Friday, August 23, 2013

Googling on

So you have a yen to know what art works the public finds most interesting. As is so often the case, try Google. Drifting through some searches the other day a band of images appeared on the top of the screen with the header “Artworks frequently mentioned on the web”. OK, not the most sophisticated way to track public taste but there were some surprises. For instance were they all pictures of cows or cottages by that Kinkaid guy? No, they were not. 

For a start Marcel Duchamp topped the list coming in with three of the 20 selected images (Fountain, Bicycle wheel and Nude descending a staircase). Of the rest over 50 per cent (11) were from the twentieth century though none from the twenty-first. Predictably just one was by a woman (Judy Chicago’s The dinner party) and only one by a non-European (Hokusai’s The great wave off Kanagawa). Painting as usual ruled the roost but Shepard Fairey provided a nice graphic touch. As for the Southern Hemisphere, it didn't feature.

We stumbled on this heuristic by simply putting the word 'art' into the Google search box. Now the trick will be to see if tastes change over time.
Images: Google's top twenty