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The Discipline of Organizing: Core Concepts Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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11.14. The Art Genome Project

By David Eicke, December 2014.

What is being organized? Artsy.net carries the ambitious mission of making “all the world’s art” accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This is not only challenging purely from a scale perspective, with the number of artworks in the world daunting even if it were not being incremented constantly, but it is also challenging in that “art” is a nebulous term. Creators of music and literature often refer to themselves and each other as “artists.” The same goes for dancers and other performers. Will their works be included? The current collection seems to be mostly visual art, with some architecture and design objects included.

Artsy’s mission is to be carried out by their Art Genome Project, which is the organizational engine that powers their search and interactions. The name was inspired by Pandora’s project, as was their term for their organizing process: “genoming.” Genoming is not yet automated and still costly, so Artsy selects the art that is to be “genomed” carefully. Their first priority is the works featured in galleries with whom Artsy has contracts. Galleries pay to have their work organized and searchable on the site. Those works, then, must be genomed quickly in order to keep the company running. Artsy’s engine also takes in works from museums and other institutions who do not have contracts with them, but many of those institutions have image-rights concerns, and not all their artworks can be published. ...

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