Image vs Artifact in Contemporary Art
Michael Dyer, author
Ever wondered why some works of contemporary art (that look like any toddler could have produced them) can command millions of dollars? This book explains why such phenomena occur in Art (but not in Music). Throughout this book Dyer contrasts Art with Music and argues that both the Art novice and connoisseur often confuse the aesthetic quality of an image with the monetary value of the artifact on which that image appears. He discusses how the dimensions for judging artifacts differ from those for judging images. This distinction explains many of the differences that arise in the contemporary art (versus popular music) markets. Dyer covers many other topics, such as meta-art (art that produces its own art) and the use of simulated evolution to create art without the need for an artist. When exploring theories of art appreciation, Dyer refers more often to sociologists, economists, engineers, physicists and neuroscientists than to art critics. His analysis of images is unique, in that he considers all possible images as pre-existing in an abstract image space. He describes both the size and structure of this space and explains how the complexity of any image can be calculated. Dyer writes in a clear, straightforward manner, which should make his many observations both understandable and interesting to the reader -- whether that reader is an art connoisseur, an art collector/investor, a museum curator, gallery owner or Art novice.