Harold Cohen: The Pioneering of Artificial Intelligence Art

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In the realm of art, there have always been creators who push the boundaries and explore new frontiers. One such artist was Harold Cohen, who represented Britain in various festivals with his canvas artworks. However, Cohen felt a desire for something more intriguing beyond the confines of his studio.

Thus, while teaching art at the University of California, San Diego, Cohen shifted his focus from canvas to the screen, using computers to find new ways of creating art. In the late 1960s, he developed a program called Aaron, inspired by the name of his brother and representative of Moses in Exodus. It was the world’s first artificial intelligence software in the realm of fine art, and Cohen first presented Aaron in 1974 at the University of California, Berkeley. Since then, Aaron’s artworks have adorned museums ranging from Tate Modern in London to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Now, with artificial intelligence dominating the headlines, a new exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, titled “Harold Cohen: Aaron,” running until June 2024, shines a spotlight on Cohen’s pioneering work. The Whitney offers something deeper than previous Aaron exhibitions: a real-time experience where visitors can witness the software creating art.

Cohen “seeded” Aaron with various knowledge, including basic objects, physics, and fundamental design techniques. Aaron utilizes this knowledge to follow instructions, complete tasks, and mimic human decision-making—a vastly different approach from today’s AI art programs that don’t design from scratch but rely on image databases. The Whitney showcases two versions of Cohen’s software, accompanied by the artworks each version created before Cohen’s passing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Who was Harold Cohen?
Harold Cohen was a painter who represented Britain in various festivals with his canvas artworks.

2. What was the world’s first artificial intelligence software in the realm of fine art?
The world’s first artificial intelligence software in the realm of fine art was the program created by Harold Cohen called Aaron.

3. Where was Aaron’s artwork exhibited?
Aaron’s artwork has been exhibited in museums ranging from Tate Modern in London to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

4. What does the exhibition “Harold Cohen: Aaron” at the Whitney Museum of American Art offer?
The exhibition “Harold Cohen: Aaron” offers a real-time experience where visitors can witness the software creating art.

5. How does Aaron utilize the knowledge given by Cohen?
Aaron utilizes the knowledge given by Cohen in basic objects, physics, and fundamental design techniques to follow instructions, complete tasks, and mimic human decision-making.

6. What versions of Cohen’s software does the Whitney showcase?
The Whitney showcases two versions of Cohen’s software, accompanied by the artworks each version created before Cohen’s passing.

To learn more about the “Harold Cohen: Aaron” exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, you can visit the following link: [Whitney Museum of American Art](https://www.whitney.org/)