AI Artists list

Thursday 16th February, 2023 - Bruce Sterling

*Everybody wants a canon.


Q: What is the purpose of the Icons list?

Foremost, we want to capture interest in generative art as a movement and in particular works – whether from someone new to the space, or from an existing collector (of whatever level of dedication). We also believe in stimulating market activity through a compelling presentation and easy-to-use collector experience – and acknowledge that this is one of the primary means for growing the space, and therefore further empowering collectors and artists.

To work towards these goals, the Icon list is carefully selected and ordered. The ordering should be viewed as a presentation to collectors, showing the attraction, merit, interest, and value of these artworks. Some collectors will be familiar with most projects and should feel a comfort in the list’s order… new collectors should be enticed by what they see in quality and by various aspects that grab their attention.

In a curated presentation there should be spans of natural-feeling progression, and familial relationships in groupings… there should also be some moments of surprise that gently stop the flow and make the viewer think twice. Like a museum presentation or gallery show, the order is chosen for display and storytelling, and not as a ranking. Also similar to these traditional ‘houses of art’, we use these curatorial devices to achieve a range of objectives – perpetuating the arts, providing historical context, entertaining visitors, attracting members, and yes, helping artwork sell.

Q: How are projects selected for the Icons list?

There are no mechanical rules for adding projects to the icons list. They are not added by an objective metric like sales volume, they are not added following a consensus vote of a certain group of collectors, and they are not even added by a single quality like how they look. The Icons are added following a completely subjective but highly considered array of considerations, including variables such as originality, craftsmanship, beauty, conceptual intrigue, community response, market value, and other such attributes. These characteristics are mentally evaluated by Tender founder @ajberni and added to the Icons list as he sees fit.

Q: Why isn’t there a committee for selecting Icons?

The Icons are not selected in a vacuum – the voices of founding Tenders, Pass holders, and the greater community are all heavily considered in the always-evolving assessment of a given artwork. For anyone to deny the influence of outside sources is to unknowingly succumb to an abundance of their influence – instead they are acknowledged and considered by Tender as important but subordinate to true personal conviction. Ultimately, we strongly believe that one person has to make the decision for curation, in general – that voting consensus often adds watered down perspectives and missed opportunities. There are times when a committee is necessary and more effective, but it would be an unneeded impediment to nimbleness and decisiveness for Tender. The objective is for the list to have value intrinsic to itself – not because a certain person said so or because the list used a certain metric – but because the consolidation and presentation have proven to be useful, familiar, surprising at times, and hopefully attractive (meaning: attracting people to collect). The success of the list in its first six months has proven the hypothesis that subjective curation without a known personality can have impact and acceptance from the community, and so we will continue with this practice.

Q: How often are Icons updated?

Updates don’t follow a set schedule, but usually occur every week or two… sometimes twice in a week. Typically they are added four at a time, often with the four having some thematic resemblance to each other….