Friday, May 17, 2013

Art and Economics in Fresno

I received the following, unusual email:

I am writing to let you know about my exhibition "ImPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS?" at the Fresno Art Museum

It is roughly based on your research in matching theory.

Thank you for the inspiration,
Sonya Rapoport

ImPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS? is an interactive artwork that updates the Pattern and Design (P&D) art pieces that I created  from 1966 to 1968. I had painted iconic abstractions directly onto kitchy patterned linen from closeout sales. The results became my Funky P&D artwork.

Upon learning about the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Science for Marketing Design and Matching Theory, I was inspired to update the P&D work according to the research of its winners, Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley. 

ImPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS? pays tribute to Marketing as Andy Warhol's work pays tribute to Celebrity. The updated P&D work consists of ten stable images composed of a black and white, 8 x 10" glossy photograph of a 60's P&D painting placed on a New York Times Advertisement. I titled each of these ten stable art works with an unstable media headline, such as "Find Your Magic." The titles are "unstable" because I invite viewers to reassign the titles to a "stable" image of their choice. I track the results in a Matching Theory algorithm.

The work of Nobel laureates Roth and Shapley seeks to optimize how people, such as medical students and job applicants, and institutions, like residency programs and companies, find and select each other in order to create stable matches.

ImPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS? demonstrates both restricted and unrestricted mechanisms for matching. I organized data-gathering events in which groups of ten participants picked one "unstable" title and matched it with one "stable" composite image. I then removed this newly named work, leaving only nine titles for re-matching with the nine remaining composite images. This restricted mechanism of matching continued until all titles were assigned to a composite image. During the exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum, participants will engage in the unrestricted mechanism of matching any title to any composite image, previously selected or not.

In ImPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS? I try to merge art with economic science. By encouraging people to interact with my composite artworks, I created a simplistic model of the Marketing Design and Matching Theory to demonstrate the difference between the restricted and unrestricted selections.

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