Learning Through Search

The Art Genome Project
Jan 24, 2013 11:56PM

The Art Genome Project does two things primarily:

-Conceives a vocabulary (genes) for art education 

-Relates this vocabulary to artists and artworks to help Artsy users understand art and establish connections between artists and artworks

As with any vocabulary, be it within a dictionary, glossary or thesaurus, it is necessary to define the terms. Definitions of genes on Artsy now number in the several hundred and allow genes to become in-depth resources for self-guided discovery. As a result, when users are in the process of searching the site, looking at artists and artworks, they can deepen their understanding about the various aspects of the artists and works they discover.  For example, finding the work on the right by Jean-Michel Basquiat, users can learn about East Village Art, Neo-Expressionism, or Street Art.

In all of our definitions, we try to stress the term’s history and significance; the artists or works associated with it; clear, jargon-free language; and making terminology relevant to our users. Additionally, we are always striving to make connections across different periods, different places and different cultures. Sometimes this may entail questioning the time-specific nature of a term. An example would be hard-edged, a term that relates to a specific type of American painting from a specific period of time, but could actually be used to explain a way of paint appearing in many works before and after it (of the 20th and 21st centuries, made all around the world). 

So next time you’re on the site, spend some time looking at our definitions. Some we have recently added: Figurative SculptureTondoTransferRelated to ReligionTonalismAntiquity as SubjectAncient Art/ArtifactPre-World War II School of Paris, and Contemporary Realist Portraiture.

As always, please send us any feedback by tweeting at us @artsy or via email at [email protected]


The Art Genome Team

The Art Genome Project