AI Generated Art Wins Competition: Can Art Be Created Using ARTificial Intelligence?

Paige J.
6 min readSep 5, 2022
Discord screenshot of Jason Allen’s AI generated submission “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.”

French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp took a porcelain urinal, turned it upside down, signed it “R. Mutt,” and called it Fountain which was displayed at the 291 Art Gallery in 1917.

Maurizio Cattelan’s 2016 America project for the Guggenheim Museum was a fully functioning 18-karat gold toilet. Visitors could actually use the toilet after an average wait time of two hours.

At Art Basel Miami Beach, two editions of Cattelan’s Comedian — a banana taped to a wall — were each sold for $120,000 in 2019.

Now in 2022, Jason Allen’s AI generated submission titled Théâtre D’opéra Spatial won first place at a competition in Colorado.

All of these examples led to backlash as to whether these specific pieces are actually art with further discussions of the true meaning of art.

This AI submission sparked additional controversy as to whether this is an acceptable and fair submission in a competition, whether AI has a place in creating art, and the future of art and artists. This article will explore these questions via the following:

  1. The Facts (and Only the Facts) about the Competition and the AI Generated Submission
  2. The Debate over the AI Generated Art
  3. Historical Context of Controversial Art (e.g. photography was not originally considered an acceptable medium that generates art)
  4. Future of Art Competitions, Art, and Artists in General

The Facts (and Only the Facts) about the Competition and the AI Generated Submission

  1. Jason Allen won first place and the $300 prize in the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition in the emerging artist division’s “digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography” category.
  2. Allen said that he spent weeks, over 80 hours, and 900 iterations on three pieces he submitted to the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition, including the piece that won first place.
  3. Allen’s submissions were made with the AI system Midjourney which can create images based on written prompts.
  4. Allen fully disclosed…

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Paige J.

Posts for the post-pandemic (and during the pandemic).