Google Arts and Culture: Artist Edition

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As quickly as it appeared, the Google Arts and Culture app has disappeared from phones and app charts. Although the facial recognition selfie match posed important questions about museum collections, the articles on the app and the website have focused on a global art world. Some of the topics include  women in the arts, Guatemalan masks, and Cuban arts and culture. However, many seem to just download the app just for the selfie match feature. We decided to take a gander at which artworks artists might match with.

  1. Magritte, the french surrealist, matched with a portrait of Brazilian poet, Guilherme de Almeida. Although not an artist like Magritte, Guilherme was a man of many talents dabbling in law, journalism, poetry, and writing. He was declared the poet of the Constitutionalist Revolution in 1932.

René Magritte and Portrait of Guilherme de Almeida by Baggio Mazzeo at Casa Guiherme de Almeida

  1. It seems fitting that Frida matched with Frida. Not only did she create multiple self-portraits, she was a muse for other artists as well. Frida was the most common subject of Nickolas Muray’s photographs outside of his immediate family. The two were involved in a love affair that lasted about ten years.

Frida Kahlo and Frida Kahlo by Nickolas Muray at George Eastman Museum

  1. Ai Weiwei matched with the Portrait of Bak Hae-chang. Surprisingly, Ai Weiwei didn’t match with woodblock prints of geisha’s, as is typical for anyone with East-Asian heritage. Recently, a New Yorker article, took on the topic of the coded gaze. The article discusses the issue with algorithms this time rather than issues with museum collections. While the president of the app has put most of the blame to museum collection practices, Adrian Chen discusses the subconscious transfer of bias from the coder to algorithms. He explains, “Just as the male gaze sees the world on its own terms, as a place made for men’s pleasure, the coded gaze sees everything according to the data sets on which its creators trained it. Typically, those data sets skew white.”

Ai Weiwei and Portrait of Bak Hae-chang by Chae Yong-sin at Wonkwang University Museum

  1. El Anatsui matched with Booker T. Washington in a drawing by Charles White. Anatsui is a Ghanaian artist that makes beautiful assemblages from found objects often confronting themes of colonialism and human consumption and waste. Booker T. Washington and Charles White were also major figures in history. Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and after emancipation, became one of the most influential African-Americans in the 19th century. It isn’t a surprise that Charles White would portray Washington in his artwork, since White often portrayed strong figures of the African-American community.

El Anatsui and Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington by Charles White at Newark Museum

  1. Is an instagram influencer really an influencer, if s/he doesn’t have a snap with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room? Kusama’s large scale hypnotic installations have been causing quite the riot in the artworld, convincing audiences that two hour lines are worth it to take a peek for exactly 45 seconds. The Japanese artist’s influence is deep in the western world as she is said to have influenced Warhol and pop art in her earlier career. Ironically, her photo brings up a portrait by a French artist at the The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo.

Yayoi Kusama and Portrait of a Japanese Woman by Edmond-François Aman-Jean at The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

  1. A snapshot of Andy Warhol brought up this terrifying image of the artist by Hyung Koo Kang. Kang creates photorealistic images of celebrities often aging them in the process. But mistake not, his paintings are not based on any existing photos.

Andy Warhol and Warhol’s Gaze by Hyung Koo Kang at Korean Art Museum Association

  1. A young Diane Arbus is paired with Maria (Lilly) Firmian Kuffner. Diane’s doppleganger lives in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trenta and Rovereto. Designed by architect Mario Botta and engineer Giulio Andreolli, the museum’s architecture resembles classical structures like the Pantheon in Rome. Museum goers have nicknamed the Italian museum the Mart, not to be confused with the antique store, the Mart Collective, in Venice, CA.

Diane Arbus and Ritratto di Maria (Lilly) Firmian Kuffner by Fronz von Lenbach at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trenta and Rovereto

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