see the painting before even though they could not recall its name. Asking participants whether they recognized any of the paintings at the end of the study would be a better way to exclude the confounding effect.

Data availability statement

The data generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

Ethics statement

Ethical review and approval were not required for the study on human participants in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements. Participants provided online informed consent before their enrollment in the study.

Author contributions

LG: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, writing (original draft), and visualization. YL: conceptualization and writing (revision). Both authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

This research was supported by the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (2020A1515010610) to LG and the Art Project of the National Social Science Foundation of China (19BG110) to YL.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Keywords : artificial intelligence, painting style, art expertise, framing effect, liking, purchase intention

Citation: Gu L and Li Y (2022) Who made the paintings: Artists or artificial intelligence? The effects of identity on liking and purchase intention. Front. Psychol. 13:941163. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.941163

Received: 11 May 2022; Accepted: 11 July 2022; Published: 05 August 2022.

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Copyright © 2022 Gu and Li. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Li Gu, [email protected] ; Yong Li, [email protected]

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Tate Papers ISSN 1753-9854

The Artist as Educator: Examining Relationships between Art Practice and Pedagogy in the Gallery Context

Emily Pringle

This paper explores the relationship between art practice and dialogic forms of gallery education. Drawing on interviews with selected artists, the text examines these practitioners’ constructions of art practice and their perceptions of how they engage with learners. The findings from this research illuminate the opportunities afforded by artist-led teaching and learning, whilst drawing attention to some of the challenges.

Fig.1 Participants working with an artist during a community education session at Tate Modern Photograph: © Dave Lewis

This paper addresses the relationship between art practice and artist-led pedagogy, drawing on my study of artists working on the Arts Council’s ‘Artists in Sites for Learning’ (AISFL) scheme and, more extensively, my interviews with artist educators working on the community education strand of Tate Modern’s Learning programme. 1 Bold claims are increasingly made for the efficacy of artists working in education contexts by policy makers, 2 and artist-led pedagogy has been seen by some gallery educators as a ‘powerful focus for all kinds of applied skills and learning’. 3 Yet hitherto there has been relatively little research into artists’ perceptions of how and why they operate as they do. 4

Both these studies aimed to explore how selected visual art practitioners defined themselves as artists, looking at what they do and the expertise they thought they possessed. They were designed as case studies and in each case a relatively small number of artists (nine in the AISFL research and five in the Tate Modern study) were interviewed in depth and observed. The focus on fewer practitioners was deliberate as this was a relatively unexplored area. Although I was aware of the potential conflict between a focus on particular cases and the pressure to generalise to assist the development of theory across a discipline, I wanted to contribute to a wider understanding of the phenomena of artist-led pedagogic practice by concentrating on detail and by examining specific artists’ perceptions of their practice. My findings are based on these perceptions and are intended to illuminate practice, rather than provide an ‘explanation’ for how all artists work in education scenarios.

What emerged very clearly from my work was that the artists I interviewed saw their practice as a process of conceptual enquiry and of making meaning. Liz Ellis, for example, said:

I mainly use photography and print, although I am starting to plan video and sound for the future. But I would say that I see my practice much less as being about what media I use, than the approaches that I take … [it’s] about methods of investigation, I suppose, the kinds of questions I find myself asking and I want to find, not so much answers to, but to show that process of investigation. 5

Her use of the term ‘investigation’ is significant, indicating that she sees herself as interrogating the concerns that preoccupy her rather than as simply a maker of images. Liz and the other artist educators interviewed tended not to identify themselves exclusively with a particular medium or technique but saw themselves as engaged in creative investigation and problem solving, a process that culminated in the artwork. While they might be proficient at welding or digital photography, they utilised their skills in order to articulate their ideas.

Artistic knowledge

Building on this construction of practice, the knowledge and skills the interviewees considered essential to the artist were those that enabled them to negotiate the process of conceptual enquiry. Beyond knowing how to mix paint, for example, a more fundamental element of these artists’ knowledge was that which enabled them to realise their ideas. This artistic knowledge resembles what has been defined by the educationalist Michael Eraut as ‘practical’ knowledge or ‘know how’. 6 Such practical knowledge can be differentiated from more theoretical knowledge, or ‘know what’, that is capable of written codification and generalisation. 7 Theoretical knowledge informs practical knowledge, although only when it is ‘sufficiently integrated into or connected with personal practice’. 8 An example of how these artists draw on theoretical knowledge when integrated with practice was given by Michaela Ross, when she contrasted the approach she took as an art historian with how she worked as an artist:

I did art history quite traditionally … It’s a very particular discipline … it was about the canon and … [there] is that sense of there being a fixed way of doing things or working within a particular discipline and with certain kinds of protocols and methodologies that you take on as an art historian … In many ways, I think it’s antithetical to what you do as an artist which … is more I need this idea or I need this formal solution … I suppose [as an artist] I use theory. 9

Artistic ‘know how’ is experiential, complex and context-specific. Artists talk about the importance of learning through doing and how their knowledge is gained through practice. In some cases, their knowledge is embodied and resists systematic and explicit organisation. Typically, artists reveal their knowledge through the art-making process (what the expert in learning Donald Schon refers to as ‘knowing in action’) 10 and by making their ideas explicit, generally in visual form. Artist and educator Roy Prentice, for example, identifies the artwork as an ‘imaginative outcome’ which embodies ‘the knowledge required for its production’. 11 Accessing this embodied knowledge present within a work is an element of the interpretive process as led by artists in the gallery.

Artistic skills

The skills these artists considered intrinsic to their expertise included active questioning and enquiry. Indeed, aspects of how the artists described their practice were akin to a research process. Playfulness and risk taking were central. The interviewed artists perceived themselves as skilled in accommodating the unexpected. They valued curiosity, imaginative response, open-mindedness and the freedom to explore concurrent strands of interest. They saw that productive failure occupied an important place in their practice and felt comfortable with not knowing.

Spontaneity and intuition were important, but looking, reflecting and critical thinking were equally significant. In this respect these artists echoed the ideas of older practitioners, such as the painter Ben Shahn , who argued in 1957 for ‘art which is the product of willing and intending’ and positioned the artist not as ‘a non-thinking ‘medium’ through which ideas flow’ but as an analytical and reflective creator who constantly makes decisions regarding his or her work. 12

Art practice was thus constructed by these artists as an experiential process of conceptual enquiry that embraced inspiration, critical thinking and the building of meanings. Each of the characteristics is significant, not least because evidence indicates that these artists see art practice as providing a model for a creative learning process.

How do artists engage?

In terms of direct pedagogic engagement, the research undertaken at Tate Modern found that artists drew on their own experience as creative practitioners to instigate a learning process that resembled their art practice. This has implications both for what artists’ perceive they are teaching – they seek to pass on the skills and knowledge intrinsic to their artistic ‘know how’ – and how they engage with learners and artworks.

What are artists seeking to teach?

The artist educators interviewed believed that were enabling learners to gain ‘tools for looking’ or, in one case, ‘strategies for interpretation’. Their use of the term ‘tools for looking’ reveals the influence of Tate’s specific methodological approach which seeks to enable learners to engage with works of art in part through developing the necessary ‘looking’ skills. 13

These skills were described by the artist educators as looking, questioning, reviewing and making meaning. Liz Ellis said: ‘I am teaching people how to slow down. Perhaps pushing them not just to consume and move on, but notice and reflect on what they see and feel and begin to process it.’ The term ‘teaching’ is employed here, but not in relation to transmitting knowledge. Instead, the artist educator is steering learners to adopt an approach to artworks, which allows them to move from recognition to analysis and encourages visual and intellectual interpretive processes to happen.

In the gallery context practitioners seek to provide learners with the skills, confidence and knowledge to interpret art for themselves. In particular, artists are clear that they are not there to convey specific interpretations. Instead, they aim to enable learners to draw on their personal experience to gain understanding, develop new knowledge and articulate their ideas.

How do artists engage with learners?

In line with ‘constructive’ learning models, 14 artists see themselves as facilitators, engaging students in the processes of learning. As such, they locate learners as active makers of meaning, rather than passive recipients of ‘objective’ knowledge. They encourage learners to actively question and embark on a process of enquiry. The artists also promote experiential learning, with an emphasis on giving participants the opportunity to engage directly with the art, experiment, take risks and play, within a supportive environment.

When describing their pedagogic practice, these artists tended to define themselves in opposition to teachers. Although respecting the teaching profession, they resisted describing their practice as ‘teaching’, associating it exclusively with transmissive pedagogy. Instead, artists sought to engage participants primarily through discussion and exchanging ideas and experiences. There is evidence of ‘co-constructive’ learning taking place, whereby shared knowledge is generated between all participants including the teacher. 15 These artists’ tended to identify themselves as co-learners, who question and re-organise their knowledge, rather than as infallible experts. They also tended to differentiate themselves from art historians. For example, referring to students she had been working with, Esther Sayers said:

There was a marked difference between someone who was doing an art history degree and somebody who was doing a fine art degree. The art historian wanted to collect meaning and take it to the work whereas the fine art student wanted to go to the work and unlock what was there standing in front of them. 16

The implication here was that an artist deconstructs a work and builds up an interpretation by interrogating the processes of production. The art historian, by contrast, brings his or her accumulated knowledge to bear on the work in order to contextualise and explain it. Although her views may not be shared by all artists (or art historians), Esther’s sentiments were echoed by the other interviewees.

There is some evidence that these artists exhibit the attributes of effective learners. These include being active and strategic, skilled in developing goals and reflecting on and understanding their own learning, which perhaps suggests why artists resist describing themselves as teachers. 17 It appears that particular artists approach their pedagogic work more from the perspective of the learner who is keen to make meaning.

Yet although the interviewees resisted acknowledging that they function as other than co-learners, the research identified that periodically artist educators did adopt a more didactic and authoritarian position when, for example, a group dialogue did not develop or participants were difficult and confrontational. Describing how a group of students were having difficulty engaging with work and resisting discussing issues beyond their personal responses, Liz Ellis recalled:

I found myself forcing them to try and take on this vision of how the room had been set up, even though it seemed to me that they weren’t really wanting to admit that they had experienced it themselves … they seemed to be finding it really difficult to value stuff that they didn’t understand and I found myself being very authoritarian about it. Because what I got them to do prior to that point was note a lot of experience-based responses and I thought it was starting to slip too much into that … So I felt I wanted them to know who had made these pieces. You know they are at Tate Modern. These aren’t general pieces. They are by specific artists who have specific and different intents. 18

It is perhaps relevant to note that this session took place as part of the schools’ programme at Tate Modern and Liz had been encouraged by the students’ teacher to challenge the group. Yet the comment reveals how an artist educator saw it as essential that individuals’ personal (what Liz referred to as ‘experience-based’) responses were confronted and extended, if necessary through adopting a didactic, authoritarian position. In this scenario the artist educator was operating not as facilitator but, instead, attempted to determine participants’ learning.

Although given their overlapping practice it is unproductive to polarise artists and teachers (or artists and art historians), it appears that a desire to work alongside learners and a resistance to didactic teaching are characteristic of artist-led pedagogy as perceived here. Michèle Fuirer described how she approached works in the gallery:

I am artist. This is a piece of art. I can get near this somehow. And I’m not quite sure what I am going to use but it will be something to do with why does it look like this. And what motivated [the artist] and intentionality and stuff like that. 19

She starts by engaging with the work and then exploring what the artist’s role was in creating it. Her instinct is to place herself in the position of the artist and seek to understand the work in terms of what the artist did. Typically, artists start an interpretive process with learners by interrogating the formal and conceptual elements. They ask questions such as ‘why do you think the work has been made in this way?’

By adopting this approach the artist educators appear to suggest that the artist’s intentions are knowable and intrinsically key to the interpretation of an artwork. Whilst being aware of the tensions around taking this position, Lucy Wilson commented:

Although we are wary of talking about artists’ intentions you have to acknowledge and respect [artists] and their work and the decisions they have made. And I suppose what I most want people to understand is that an artist is exactly like you and they have to go through a series of decisions. 20

This position resembles that taken by the art historian Griselda Pollock who identified the work of art as ‘somebody’s particular project’. 21 By adopting this position these educators identify the art object as an active contributor in terms of how meaning is arrived at, negotiating between this and the viewer’s prior knowledge and experience.

‘Right’ readings

In artist-led sessions in the gallery interpretations are constructed through group dialogue. This allows for different views to be expressed and provides a means of ‘testing’ ideas among learners, with the artist educator and against the work. Plural interpretations are valid but each is only justifiable in terms of what it evidences. Arguably, this provides a democratic interpretive space: it is the form and content of works that are ultimate arbiters of meaning rather than the relative knowledge learners bring. Within education programmes that aim to enable visitors to engage with the collection and provide a pedagogic space where their voices can be heard and interpretations supported, this approach is particularly appropriate. Arguably, this focus on individual engagement with artworks may lead to learners gaining less information about the place of the work within art history than if, for example, they had attended a lecture. There is also a risk that the emphasis on fostering engagement may restrict a more critical or challenging approach to the artwork and the museum.

The artist educators interviewed in these studies identified connections between their ‘artistic’ knowledge and expertise, on the one hand, and forms of pedagogic engagement, on the other. In particular, it proved possible to identify connections between the emerging construction of art practice as a process of conceptual enquiry and making meaning, with the dialogic forms of teaching and learning these practitioners aspired to. Yet the studies also revealed that challenges exist in terms of implementing co-constructive learning, particularly in the gallery, and unearthed contradictions between how these artist educators perceived other professionals (teachers and art historians specifically) and their experience of teaching in the art institution and beyond. In so doing, these findings draw attention to the complexity of artist-led pedagogy, while highlighting how this practice can bring positive benefits to learners.

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What is Art? - A research on the concept and perception of Art in the 21st Century

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The concept of Art and Artist has had a continuous evolution and countless definitions throughout history. But, are there really common concepts to define and perceive them in ancient and classic art as well as in modern? This thesis focuses on the current (year 2017) perception of what is considered art and what is considered an artist by ordinary people, out of what art and philosophy books tell.

Related Papers

Most modern definitions of art fail to successfully address the issue of the ever-changing nature of art, and rarely even attempt to provide an account which would be valid in more than just the modern Western context. This article develops a new theory which preserves the advantages of its predecessors, solves or avoids their problems, and has a scope wide enough to account for art of different times and cultures. An object is art in a given context, it is argued, iff some person(s) culturally competent in this context afforded it the status of a candidate for appreciation for reasons considered good in this context. This weakly institutional view is supplemented by auxiliary definitions explaining the notions of cultural contexts, competence and good reasons for affording the status. The relativisation to contexts brings increased explanatory power and scope, and the ability to account for the diversity of art.

research paper on art and artists

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Journal of Arts and Humanities

Zachary Isrow

Art is a creative phenomenon which changes constantly, not just insofar as it is being created continually, but also in the very meaning of ‘art.’ Finding a suitable definition of art is no easy task and it has been the subject of much inquiry throughout artistic expression. This paper suggests a crucial distinction between ‘art forms’ and ‘forms of art’ is necessary in order to better understand art. The latter of these corresponds to that which we would typically call art such as painting, singing, etc. The former corresponds to the form out of which these take shape, movement, speech, etc. With this distinction set out, it becomes clearer that art and the aesthetic is rooted in the properties of the ‘thing’ such as the color, shape, and the texture, rather than the product of creation itself. Thus, the future of art will bring a new aesthetic in which these properties become recognized as art and as such there will be an aesthetic of everyday life.

Jakob Zaaiman

The traditional conception of art is about sensual beauty and refined taste; modern art on the other hand has introduced an entirely unexpected dimension to the visual arts, namely that of 'revelatory narrative'. Classical art aspires to present works which can be appreciated as sensually beautiful; modern art, when it succeeds, presents us instead with the unsettling narrative. This radical difference in artistic purpose is something relatively new, and not yet fully appreciated or understood.

Journal of the Institute of Engineering

Alexandra Mouriki

Thomas Adajian

Roczniki Kulturoznawcze

Andrzej Derdziuk

The presented statement is part of the volume it covers a variety of responses from people who interact with art in different ways. The aim is to suggest to the participant of the contemporary world a new, personal perspective to rethink what is this area of our world that we label with art; thoughts with and without theoretical suggestions - reflections by the creators and reflections by the audience, teaching humility and uniqueness, perhaps - forming a fresh perspective on art.

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  • v.21(2); 2023 Feb

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Fostering science–art collaborations: A toolbox of resources

Callie r. chappell.

1 Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Louis J. Muglia

2 Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America

Associated Data

Scientists and artists are both motivated by creativity and curiosity, and science and art can be mutually reinforcing, supporting discovery and innovation. This Community Page highlights resources for individuals, groups, and institutions to advance science–art collaborations.

Scientists and artists are both motivated by creativity and curiosity. Similarly, science and art can be mutually reinforcing, supporting discovery and innovation. This Community Page provides resources for individuals, groups, and institutions to advance science–art collaborations.

Introduction

Scientists and artists are both are driven by curiosity and creativity. Curiosity causes both scientists and artists to try and understand and represent the world around them. To answer questions such as “what do we not understand?”, we need creativity. And what we create can help us to better see the world around us. Whether posters, paintings, talks, plays, or papers, both artists and scientists create esthetic products that help us and others to better understand the world [ 1 ]. Moreover, both art and science draw on a common toolbox of cognitive approaches [ 2 ]. Art is not merely a useful technique for observing and articulating empirical processes, but a creative approach that expands the limits of discovery [ 3 ]. By using creative media such as dance, textiles, painting, and sculpture, we can explore scientific questions and communicate our hypotheses and findings in novel ways.

Scientific discovery is an incremental process, but some of the greatest scientific innovations have come from transdisciplinary thinkers that integrate the sciences and the arts. For example, obsidian ( ītztli in Nahuatl) tools have been used in ancient and modern Mesoamerican art and surgical scalpels [ 4 ], classic Japanese illustrated monographs ( Honzou Gaku ) are some of the earliest records of biodiversity [ 5 ], and Mae Jemison’s dance background supported her work as an astronaut [ 6 ]. Despite these fundamental similarities, art and science are often seen as two cultures [ 7 ]. Yet, a dualistic conception of art and science ignores the many scientific advances that arise from synergy between researchers’ artistic and creative endeavors. To address the greatest challenges today, we must inspire and reward work that transcends disciplines.

As both scientists and artists ( S1 Text ), we believe that expanding practices considered to be science and reframing art as a central dimension of scientific work may yield insightful discoveries and broadly impactful work. In this Community Page, we provide suggestions for how individual researchers can incorporate art into their scientific practices, both artists and scientists can see the commonalities in their approaches, as well as institutional actions academics can take to support art–science collaborations ( Fig 1 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is pbio.3001992.g001.jpg

(A) Diverse outputs come from science–art collaborations, including papers, exhibitions, inventions, performances, and others. (B) These collaborations can be within academic institutions (such as STEM departments, art departments, in the classroom, or in transdisciplinary spaces such as maker spaces), and outside of academic institutions (such as in community spaces, gardens, museums, performance spaces, recreational spaces, galleries, or even at home). Individuals who move in each of these spaces can be connected, and some can span multiple spaces (in color). (C) Potential funding sources to support this work include private philanthropy, local infrastructure, and government investment.

Suggestions for individuals

A straightforward way to integrate art and science is to expand creative practices in research. First, we must see that researchers are artists! In expanding who we consider science practitioners, we can embrace the creativity we all carry. Many science–art collaborations come from a desire to share research findings more broadly, yet graphic illustrations of research are just the tip of the iceberg ( Fig 1A ). Some researchers create “data sculptures” to summarize their data. Others share their research physically through dance or music (sonification) [ 8 ]. Formally integrating artistic media into academic research can yield key insights; for example, Janet Iwasa’s group uses animations to develop visual hypotheses of molecular and cellular processes [ 9 ].

Many universities and research institutes already have science–art groups in the form of transdisciplinary journals, science communication groups, science art studio spaces, and professional forums. There are also inter-institutional organizations that support academic researchers who have an interest in integrating art more formally into their research ( Table 1 ). Independent artists and art schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) support advanced research and design at the intersection of art and science.

Researchers can also collaborate with artists, musicians, and educators locally. Artists can work full- or part-time in academic labs, departments, and institutes, learning alongside scientists and producing art inspired by the research they observe. For example, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) supports artist residencies, commissioned work, and exhibitions through their Arts at CERN program. Similar to research projects, for such collaborations to be productive, both parties must respect the expertise and differences in approaches and perspectives [ 10 ]. Scientists must respect the liberty and creativity of the collaborating artist, from the conception of the project to fair compensation for their time, labor, and expertise. To connect with artists, we encourage scientists to explore arts spaces, not only just at museums and galleries, but also at public art openings, community events, gardens, and youth art spaces ( Fig 1B ). Just with research collaborations, after an initial meeting or email, artists and scientists can develop a project proposal, apply for funding, and create new work together. Approaching conversations with artists with openness, humility, and an enthusiasm to learn will help build trust.

Federal and private sources exist to fund groups that work at the intersection of science and the arts ( Fig 1C ). In addition to federal funding, universities can work with foundations and non-governmental organizations. Program officers can connect scientists with grant pathways or supplements to support transdisciplinary work. In total, the cost of art–science collaborative efforts, often in the order of hundreds or thousands of dollars, are far less than most scientific research programs. Yet, they can have outsized impacts on the production and dissemination of such work ( Table 1 ).

Similarly, funding exists for individual labs, scientists, and artists to pursue transdisciplinary work. Scientists can write science–art projects into federal grants, as well as applying for supplements that support these broader impacts. Stand-alone federal programs fund collaborations between scientists and artists that are based in specific projects or fund individuals through fellowships ( Table 1 ).

Suggestions for institutions

Historically, academic departments at universities have trained graduate students and promoted faculty for deep and focused areas of scholarship. While such framing is appropriate, institutional leadership must also prioritize breadth, in addition to depth, of transdisciplinary work between science and arts as equally meritorious. Transdisciplinary collaborations can expand the understanding, public support, and impact of research [ 11 ] as well as improve educational outcomes for students [ 12 ]. To do so, institutions need to reform the metrics used to assess success in trainees and faculty, as well as invest in venues for transdisciplinary training.

To incentivize transdisciplinary art–science collaboration, academic departments and institutes must revise how they assess and train scientists. For example, universities should offer enhancement experiences for students and faculty at all stages to engage and grow in science–art collaboration, such as seminars, clubs, internships, and awards. Graduate students should be supported in pursuing non-research activities in their PhD, such as art–science exhibitions, community-engaged work, or produce science communication products. For graduate students, these products should be seen as significant contributions to their graduate studies and eligible as dissertation chapters. For faculty, transdisciplinary products should be seen as significant and distinguishing contributions in the tenure evaluation process. Institutional culture should evolve to value and celebrate the “non-traditional” venues in which these products are likely to appear: museums, websites, opinion pieces, theaters, art galleries, and many others ( Fig 1A ). Building these into existing graduate curricula, additional certification programs, and degrees in science–art integration could be ways to acknowledge the value of these experiences for academics and trainees.

Second, institutions should create new spaces for art–science collaborations and normalize collaborations between artists and scientists happening in both research labs and artist studios ( Fig 1B ). Although space at universities is at a premium, setting aside catalytic collaborative spaces or workshops for artists and scientists to work together—ultimately leading to a blurring of the boundaries between what is a scientist and what is an artist—should be fostered. This can come through creating artists residencies within science spaces or building transdisciplinary maker/lab/studio spaces, such as the Product Realization Lab at Stanford University ( Fig 1C ). One way to evaluate success is to what extent participants further engage with STEAM. Such spaces can transform both science and art by centering knowledge from historically excluded groups [ 13 ].

To address the most pressing challenges in STEM, we need to foster a scientific community that centers diverse perspectives and ways of knowing. By amplifying creativity, play, and truly transdisciplinary work, we can create cultural change in the scientific community that is necessary to fuel the discoveries of today and tomorrow.

Supporting information

Acknowledgments.

We would like to thank many colleagues, mentors, and friends who have shaped this piece. For CRC, this includes Merrily Bauer, Corinne Okada Takara, Rolando Cruz Perez, Peter Pellitier, Melissa Ortiz, Evan Dorsky, and Thomas Czarny. We especially appreciate feedback on this manuscript by David Schneider, Dietram Scheufele, Corinne Okada Takara, and Reyhaneh Maktoufii. We also appreciate input from Jean Brennan and Linnea Saby, who guided many ideas represented in this piece.

Funding Statement

This work was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (DGE 1656518- CRC) and a Stanford Graduate Fellowship (CRC). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Author Interviews

How the art world excludes you and what you can do about it.

Elizabeth Blair 2018 square

Elizabeth Blair

research paper on art and artists

In her new book Get the Picture, journalist Bianca Bosker explores why connecting with art sometimes feels harder than it has to be. Above, a visitor takes in paintings at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London in 2010. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images hide caption

In her new book Get the Picture, journalist Bianca Bosker explores why connecting with art sometimes feels harder than it has to be. Above, a visitor takes in paintings at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London in 2010.

When Bianca Bosker told people in the art world she'd be writing a tell-all about their confounding, exclusive ecosystem, "bad idea," they responded.

"They didn't come right out and threaten my safety or anything," she writes in Get the Picture , "My reputation, well-being, and livelihood as a journalist —that, however, was another story." Judging from the book's recent reviews , she need not worry too much.

Bosker's motivation for writing the book was partly frustration. "I didn't know how to have a meaningful experience of art and that bothered me," she tells me, "But also like I think the art fiends that I got to know, it's not just that they look at art differently. They behave sort of like they've accessed this trapdoor in their brains and I envied that."

Get the Picture by Bianca Bosker

Other journalists might have relied on research and interviews. Bosker went gonzo. She spent five years immersed in the New York art scene, working as a gallery assistant and helping artists in their studios. After getting a license to be a security guard with the state of New York, she got a guard job at the Guggenheim.

Bosker didn't necessarily set out to write a takedown of the art world, though the result is pretty much just that. She writes about the time a performance artist sat on her face. And recounts a conversation with a dealer who said her mere presence (he didn't like her clothes) was "lowering my coolness." It's unvarnished, awkward and eye-opening.

Borderline hostile

"Working at galleries, I became initiated into the way that the art world wields strategic snobbery to keep people out. And I think it's deliberate and I think it's unnecessary," says Bosker.

Take the wall texts you often see at art museums. While they might be well-intentioned, Bosker believes they're part of an over-emphasis on context .

"For the last 100 years or so, we've been told that what really matters about an artwork is the idea behind it." Bosker says that "art connoisseurs" were very interested in "where an artist went to school, who owns her work, what gallery had shown it, who he slept with" and was surprised by "how little [time they] actually spent discussing the work itself."

Of those wall labels, "I thought they were annoying, like borderline hostile ... they just drove me crazy."

At a recent visit to the Guggenheim, we saw one that included the phrase:

"...practice explores the liminal spaces of human consciousness..."

Bosker shudders. "If I had a dollar for every time someone in the art world used the word 'liminal,'" she laughs. One artist she worked with told her, "'Reading the wall labels is like you're trying to have a conversation with the artwork, but someone keeps interrupting.'"

As a museum guard, Bosker occasionally took the matter into her own hands.

"I would actually try and stand in front of the wall labels so that people wouldn't just fall back on the approved interpretations. They would challenge themselves and really wrestle with their own eye, which is so strong," she says.

Small galleries deliberately keep out the 'schmoes '

If museums make some people feel unwelcome, Bosker learned that small, contemporary art galleries can be even worse. One that we visited in downtown Manhattan was hard to find. That's typical, Bosker explains.

She says a lot of galleries "deliberately ... hide themselves from the general public ... I worked for someone who referred to general public as 'Joe Schmoes' and I think there are a lot of ways to keep out the schmoes, and where you put your gallery is a big one."

Now, to be fair, those galleries are in the business of selling art.

research paper on art and artists

Gallery owner Robert Dimin likes that Bianca Bosker is unmasking "our opaque art world" with her new book Get the Picture . DIMIN hide caption

Rob Dimin, another gallery owner Bosker worked for, does not refer to the general public as "schmoes" but he does like that his new gallery is tucked away. It's on the second floor of a building with just a small plaque by the entrance.

Dimin's last gallery was a storefront. "You [were] more likely to get people that had no intention or idea about the art or really interested in the art, just maybe kind of stumbling in," he says, "There [were] moments when we were on the street level that people would come in and just have phone conversations on rainy days because it was an open space."

People walking into a gallery to get out of the rain aren't usually interested in buying art. But Dimin admits that the art world is "opaque" and he's glad Bosker is unmasking it. There are parts of it even he doesn't understand.

"Even as an art dealer, it sometimes is confusing," he says, "Like, why is X, Y and Z artists getting acquired by every museum and having these museum shows? What is challenging for a person like me who's been in this business for 10 years, I can only imagine a person not within the industry having more challenges."

How to have a meaningful experience with art

Intentionally confusing, elitist, cloistered. While Bosker's new book likens the art world to a "country club," she says her feelings about art itself haven't been diminished.

"Seeing artists in their studios agonize over the correct color blue, over ... the physics of making something stick, lay and stay, really convinced me that everything we need to have a meaningful experience with art is right in front of us," says Bosker.

research paper on art and artists

Bianca Bosker takes a close look at a work by Julianne Swartz at the gallery Bienvenu Steinberg & J in New York. Bosker says it's OK to "walk around a sculpture ... just don't touch it." Elizabeth Blair/NPR hide caption

Bianca Bosker takes a close look at a work by Julianne Swartz at the gallery Bienvenu Steinberg & J in New York. Bosker says it's OK to "walk around a sculpture ... just don't touch it."

Here are a few tips she has for readers looking to evade the snobbery:

"My philosophy had always been when I went to a museum ... a scorched earth approach to viewing. I was like, 'You have to see everything. That is how you get your money's worth.'" Bosker says "museum fatigue" is real and compares it to eating everything at an all you can eat buffet. "No wonder you feel a little ill at the end of it."

"If you find one work and you just spend your entire half hour, hour, hour and a half at that piece, you've done it. And I think that that can be oftentimes an even more meaningful experience."

Find five things

Don't 'get' art? You might be looking at it wrong

Don't 'get' art? You might be looking at it wrong

"An artist that I spent time with encouraged me to, in front of an artwork, challenge yourself to notice five things. And those five things don't have to be grandiose, like: 'This is a commentary on masculinity in the Internet age.' It could just be, you know, like this yellow makes me want to touch it." Taking the time to notice those things will help viewers think about the choices an artist has made, Bosker believes.

"I think being around art ultimately helps us widen and expand our definition of what beauty is. And I think beauty ... is that moment when our mind jumps the curb. It can feel uncomfortable, but it also is something that draws us to it. ... It's something that all of us need more of in our life. And art can be the gateway to finding more of it. It doesn't have to happen with the traditionally beautiful artwork."

Get as close to the source as possible

"What we see when we go to a museum is not necessarily the best that culture has to offer. ... It's the result of many decisions by flawed human beings. And one way to get around that is to widen your horizons. ... Go to see art at art schools, go see art at the gallery in a garage and just kind of go close to the source."

This story was edited for audio and digital by Rose Friedman. The web page was produced by Beth Novey.

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How to write a research paper

This guide is designed to help you through the process of writing a research paper.

This is a general guide, so and may vary from your classroom assignments. As always, refer to your professor and syllabus for your project requirements. 

Major Components of a Research Paper

Major components of a research paper.

As you engage in the research process, you will encounter the following major components.  

Though the order may differ from what's listed below, these are vital pieces of conducting sound research. 

Developing a Topic

Narrowing Your Topic

Narrowing your topic.

Consider these questions:

  • What subjects or ideas interest you?
  • What kinds of life experience do you have?
  • What kinds of issues have affected you or people you care about?
  • Do you have a passion about an idea, a question, a subject? How can you explain or describe it such that others might be passionate about it as well?
  • Does your subject have an edge? Does the topic have passionate supporters and opponents as well as being logical and reasonable. Is it debatable. Is it an unsolved problem?.

These questions may generate ideas. Next brainstorm. Which topics are most worthy of your time? Why is your topic significant? What angle might you take to fulfill the requirement: informative, persuasive, etc. Consider making your topic specific. For example:

What are the unique benefits of art therapy?

Avoid over-done topics. When you are narrowing your topic choices, try to choose something fresh and interesting.

Research Topic

Research your topic.

Write out your research question or thesis statement. Underline words that you believe best represent the main ideas.

What are the benefits of art therapy ?

Second, create a list of synonyms for each word you underlined and use these terms to search for resources.

help OR improvements mental health painting OR drawing counseling

You can add additional terms as you survey what is available:

help OR improvements AND painting therapy painting or sculpting or drawing

As you gather resources be sure to evaluate the resources!

Check out the Searching Strategies for Websites and Databases for more tips. Check out the Evaluating Resources page to avoid choosing bad sources for your projects!

Using Resources

Using resources.

Once you have gathered a variety of sources, begin to s ynthesize what you have found.    Look them over and determine how they fit together and relate to your topic.

  • What am I trying to say? Do my sources support my ideas?
  • How does the information from your sources align with your claims? How well does the information tie together?
  • What ideas seem most common within the information you have gathered?
  • What pieces should be used as quotations? What should be paraphrased?
  • How much statistical information do you want to give? How many examples? What are the best examples to use?
  • How does this meet the requirements of the assignment? Does it support the purpose of the paper?

Citations & Bibliographies

There are many reasons to provide references to the sources that you use:

Your audience may want to know how to investigate your topic further. By providing your resources you are helping others who are interested in the same topic.  Also, you want to give proper credit and attribution to published researchers or writers. Plagiarism is a serious offense.  

Here is a definition of plagiarism:   Plagiarism is appropriating someone else's words or ideas without acknowledgment. To understand plagiarism we must consider two questions: (1) How is plagiarism like or unlike theft— (2) Why is plagiarism considered wrong; why should we acknowledge the originator of an idea. ( Encyclopedia of Ethics . London: Routledge, 2001. Credo Reference . 17 April 2009 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/7915618>.)

College writing and oral presentations should provide your audience with verbal cues to the information you have used: the SOURCE where you found your information. (This might be an interview, scholarly article, book,or  website, etc.); the AUTHOR, when available, and the DATE when your source was published or accessed (for web sources and interviews).

  • Use quotation marks to attribute words of another person on your note cards. You can express quotations in your speech in several ways.
  • Provide credit or citation such that the audience can trace back to the original source.
  • Paraphrasing the main ideas WITH correct attribution.  A paraphrase will replace some of the words while keeping the main idea of the original work.  

For helps in citing properly you may wish to visit OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab 

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Art History Research Paper Topics

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Dive into the vibrant world of art history research paper topics through this meticulously curated guide, tailored for students immersed in studying history and tasked with crafting a research paper. The guide commences with a comprehensive list of 100 intriguing topics, segmented into ten well-defined categories, serving as an invaluable source of inspiration. Further guidance on how to select an art history research paper topic is provided, along with practical insights into the crafting of an exceptional art history research paper. The guide transitions into presenting the specialized writing services offered by iResearchNet, enabling students to commission custom art history research papers on any chosen topic.

100 Art History Research Paper Topics

Art history, as a field of study, covers thousands of years and countless cultures, offering an expansive array of topics for research papers. When embarking on an art history project, you can focus on certain eras, explore individual artists or art movements, investigate the role of art in specific cultures, or delve into the meanings behind specific pieces or collections. Below, we present a comprehensive list of art history research paper topics divided into ten major categories. Each topic is an invitation to dive into a unique aspect of art history and explore its significance in the global artistic landscape.

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Ancient Art

  • The Impact of Geography on Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Materials and Techniques in Ancient Greek Sculpture
  • Roman Architecture: Principles and Examples
  • Understanding the Art of the Ancient Maya Civilization
  • Development of Buddhist Art in Ancient India
  • Influence of Ancient Chinese Art on Later Dynasties
  • Ancient Persian Art and Its Impact on the Middle East
  • Representation of Deities in Ancient Egyptian Art
  • The Use of Color in Ancient Roman Frescoes
  • Comparative Analysis of Ancient Greek and Roman Sculpture

Medieval Art

  • Role of Art in Christian Worship in the Middle Ages
  • Gothic Architecture: Characteristics and Examples
  • The Influence of Islam on Medieval Art in Spain
  • The Evolution of Iconography in Medieval Paintings
  • Art as Propaganda in the Middle Ages
  • The Role of Women in Medieval Art and Society
  • Transition from Romanesque to Gothic Architecture
  • Analysis of Illuminated Manuscripts in the Medieval Period
  • The Influence of Byzantine Art on the Western Medieval Art
  • Representation of the Divine and Demonic in Medieval Art

Renaissance Art

  • Humanism and Its Impact on Renaissance Art
  • The Techniques of Leonardo da Vinci
  • The Role of Patronage in the Italian Renaissance
  • The Evolution of Self-Portraiture in the Renaissance
  • Comparison of Italian and Northern Renaissance Art
  • Michelangelo’s Influence on Art and Artists
  • Analysis of Female Figures in Renaissance Paintings
  • Use of Perspective in Renaissance Art
  • Interpretation of Mythology in Renaissance Art
  • Influence of Classical Antiquity on Renaissance Artists

Baroque and Rococo Art

  • Impact of the Counter-Reformation on Baroque Art in Italy
  • The Evolution of Landscape Painting in the Baroque Period
  • Use of Light in Caravaggio’s Paintings
  • Analysis of Rembrandt’s Portraiture
  • Comparison of French and Spanish Baroque Art
  • Women Artists of the Baroque Period
  • The Transition from Baroque to Rococo Art
  • Impact of Louis XIV’s Reign on French Art and Architecture
  • Rococo Art as a Reflection of Aristocratic Society
  • The Cultural and Artistic Influence of Versailles

Neoclassicism and Romanticism

  • Influence of Archaeological Discoveries on Neoclassical Art
  • Comparison of Neoclassicism and Romanticism
  • Exploration of the Sublime in Romantic Landscape Paintings
  • Impact of the French Revolution on Art
  • Analysis of David’s Oath of the Horatii
  • Romanticism and the Depiction of National Identity
  • Romantic Artists’ Fascination with the Exotic and the Orient
  • The Role of Women Artists in the Romantic Period
  • Neoclassical Architecture in Europe and America
  • Depiction of Mythology in Romantic Art

Modern Art Movements

  • Impressionism and the Art of Life
  • The Influence of Japanese Art on Vincent Van Gogh
  • Symbolism in Edvard Munch’s The Scream
  • Pablo Picasso and the Evolution of Cubism
  • The Impact of WWI on the Artistic Movements of the 1920s
  • Surrealism: Dreams and the Unconscious
  • Political Messages in Diego Rivera’s Murals
  • Abstract Expressionism and the Sublime
  • Pop Art as a Reflection of Consumer Culture
  • Minimalism and the Idea of Less is More

Contemporary Art

  • Conceptual Art and the Importance of Ideas
  • The Role of Art in Critiquing Contemporary Society
  • Environmental Messages in Contemporary Art
  • Representation of Identity in Contemporary Art
  • Feminism and Contemporary Art
  • The Use of New Media in Contemporary Art
  • Installation Art and Audience Participation
  • Street Art and Its Role in Urban Spaces
  • The Influence of Globalization on Contemporary Art
  • Impact of Digital Technologies on Contemporary Art Practices

Non-Western Art

  • The Influence of African Art on Modernist Artists
  • Understanding Islamic Calligraphy
  • The Role of Art in Traditional African Societies
  • Traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints
  • The Development of Indian Mughal Painting
  • The Role of Ancestors in Oceanic Art
  • Comparison of Traditional and Contemporary Native American Art
  • Indigenous Australian Art and Its Connection to the Land
  • Artistic Traditions of the Inuit
  • Symbolism in Persian Miniature Painting

Women in Art

  • Female Representation in Ancient Greek Art
  • Depictions of Women in Baroque Art
  • Women Artists of the Renaissance and Their Struggles
  • The Influence of Feminism on Contemporary Art
  • Exploration of Gender Roles through Art
  • Mary Cassatt and Her Influence on Impressionism
  • Frida Kahlo: An Icon of Feminism and Mexican Heritage
  • The Evolution of Female Nude in Art History
  • The Guerrilla Girls and Their Fight for Equality in the Art World
  • The Impact of Postmodernism on Feminist Art

Art Theory and Criticism

  • The Role of the Art Critic: From Clement Greenberg to Jerry Saltz
  • Postmodernism and the Death of the Author
  • Formal Analysis: Its Role and Importance
  • The Semiotics of Art: Signs and Symbols
  • Influence of Psychoanalytic Theory on Art Criticism
  • Iconology and the Hidden Meanings in Visual Art
  • Deconstruction and the Analysis of Art
  • Feminist Approaches to Art Criticism
  • Influence of Marxism on Art Theory and Criticism
  • The Impact of Postcolonial Theory on Art Criticism

Each category in this comprehensive list of art history research paper topics provides a wide range of subjects to explore. These diverse topics cater to various interests and offer a rich field for academic exploration. They each represent an invitation to delve deeper into the fascinating world of art history, offering you the opportunity to develop your understanding and share your unique perspective with others.

Art History and the Range of Research Paper Topics it Offers

Art history is an exceptionally broad field that spans thousands of years, multiple continents, countless cultures, and myriad forms of artistic expression. From the earliest cave paintings to contemporary digital art, the study of art history allows us to explore human history through the lens of visual culture. This piece explores the expanse of art history and the wide range of research paper topics it offers to students.

Art history is often compartmentalized into periods and styles, such as Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Romantic, Modern, and Contemporary art. Each era has its distinct characteristics, historical context, and notable artists, providing a myriad of potential research topics. For instance, one could study the impact of the Counter-Reformation on Baroque art in Italy or analyze the evolution of self-portraiture during the Renaissance.

A profound understanding of these periods and styles can also pave the way to comparative studies, allowing for interesting contrasts and parallels to be drawn between different epochs or artistic movements. For example, contrasting the logical, reason-based approach of Neoclassicism with the emotion and individualism of Romanticism can lead to a rich analysis of cultural shifts during these times.

Moreover, art history offers ample scope for studying non-Western art. Researching non-Western artistic traditions—such as African art, Islamic calligraphy, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, or Indigenous Australian art—provides not only aesthetic appreciation but also deeper insights into these cultures’ philosophies, social structures, and spiritual beliefs.

Art history is not just the study of “high art” or the art of the elite and educated classes. Folk art, outsider art, street art, and other forms of “low art” are equally valuable subjects of study. These genres often give voice to marginalized groups and offer valuable insights into popular culture and the concerns of the everyday people.

Another compelling avenue of research is the exploration of thematic elements in art history. These themes could range from the representation of women, the interpretation of mythology, the depiction of national identity, to the portrayal of the sublime in nature. Thematic studies often transcend the boundaries of period and style, making them an exciting approach for those interested in cross-cultural and transhistorical comparisons.

The study of individual artists and their oeuvre is yet another rich area of research in art history. Focusing on a single artist’s work can provide a microcosmic view of broader artistic, cultural, and social trends. A deep dive into the works of influential artists like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, or Frida Kahlo can reveal much about the time, place, and context in which they created their art.

Art history also encompasses the study of art theory and criticism, which could lead to engaging research on topics like the role of the art critic, the influence of psychoanalytic theory on art criticism, or the impact of postcolonial theory on art criticism.

Moreover, with the rise of new media and digital technologies, contemporary art offers a plethora of unique research areas. From conceptual art and installation art to digital art and virtual reality, these new forms of art reflect the changing world and often challenge traditional notions of what art can be.

Choosing a research topic in art history is a process of personal exploration. It involves identifying your interests, asking questions, and being willing to follow a path of inquiry wherever it may lead. It requires an openness to learning and discovery, a willingness to engage with different cultures and times, and an ability to appreciate different forms of artistic expression.

In conclusion, art history, as a field of study, offers an almost infinite range of potential research topics. Whether your interest lies in specific periods or styles, individual artists or movements, thematic elements or theoretical concerns, art history has something for everyone. Through studying art history and engaging in research, you can deepen your understanding of the world and your place in it, gaining insights that are both personally enriching and academically rewarding.

Choosing Art History Research Paper Topics

Choosing the right research paper topic is crucial in art history. It allows you to explore your interests, showcase your knowledge, and contribute to the field. This section provides expert advice on selecting art history research paper topics that are engaging, significant, and conducive to in-depth analysis.

  • Understand the Scope and Context : To choose an art history research paper topic, start by understanding the scope and context of the subject. Familiarize yourself with different art movements, periods, and regions. Consider the specific time period, artistic styles, cultural influences, and socio-political contexts that interest you.
  • Follow Your Passion : Passion is key when selecting a research paper topic. Identify aspects of art history that genuinely excite you. Whether it’s Renaissance art, modern sculpture, or ancient Egyptian paintings, selecting a topic that aligns with your interests will make the research process more enjoyable and rewarding.
  • Narrow Down the Focus : Art history is a vast field, so it’s important to narrow down your focus. Instead of choosing broad topics like “Renaissance art,” consider specific themes, artists, or art movements within that era. For example, you could explore the influence of Leonardo da Vinci’s techniques on Renaissance portraiture.
  • Conduct Preliminary Research : Before finalizing your topic, conduct preliminary research to ensure sufficient resources are available. Look for scholarly articles, books, museum catalogs, and online databases that provide relevant information and analysis. This step will help you determine if your chosen topic has enough material for a comprehensive research paper.
  • Analyze Existing Scholarship : Reviewing existing scholarship is crucial for identifying gaps in knowledge and potential research avenues. Read scholarly articles, dissertations, and books on art history topics related to your interests. This will help you develop a unique research question and contribute to the academic discourse.
  • Incorporate Interdisciplinary Approaches : Art history is an interdisciplinary field, so consider incorporating perspectives from other disciplines. Explore connections between art and politics, society, philosophy, or gender studies. This interdisciplinary approach will add depth and richness to your research paper.
  • Consult with Professors and Experts : Seek guidance from your professors or art history experts. They can provide valuable insights, suggest potential topics, and recommend relevant sources. Engage in discussions, attend lectures, and take advantage of their expertise to refine your research paper topic.
  • Brainstorm and Create a Shortlist : Brainstorm a list of potential art history research paper topics based on your interests, preliminary research, and consultations. Write down keywords, themes, and specific ideas that capture your attention. Then, narrow down the list to create a shortlist of the most compelling topics.
  • Consider Significance and Originality : Choose a topic that is both significant and original. Consider the broader implications of your research and how it contributes to the field of art history. Aim to uncover lesser-known artists, analyze understudied artworks, or challenge prevailing interpretations.
  • Refine and Finalize Your Topic : Refine your research topic based on the above considerations. Craft a clear and concise research question or thesis statement that guides your exploration. Ensure your topic is specific, manageable within the scope of your research paper, and aligned with the requirements of your assignment.

Selecting an art history research paper topic requires careful consideration and a balance between personal interest and academic significance. By understanding the scope, conducting preliminary research, and seeking expert guidance, you can choose a topic that allows you to delve into the fascinating world of art history and make a meaningful contribution to the field.

How to Write an Art History Research Paper

Writing an art history research paper requires a combination of critical analysis, research skills, and effective writing techniques. This section provides a comprehensive guide on how to write an art history research paper, from selecting a topic to organizing your findings and presenting a compelling argument.

  • Understand the Assignment : Start by understanding the requirements of your research paper assignment. Pay attention to the guidelines, word count, formatting style (e.g., MLA, APA), and any specific research questions or prompts provided by your instructor. This will help you structure your paper accordingly.
  • Choose a Compelling Topic : Select a research topic that aligns with your interests and offers ample opportunities for exploration. Refer to the expert advice section on choosing art history research paper topics for guidance. Ensure your topic is specific, manageable, and allows for in-depth analysis.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research : Gather relevant sources and conduct in-depth research on your chosen topic. Explore scholarly articles, books, museum catalogs, primary sources, and online databases. Take detailed notes, citing the sources properly, and keep track of key findings, arguments, and interpretations.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that presents the main argument or focus of your research paper. Your thesis should be debatable, supported by evidence, and guide the direction of your analysis. It is the foundation upon which your entire paper will be built.
  • Create an Outline : Outline your research paper to provide structure and organization. Divide your paper into sections, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each section should address a specific aspect of your research, supporting your thesis statement and providing a logical flow of ideas.
  • Write a Compelling Introduction : Begin your research paper with an engaging introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and provides necessary background information. Clearly state your thesis statement and provide a brief overview of your research objectives, setting the tone for the rest of the paper.
  • Present Well-Structured Body Paragraphs : The body paragraphs of your research paper should present your analysis, evidence, and supporting arguments. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point, providing clear topic sentences and supporting evidence from your research. Use proper citations to credit your sources.
  • Analyze Artworks and Interpretations : Engage in critical analysis of artworks, considering their formal elements, stylistic features, cultural context, and historical significance. Compare and contrast different interpretations, theories, or scholarly viewpoints to develop a well-rounded analysis of your chosen topic.
  • Incorporate Visual Evidence : Include visual evidence in your research paper to enhance your analysis. Include high-quality images of artworks, architectural structures, or artifacts relevant to your topic. Label and refer to them in the text, providing insightful descriptions and analysis.
  • Craft a Strong Conclusion : End your research paper with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main arguments and restates your thesis statement. Reflect on the significance of your research findings, discuss any limitations or unanswered questions, and suggest avenues for further exploration.
  • Revise and Edit : After completing the initial draft, revise and edit your research paper for clarity, coherence, and adherence to academic standards. Check for grammatical errors, ensure proper citations, and refine your arguments for precision and conciseness.
  • Seek Feedback : Share your research paper with peers, professors, or mentors for feedback. Consider their suggestions and critique to improve the quality of your paper. Pay attention to clarity of expression, logical organization, and the strength of your argument.
  • Proofread and Format : Before submitting your research paper, thoroughly proofread it to eliminate any spelling, punctuation, or formatting errors. Ensure that your paper adheres to the required formatting style, including proper citations and a bibliography or works cited page.

Writing an art history research paper requires a combination of research skills, critical thinking, and effective writing techniques. By following these steps, you can create a well-structured and compelling research paper that showcases your understanding of art history, engages with scholarly discourse, and contributes to the field.

iResearchNet’s Writing Services

At iResearchNet, we understand the challenges faced by students when it comes to writing art history research papers. With our dedicated team of expert writers and comprehensive writing services, we are here to assist you throughout the research and writing process. Whether you need help selecting a topic, conducting in-depth research, or crafting a compelling argument, our services are designed to support your academic success. In this section, we will highlight the key features of iResearchNet’s writing services and demonstrate how we can be your trusted partner in art history research papers.

  • Expert Degree-Holding Writers : We take pride in our team of expert writers, who hold advanced degrees in art history and related disciplines. They have a deep understanding of the subject matter and possess the knowledge and expertise to handle a wide range of art history topics. Our writers are committed to delivering high-quality and well-researched papers that meet your academic requirements.
  • Custom Written Works : Every research paper we deliver is custom written to your specific needs and instructions. We understand that each project is unique, and we tailor our approach accordingly. Our writers conduct thorough research, analyze relevant sources, and develop original arguments and insights to ensure that your paper stands out.
  • In-Depth Research : Our writers are skilled in conducting in-depth research on art history topics. They have access to a wide range of scholarly databases, art catalogs, and reliable online resources. They meticulously gather relevant sources, critically analyze them, and integrate the most up-to-date and authoritative information into your research paper.
  • Custom Formatting : We are well-versed in various formatting styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard. Our writers adhere to the specific guidelines of your institution and ensure that your paper is formatted correctly, including in-text citations, references, footnotes, and bibliography.
  • Top Quality : At iResearchNet, we prioritize quality in every aspect of our services. Our writers are dedicated to delivering research papers that demonstrate depth of analysis, clarity of expression, and adherence to academic standards. We have a rigorous quality assurance process in place to ensure that every paper meets the highest standards of excellence.
  • Customized Solutions : We understand that each student has unique requirements and preferences. That’s why we offer customized solutions tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need assistance with topic selection, literature review, data analysis, or any other aspect of your research paper, we are here to provide personalized support.
  • Flexible Pricing : We offer flexible pricing options to accommodate your budget. We understand that students have different financial constraints, and we strive to provide affordable services without compromising on quality. Our pricing structure is transparent, and we offer various packages to suit your specific requirements.
  • Short Deadlines : We recognize that time constraints can be a significant challenge for students. That’s why we offer short deadlines for urgent research paper requests. If you have a tight deadline, our writers can work efficiently to deliver a high-quality paper within as little as 3 hours.
  • Timely Delivery : Meeting deadlines is a top priority for us. We understand the importance of submitting your research paper on time to ensure academic success. Our writers are committed to delivering your paper within the agreed-upon timeframe, allowing you ample time for review and revision.
  • 24/7 Support : We provide round-the-clock customer support to address any queries or concerns you may have. Our friendly and knowledgeable support team is available 24/7 to assist you with any aspect of our services, from placing an order to tracking your project’s progress.
  • Absolute Privacy : We prioritize the confidentiality of your personal information and the work we do for you. At iResearchNet, we have strict privacy policies in place to safeguard your identity and ensure that your research paper remains confidential. You can trust us to handle your project with utmost confidentiality.
  • Easy Order Tracking : We provide a user-friendly platform that allows you to track the progress of your research paper. You can stay updated on the status of your project, communicate with your assigned writer, and easily access your completed paper when it is ready.
  • Money Back Guarantee : We are committed to your satisfaction. If, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with the final product, we offer a money-back guarantee. We believe in the quality of our services and strive to ensure your utmost satisfaction with the research paper we deliver.

At iResearchNet, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive writing services to support students in their art history research papers. Our team of expert writers, customized solutions, in-depth research, and commitment to quality make us your trusted partner in academic success. Whether you need assistance with topic selection, research, writing, or any other aspect of your research paper, we are here to help. Unleash your potential with iResearchNet’s writing services and experience the convenience and excellence we offer. Place your order today and let us assist you in achieving your academic goals.

Unleash Your Potential with iResearchNet

Are you a student of art history struggling with your research papers? Don’t let the complexities of art history topics hinder your academic progress. iResearchNet is here to unleash your potential and provide you with exceptional art history writing services. Our team of expert writers, extensive resources, and commitment to excellence make us the perfect partner to help you excel in your art history studies. Let us guide you through the intricate world of art history research papers and pave the way to your academic success.

Don’t let the challenges of art history research papers hold you back. Unleash your potential and achieve academic success with iResearchNet’s art history writing services. Our team of expert writers, customized solutions, extensive research, and commitment to excellence are designed to support you in your art history journey. Place your order today and experience the convenience, quality, and expertise that iResearchNet has to offer. Unlock the doors to academic success and embark on a rewarding path in art history.

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Black History Month 2024: African Americans and the Arts 

A woman reads a book

The national theme for Black History Month 2024 is “ African Americans and the Arts .”  

Black History Month 2024 is a time to recognize and highlight the achievements of Black artists and creators, and the role they played in U.S. history and in shaping our country today.  

To commemorate this year’s theme, we’ve gathered powerful quotes about learning, culture and equality from five historic Black American authors, teachers and artists who made a significant impact in the Arts, education ― and the nation.  

  Making history  

“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.” – Carter G. Woodson, Author, Journalist, Historian and Educator, 1875-1950  

Known as the “Father of Black History,” Carter G. Woodson was primarily self-taught in most subjects. In 1912, he became the second Black person to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard.   

He is the author of more than 30 books, including “T he Mis-Education of the Negro. ”  

Carter G. Woodson dedicated his life to teaching Black History and incorporating the subject of Black History in schools. He co-founded what is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH) . In February 1926, Woodson launched the first Negro History Week , which has since been expanded into Black History Month.  

Carter G. Woodson

Providing a platform  

“I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent.” – Augusta Savage, Sculptor, 1892-1962  

An acclaimed and influential sculptor of the Harlem Renaissance, Augusta Savage was a teacher and an activist who fought for African American rights in the Arts. She was one out of only four women, and the only Black woman, commissioned for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. She exhibited one of her most famous works, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which she named after the hymn by James Weldon Johnson, sometimes referred to as the Black National Anthem. Her sculpture is also known as “ The Harp, ” renamed by the fair’s organizers.  

Photograph of Augusta Savage

Raising a voice  

“My mother said to me ‘My child listen, whatever you do in this world no matter how good it is you will never be able to please everybody. But what one should strive for is to do the very best humanly possible.’” – Marian Anderson, American Contralto, 1897-1993  

Marian Anderson broke barriers in the opera world. In 1939, she performed at the Lincoln Memorial in front of a crowd of 75,000 after the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) denied her access to the DAR Constitution Hall because of her race. And in 1955, Marian Anderson became the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. She sang the leading role as Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera.  

research paper on art and artists

Influencing the world  

“The artist’s role is to challenge convention, to push boundaries, and to open new doors of perception.” – Henry Ossawa Tanner, Painter, 1859-1937  

Henry Ossawa Tanner is known to be the first Black artist to gain world-wide fame and acclaim. In 1877, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts , where he was the only Black student. In 1891, Tanner moved to Paris to escape the racism he was confronted with in America. Here, he painted two of his most recognized works, “ The Banjo Lesson” and “ The Thankful Poor of 1894. ”    

In 1923, Henry O. Tanner was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government, France’s highest honor.  

Henry Ossawa Tanner

Rising up  

“Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.” – Phillis Wheatley, Poet, 1753-1784  

At about seven years old, Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped from her home in West Africa and sold into slavery in Boston. She started writing poetry around the age of 12 and published her first poem, “ Messrs. Hussey and Coffin ,” in Rhode Island’s Newport Mercury newspaper in 1767.   

While her poetry spread in popularity ― so did the skepticism. Some did not believe an enslaved woman could have authored the poems. She defended her work to a panel of town leaders and became the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry. The panel’s attestation was included in the preface of her book.  

Phillis Wheatley corresponded with many artists, writers and activists, including a well-known 1 774 letter to Reverand Samson Occom about freedom and equality.  

Phillis Wheatley with pen and paper

Honoring Black History Month 2024  

Art plays a powerful role in helping us learn and evolve. Not only does it introduce us to a world of diverse experiences, but it helps us form stronger connections. These are just a few of the many Black creators who shaped U.S. history ― whose expressions opened many doors and minds.  

Black History Month is observed each year in February. To continue your learning, go on a journey with Dr. Jewrell Rivers, as he guides you through Black History in higher education. Read his article, “A Brief History: Black Americans in Higher Education.”  

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  • 12 February 2024

China conducts first nationwide review of retractions and research misconduct

  • Smriti Mallapaty

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The reputation of Chinese science has been "adversely affected" by the number of retractions in recent years, according to a government notice. Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg/Getty

Chinese universities are days away from the deadline to complete a nationwide audit of retracted research papers and probe of research misconduct. By 15 February, universities must submit to the government a comprehensive list of all academic articles retracted from English- and Chinese-language journals in the past three years. They need to clarify why the papers were retracted and investigate cases involving misconduct, according to a 20 November notice from the Ministry of Education’s Department of Science, Technology and Informatization.

The government launched the nationwide self-review in response to Hindawi, a London-based subsidiary of the publisher Wiley, retracting a large number of papers by Chinese authors. These retractions, along with those from other publishers, “have adversely affected our country’s academic reputation and academic environment”, the notice states.

A Nature analysis shows that last year, Hindawi issued more than 9,600 retractions, of which the vast majority — about 8,200 — had a co-author in China. Nearly 14,000 retraction notices, of which some three-quarters involved a Chinese co-author, were issued by all publishers in 2023.

This is “the first time we’ve seen such a national operation on retraction investigations”, says Xiaotian Chen, a library and information scientist at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, who has studied retractions and research misconduct in China. Previous investigations have largely been carried out on a case-by-case basis — but this time, all institutions have to conduct their investigations simultaneously, says Chen.

Tight deadline

The ministry’s notice set off a chain of alerts, cascading to individual university departments. Bulletins posted on university websites required researchers to submit their retractions by a range of dates, mostly in January — leaving time for universities to collate and present the data.

Although the alerts included lists of retractions that the ministry or the universities were aware of, they also called for unlisted retractions to be added.

research paper on art and artists

More than 10,000 research papers were retracted in 2023 — a new record

According to Nature ’s analysis, which includes only English-language journals, more than 17,000 retraction notices for papers published by Chinese co-authors have been issued since 1 January 2021, which is the start of the period of review specified in the notice. The analysis, an update of one conducted in December , used the Retraction Watch database, augmented with retraction notices collated from the Dimensions database, and involved assistance from Guillaume Cabanac, a computer scientist at the University of Toulouse in France. It is unclear whether the official lists contain the same number of retracted papers.

Regardless, the timing to submit the information will be tight, says Shu Fei, a bibliometrics scientist at Hangzhou Dianzi University in China. The ministry gave universities less than three months to complete their self-review — and this was cut shorter by the academic winter break, which typically starts in mid-January and concludes after the Chinese New Year, which fell this year on 10 February.

“The timing is not good,” he says. Shu expects that universities are most likely to submit only a preliminary report of their researchers’ retracted papers included on the official lists.

But Wang Fei, who studies research-integrity policy at Dalian University of Technology in China, says that because the ministry has set a deadline, universities will work hard to submit their findings on time.

Researchers with retracted papers will have to explain whether the retraction was owing to misconduct, such as image manipulation, or an honest mistake, such as authors identifying errors in their own work, says Chen: “In other words, they may have to defend themselves.” Universities then must investigate and penalize misconduct. If a researcher fails to declare their retracted paper and it is later uncovered, they will be punished, according to the ministry notice. The cost of not reporting is high, says Chen. “This is a very serious measure.”

It is not known what form punishment might take, but in 2021, China’s National Health Commission posted the results of its investigations into a batch of retracted papers. Punishments included salary cuts, withdrawal of bonuses, demotions and timed suspensions from applying for research grants and rewards.

The notice states explicitly that the first corresponding author of a paper is responsible for submitting the response. This requirement will largely address the problem of researchers shirking responsibility for collaborative work, says Li Tang, a science- and innovation-policy researcher at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. The notice also emphasizes due process, says Tang. Researchers alleged to have committed misconduct have a right to appeal during the investigation.

The notice is a good approach for addressing misconduct, says Wang. Previous efforts by the Chinese government have stopped at issuing new research-integrity guidelines that were poorly implemented, she says. And when government bodies did launch self-investigations of published literature, they were narrower in scope and lacked clear objectives. This time, the target is clear — retractions — and the scope is broad, involving the entire university research community, she says.

“Cultivating research integrity takes time, but China is on the right track,” says Tang.

It is not clear what the ministry will do with the flurry of submissions. Wang says that, because the retraction notices are already freely available, publicizing the collated lists and underlying reasons for retraction could be useful. She hopes that a similar review will be conducted every year “to put more pressure” on authors and universities to monitor research integrity.

What happens next will reveal how seriously the ministry regards research misconduct, says Shu. He suggests that, if the ministry does not take further action after the Chinese New Year, the notice could be an attempt to respond to the reputational damage caused by the mass retractions last year.

The ministry did not respond to Nature ’s questions about the misconduct investigation.

Chen says that, regardless of what the ministry does with the information, the reporting process itself will help to curb misconduct because it is “embarrassing to the people in the report”.

But it might primarily affect researchers publishing in English-language journals. Retraction notices in Chinese-language journals are rare.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00397-x

Data analysis by Richard Van Noorden.

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Call for Papers The Changing Nature of Work A CRIW/NBER Conference Washington, DC — March 6-7, 2025 Advances in technology and the adoption of new business models by firms are changing where and how workers perform their tasks, as well as the nature of the arrangements between workers and firms.  The COVID-19 pandemic appears to […]

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A CRIW/NBER Conference Washington, DC — March 6-7, 2025

Advances in technology and the adoption of new business models by firms are changing where and how workers perform their tasks, as well as the nature of the arrangements between workers and firms.  The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated some of these changes.  In recent years, there has been growing interest in understanding the implications of digital platform work, contracting out and other forms of intermediated work, and independent contractor and informal nonemployee arrangements.  At the same time, the emergence of algorithmic management, the introduction of AI into the workplace, and the rapid increase in remote work potentially affect those in both standard  and nonstandard employment arrangements. Such changes also may affect the choices firms and workers make regarding work arrangements. For instance, new technologies and the growing prevalence of remote work may make contract arrangements more appealing to some firms. Data gaps and measurement challenges, however, impede our understanding of the magnitude of these phenomena and their implications for workers, firms, and the macroeconomy.

To advance research on these issues and the public policy questions that they raise, and to advance the production of meaningful, innovative, and timely statistics that capture the changing nature of work, the Conference on Research on Income and Wealth (CRIW) and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) will convene a meeting on March 6 and 7, 2025, in Washington, DC.  The conference will be organized by Susan Houseman (Upjohn Institute), Anne Polivka (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) and Aysegül Sahin (University of Texas, Austin and NBER).

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Title: large language models: a survey.

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) have drawn a lot of attention due to their strong performance on a wide range of natural language tasks, since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022. LLMs' ability of general-purpose language understanding and generation is acquired by training billions of model's parameters on massive amounts of text data, as predicted by scaling laws \cite{kaplan2020scaling,hoffmann2022training}. The research area of LLMs, while very recent, is evolving rapidly in many different ways. In this paper, we review some of the most prominent LLMs, including three popular LLM families (GPT, LLaMA, PaLM), and discuss their characteristics, contributions and limitations. We also give an overview of techniques developed to build, and augment LLMs. We then survey popular datasets prepared for LLM training, fine-tuning, and evaluation, review widely used LLM evaluation metrics, and compare the performance of several popular LLMs on a set of representative benchmarks. Finally, we conclude the paper by discussing open challenges and future research directions.

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AI gone wild —

Scientists aghast at bizarre ai rat with huge genitals in peer-reviewed article, it's unclear how such egregiously bad images made it through peer-review..

Beth Mole - Feb 15, 2024 11:16 pm UTC

An actual laboratory rat, who is intrigued.

Appall and scorn ripped through scientists' social media networks Thursday as several egregiously bad AI-generated figures circulated from a peer-reviewed article recently published in a reputable journal. Those figures—which the authors acknowledge in the article's text were made by Midjourney—are all uninterpretable. They contain gibberish text and, most strikingly, one includes an image of a rat with grotesquely large and bizarre genitals, as well as a text label of "dck."

AI-generated Figure 1 of the paper. This image is supposed to show spermatogonial stem cells isolated, purified, and cultured from rat testes.

The article in question is titled "Cellular functions of spermatogonial stem cells in relation to JAK/STAT signaling pathway," which was authored by three researchers in China, including the corresponding author Dingjun Hao of Xi’an Honghui Hospital. It was published online Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Frontiers did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment, but we will update this post with any response.

Figure 2 is supposed to be a diagram of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway.

But the rat's package is far from the only problem. Figure 2 is less graphic but equally mangled. While it's intended to be a diagram of a complex signaling pathway, it instead is a jumbled mess. One scientific integrity expert questioned whether it provided an overly complicated explanation of "how to make a donut with colorful sprinkles." Like the first image, the diagram is rife with nonsense text and baffling images. Figure 3 is no better, offering a collage of small circular images that are densely annotated with gibberish. The image is supposed to provide visual representations of how the signaling pathway from Figure 2 regulates the biological properties of spermatogonial stem cells.

Some scientists online questioned whether the article's text was also AI-generated. One user noted that AI detection software determined that it was likely to be AI-generated; however, as Ars has reported previously, such software is unreliable .

Figure 3 is supposed to show the regulation of biological properties of spermatogonial stem cells by JAK/STAT signaling pathway.

The images, while egregious examples, highlight a growing problem in scientific publishing. A scientist's success relies heavily on their publication record, with a large volume of publications, frequent publishing, and articles appearing in top-tier journals, all of which earn scientists more prestige. The system incentivizes less-than-scrupulous researchers to push through low-quality articles, which, in the era of AI chatbots, could potentially be generated with the help of AI. Researchers worry that the growing use of AI will make published research less trustworthy. As such, research journals have recently set new authorship guidelines for AI-generated text to try to address the problem. But for now, as the Frontiers article shows, there are clearly some gaps.

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