This Week’s Insights: Is social media crowding out thoughtful discussions of art?… A study finds that arts people are more community-minded and engaged… Another study finds that machine-created art fools most people… Voters in one of America’s most socially progressive cities just voted down an artsfunding tax… Online ticket buyers appear to be more generous patrons.
- Has Social Media Killed Our Ability To Have Thoughtful Debate About Art? Any time something happens now, it seems like everyone feels the need to weigh in with an insta-opinion, registering outrage or vast approval. Such opinions are often ill-considered or superficial. Is this anyway to dismiss art – or the opinions of others? Social media might have increased the number of voices weighing in, but too often those voices add little of substance. “To proclaim judgment prematurely shuts down any hope of respectful dialogue. We cannot come to a mutual understanding without a spirit of generosity and empathy (full disclosure: I need to remind myself of this too). To create lasting, systemic changes, we first need to be able to talk to each other. In our increasingly divided society, filled with echo chambers, we need to build our ranks, not cut ourselves off at the pass.”
- Are Arts People Just Better People? A study out this week makes the case. The findings suggest “the arts provide an important vehicle for facilitating a cohesive and sustainable society,” psychologists Julie Van de Vyver of the University of Lincoln and Dominic Abrams of the University of Kent write in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. “Fostering a society in which engagement in the arts is encouraged and accessible to all may provide an important counter to economic, cultural, and political fracture and division.”
- What Happens When People Like The Art Made By Machines Rather Than Art By Humans? Artificial intelligence is getting better and better at absorbing vast amounts of information, learning and synthesizing it and learning. It’s inevitable machines will get better and better at creating art. But will people accept (or even like) art made by machine intelligence? In the latest test, researchers “showed the generated artworks to a pool of 18 people to judge, mixed with 50 images of real paintings – half by famous Abstract Expressionists and half shown at Art Basel 2016.” Not only did the panel prefer the AI paintings, they thought that many of the Art Basel works had been created by the computer.
- Seattle Voters Vote Not To Tax Themselves For Art: The plan was to add one tenth of a cent to the sales tax, which would have generated $60+ million a year for the arts. In a socially progressive city, one might have expected that the measure would pass (as it has in other cities such as Denver). But the measure is losing badly as votes are counted. While the money would have primarily gone to making the arts more accessible to students and low-income people, voters apparently feel they’ve taxed too much.
- Another Example Of The Difference Between Online And IRL Patrons: Data suggest that ticket buyers who buy online donate to arts organizations at a significantly higher rate than do box office or phone buyers. The average percentage of online ticketing transactions that included donations was 15% last year, while only 3% who booked tickets over the counter or on the phone added a donation to their transactions. Of these, concert hall attenders were the most likely to donate online (19%) but among the least likely to donate by phone or in person (1%). Makes sense – online donation solicitations are much more convenient.