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Emily L. Spratt

Art and Technology Faculty, Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York

PhD, Princeton University

MA, Princeton University

MA, University of California, Los Angeles

BA, Cornell University

Professor Spratt is the lead art and technology faculty within Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York, MA programs. She completed her doctorate in Byzantine and Venetian Renaissance art history at Princeton University, her post-doctorate in art and computer vision science in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, and has executive training from the Harvard Business School. Her expertise ranges from the art and architecture of the medieval and early modern Mediterranean world to the uses of artificial intelligence and digital ledger technologies in the visual arts and the art market. With a career founded inside and outside of academia, Professor Spratt has taught at Masaryk University, The Cooper Union, Rutgers University, and the universities from where she holds degrees, and also has experience working in the arts and culture, entertainment, and high technology industries. She has served as a consultant for international companies such as the Campari Group and L'Arpège, and is the former strategic advisor of Artory, which she helped pivot into a Blockchain-based art market company.

In relation to her research on art and emerging technologies, Professor Spratt was an expert consultant on Fellini Forward, an AI-inspired film that premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival and is now available on Amazon Prime Video. In 2019, Professor Spratt was invited to curate the President Emmanuel Macron-sponsored exhibition Au-delà du Terroir, Beyond AI Art at the Institut de France, Quai Conti, in Paris for the Global Forum on AI for Humanity. Two years earlier, she curated the first exhibition on AI utilizing deep learning techniques with AICAN in "Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI" in Los Angeles and Frankfurt, which was showcased on CBS News. One of Professor Spratt's most interesting projects to date was an artistic collaboration with the French chef Alain Passard titled "Gastronomic Algorithms," in which they utilized Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to create Michelin Plate-based portraits in the manner of the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. In relation to these subjects, Professor Spratt is writing a book on the uses of AI techniques in the arts and the ethical implications of burgeoning image-based technologies.

As a fellow and high technology advisor at The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, Professor Spratt organized with her colleagues the symposium Searching Through Seeing: Optimizing Computer Vision Technology for the Arts, for which she delivered the keynote address. Professor Spratt also has work experience with the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, the Benaki Museum, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, UNESCO, and ICOMOS. For the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), she was the honorary guest editor for the special magazine issue on computers and art. In addition, she is a member of the digital/multimedia advisory committee of the Renaissance Society of America, a member of the advisory board of the Artificial Intelligence Finance Institute (AIFI), a board director of the tech accelerator Exponential Impact, an advisor to Iconem, a member of the PDWG steering committee for the Office of the Dean of the Princeton Graduate School, and an advisor for Ethical Tech at Duke University. Professor Spratt has also been an advisor for the Defense Innovation Accelerator, which is part of the National Security Innovation Network, and was an expert panelist on AI for the New York Academy of Sciences. She is on the ICOMOS committee readdressing the principles for the recording of cultural heritage sites and monuments for UNESCO, and is on IEEE Standards Association committees related to cybersecurity and ethically aligned design for the arts. Professor Spratt is also a strategic advisor for early-stage AI and blockchain-based companies related to images, and is a jury member for the FWA Awards.

In addition, Professor Spratt has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including those from the Onassis Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Cini Foundation in Venice, the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, the American Research Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, and the Frick Collection. At Princeton, she was a Stanley J. Seeger fellow in Hellenic Studies and a fellow in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; at UCLA, she held the President’s Fellowship. In 2021, Professor Spratt received the community-nominated research award from the Montreal AI Ethics Institute.

Emily L. Spratt
  • Select Publications

    Select Publications

    “The Augmented Dataset: Artistic Appropriations of GANs and their Bearings on Ethical Considerations of AI,” DHNord Conference Proceedings, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Lille, Septentrion Press, Winter 2021.

    “The Kunstwollen of the Machine-Learned Image: Reflections on Riegl’s Legacy and the Ethics of Predictive Image-Based AI for Art History and Historic Preservation,” in Das Fragment im Digitalen Zeitalter / The Fragment in the Digital Age, Hendrik Bäßler Verlag, May 2021.

    “Gastronomic Algorithms: Artistic and Sensory Exploration of Alain Passard’s Michelin Plates in the Manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo with GANs,” Leonardo 54, Issue 6, MIT Press, December 2021.

    “The Optimism of Ethical Frameworks for AI: Reconsiderations of the Binary Perspectives on Emerging Technologies and the Role of the Humanities in the Discourse,” State of AI Ethics Report, The Montreal AI Ethics Institute (MAIEI), January 2021.

    “On the Gothic Edits of Notre Dame de Paris,” Future Anterior 17, No. 1, University of Minnesota Press, Summer 2020.

    “Ingenium, Inventio, Vis, Facilitas: Western Influences in Post-Byzantine Art and the Question of Imitability,” in Patterns, Models, Drawings, eds. Emmanuel Moutafov and Margarita Kuyumdzhieva, Art Readings, Volumes I-II, Institute of Art Studies, Bulgarian Academy of the Sciences, Sofia, January 2020.

    “Optimizing Computer Vision Technology for Autonomous Learning Investment Strategies,” (co-author with Michael Weinberg), Alternative Investment Management Association Journal (AIMA Journal) 117, January 2019.

    “Curating the Visual Landscape of Our Digital World,” Discoveries, Photoarchive, The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, May 2018.

    “Malala and ‘Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI,’” XRDS Magazine 24, No. 2, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), March 2018.

    “Computers and Art in the Age of Machine Learning,” INIT Feature Article, XRDS Magazine 24, No. 2, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), March 2018.

    “Creation, Curation, and Classification: A Conversation between Mario Klingemann and Emily L. Spratt,” XRDS Magazine 24, No. 2, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), March 2018.

    “Why the Louvre needs a Byzantine art section,” Apollo, The International Art Magazine, February 2018.

    “Dream Formulations and Deep Neural Networks: Humanistic Themes in the Iconology of the Machine-Learned Image,” Kunsttexte, Press of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, December 2017.

    “Computational Beauty: Aesthetic Judgment at the Intersection of Art and Science,” (first author with Ahmed Elgammal, second author), in Computer Vision: ECCV Conference Proceedings 2014, Springer Verlag, Fall 2014.

    “Toward a Definition of ‘Post-Byzantine’ Art: The Angleton Collection at the Princeton University Art Museum,” Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 71, PUAM, June 2014, double issue 2013–14.

    “New Acquisitions,” Princeton University Art Museum Magazine, (co-author with J. Michael Padgett), PUAM, Fall 2011.
  • Exhibitions

    Exhibitions

    Curator, Au-delà du Terroir, Beyond AI Art, Global Forum on AI for Humanity with sponsorship from the office of President Emmanuel Macron, Institut de France, Quai Conti, Paris, October 2019.

    Curator, The AICAN Algorithm Art Collection, The Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2017–2018.

    Curator, Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI, STATE Studio Pop-Up Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, and The Arts+ Event, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany, October and November 2017.

    Curator, Beyond the Edges, Theoretical Archaeology Art Gallery, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, May 2014.

    Research Assistant, Architecture as Icon, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ, 2009.

    Assistant Curator, Tamata, Tokens of Worship, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, 2006.
  • Select Invited Presentations

    Select Invited Presentations

    “Art and Technology Beyond Disruptive Innovation: The Catechistic Demands of Creative AI and Digital Ledger Technologies in the New Tech Economy," Masaryk University and Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic, May 24, 2022.

    “Approaches to The Curation of Machine-Learned Images in Art and Film,” Curating Online: Cultural Heritage, Creativity, and the Summer of Artificial Intelligence Symposium, Czech Ministry of Culture and Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, (online broadcast) December 7, 2021.

    “Icons and AI: Considerations of the Future Custodianship of Art Collections with Emerging Technologies,” in Collecting Orthodox Art in the West, The Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, MA, (online broadcast) June 12, 2021.

    “Reassessing the Question of Authenticity in Art and Media: Deepfakes, Non-Fungible Tokens, and Forgeries with Blockchain and AI Technologies,” Künstliche Intelligenz Convention (KI-Camp), The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Informatics Society, Germany, (online broadcast) April 27, 2021.

    “Eucharistic Imagery and Dissent: The Iconography of Liturgical Discord,” On Being Conquered in Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC, (online broadcast) April 16–17, 2021.

    “AI and the Art of Culinary Presentation: Gastronomic Algorithms between Alain Passard and Giuseppe Arcimboldo,” Distinguished Speaker Spring Preservation Lecture Series, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York, NY, (online broadcast) February 15, 2021.

    “Byzantium and Venice, Icons between Empire,” Save Venice Foundation, New York, NY, February 4, 2021.

    “Cultural Analytics: A Dialogue between Emily L. Spratt and Lev Manovich Moderated by Everardo Reyes,” DHNord, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Lille, Lille, France, (online broadcast) November 20, 2020.

    “The Augmented Dataset: Artistic Appropriations of GANs and their Bearings on Ethical Considerations of AI,” DHNord, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Lille, Lille, France, November 18, 2020.

    “Art, Ethics, and AI: Problems in the Hermeneutics of the Digital Image,” École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris, France, October 22, 2019.

    “Exhibition Film Screening of ‘Au-delà du Terroir, Beyond AI Art,’ and Discussion with Curator Emily L. Spratt,” École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris, France, October 22, 2019.

    “Archaeologies of Knowledge for Data Science: A Discourse on Art, Archives, and AI,” The American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS), Sofia, Bulgaria, April 5, 2019.

    “Archaeologies of Knowledge for Data Science: A Discourse on Art, Archives, and AI,” University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, March 29, 2019.

    “Archive Fever in the Age of AI: The Machine-Learned Image and Cultural Heritage Preservation,” (distinguished speaker invitation) Record / Replay: On Data, Technology and Experimental Preservation, Fitch Colloquium, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York, NY, February 15, 2019.

    “Searching Through Seeing: Optimizing Computer Vision Technology for the Arts,” (keynote address) Searching Through Seeing: Optimizing Vision Technology for the Arts, The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, New York, NY, April 12, 2018.

    “The Art of Seeing in the Digital Age: Aesthetics and the AI Revolution,” Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT, September 15, 2016.

    “The Art of Seeing in the Digital Age: Aesthetics at the Intersection of Art and Science,” Digital Art History Lab Lectures, The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, New York, NY, May 10, 2016.

    “Through Machine Eyes: Art, Artifice, and Artificial Intelligence,” Digital Art History in Practice Series, The New York University Institute of Fine Arts, New York, NY, February 11, 2016.

    “The Art of Seeing: Aesthetics at the Intersection of Art and Science,” CUNY Digital Humanities and the Graduate College Computer Science Colloquium, CUNY Graduate College, New York, NY, December 10, 2015.

    “The Art of the Late Byzantine Empire: Communities Past Conquest and Borders,” “Icons across Empires: Renaissance and Ottoman Networks of Exchange,” “The Pervasiveness of the School of Crete: Post-Byzantine Icons at the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies,” The Byzantine Nachleben: Resiliency, Nostalgia and the Visual Culture of Early Modern Orthodox Communities, Tripartite Public Lecture Series, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy, March 7–8, 2013.
  • Laboratory Affiliations

    Laboratory Affiliations

    Professor Carl Vondrick’s Computer Vision Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, Columbia University (2019–2021)

    Preservation Technology Laboratory, Historic Preservation Program, Columbia University (2019–2021)

    Professor Ahmed Elgammal’s Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University (2013–2018)