Anthony Haden-Guest on Cartoonery

Anthony Haden-Guest, Glib and Let Glib, 2020. Ink on paper, 6x9 in.

Anthony Haden-Guest: Recent Drawings


Through December 30, 2022


The Artist’s Statement has never appealed to me as a form and this is not just sly puffery for my cartoonery. Which is now up at Freight & Volume on 38 Lispenard, folks! It is about cartoonery though and about humor in art generally and what role they might play upon the rapidly evolving AI landscape, with its Deep Fake images, in which actors are sending casting directors AI replications of their voices, and which has reached out into the artworld, most noticeably by creating algorhithms that can precisely duplicate a chosen artist’s style. 

Anthony Haden-Guest, Even His Dear Friend's Shadows Had Shadows, 2021. Ink on paper, 9x11.5 in.

That’s just routine fakery though. There are way smarter things you can do with the AI toolkit, such as programming the system to select a bunch of images, grouping them to build a story. Off the top of my head, let’s say a herd of zebras galloping though a shadowy wood, emerging onto a zebra crossing.  AI will come up with countless images, some will likely be strong. The artist only has to choose. 

Certain artists have already been working on these lines and Getty Images recently announced that they won’t handle art that has used AI because of potential copyright issues. The artworld is paying attention, though, and one artist friend recently spoke to me about “the death of art”, unknowingly quoting what Paul Delaroche, the French artist, painter of Napoleon Crossing the Alps said in 1840 upon seeing a daguerreotype, the first commercially available form of photography: “From now on, painting is dead”.

So why do I feel that the naysayers of now may be as wrong as Delaroche? Because AI has no sense of humor, robots are not jokers. And this is not just about cartoonery. I think that one effect of the coming of AI is likely to be more humor in art generally, more use of subversive subtleties, which won’t just be left to superlative tricksters like Banksy and Maurizio Cattelan. WM 


Anthony Haden-Guest


Anthony Haden-Guest (born 2 February 1937) is a British writer, reporter, cartoonist, art critic, poet, and socialite who lives in New York City and London. He is a frequent contributor to major magazines and has had several books published including TRUE COLORS: The Real Life of the Art World and The Last Party, Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night.




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