Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Al Kratzer Art Exhibit

May 11 - June 23, 2019

Saturdays: 11am - 4pm
Sundays: 1pm - 4pm

at the 1869 Luckenbach Mill
459 Old York Road, Bethlehem

About the Artist

Al Kratzer is best described as a "Creative Generalist" who has worked as a Publisher, Sales Director, Creative Director, Web Designer, Editor, Trainer, Fine Artist, Cartoonist, and Musician. Al was an early online devotee who began designing Web sites in 1995.

He recently finished a 20-year stretch working in the news media business, developing online products and leading teams toward the digital future. Since leaving the media profession he has been pioneering a new body of artwork using Artificial Intelligence tools. He lives in Easton, PA with his wife and son.

Read more about Al Kratzer's work in this Lehigh Valley Live article.

Join Us for the Opening Reception as part of Design After Dark
May 17 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the 1869 Luckenbach Mill

Come join Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites staff at the gallery opening for Algorithmic Abstractions on Friday, May 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The reception will feature a line up of Al Kratzer’s best works, live jazz performances, and cocktails and hors d’oeurves will also be available.

Kratzer will also be giving a special presentation about his unique form of artistic expression, answering questions about his process, inspiration, and tools.

We will also be holding a raffle for a one-of-a-kind piece made by Al Kratzer specifically for this event. Raffle tickets will be available, and a portion of the proceeds will go directly back to the preservation of history by Historic Bethlehem. Also for sale will be a variety of works by Al Kratzer, ranging from small $60 wrapped-canvas pieces to large matted and framed prints of his works.

Artist Talk: ARTificial Intelligence
A Collaboration Between Man and Machine

Enjoy live entertainment with special musical guests and light refreshments. Get your chance to own a one-of-a-kind Al Kratzer piece at the evening's art raffle. Raffle proceeds will directly support the mission of HBMS.

Artist Statement

“My current work is the culmination of years of using technology to enhance and alter pictorial reality. In the 1970’s, I was turning up the color saturation on my TV and taking Polaroid photos of the screen to jump-start ideas for paintings. Twenty years later computer technology became a fascination and I started dabbling in digital animation and web site design. At a time when most artists were using reference sketches while painting, I had a monitor set up next to my easel.”

“Playing jazz has been a big part of my life and an ongoing influence on my art. The basic elements of music -- form, rhythm, harmony, motion, resolution and occasional randomness -- are all applicable to visual works. I try to instill the vitality of improvisation into my paintings through the use of bold color combinations.”

“The abstractions found here are a new direction which takes advantage of recent developments in applying artificial intelligence to the creative process. Three separate artificial intelligence programs are utilized along the way, combining image generation using Generational Adversarial Networks with texture mapping using Convolutional Neural Networks and an A.I. resolution enhancement process. Additional editing and digital painting are added to further personalize and stylize the work. The process expands my ability to create dynamic mash ups and alterations. Subjects break down into their essences and core forms become ambiguous but still familiar. Each work is printed only once. They are unique one-of-a-kind creations that combines cutting edge machine intelligence with a human touch.”

Artist Website: https://alkratzerart.wordpress.com/

Art and A.I.

Traditionally, many people think of art as a humanity that relies on human artistic expression and handiwork; artificial intelligence (AI) is usually considered a landmark in the progress of computer technology. So how do art and artificial intelligence work together?

Al Kratzer takes this unique trend in art to a new level by using artificial intelligence as a tool to create visually stunning artwork. Artificial intelligence, which is commonly defined as computer programing that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence like writing or translating, is used as a tool by Kratzer like a painter would use a paintbrush. Kratzer uses complex mathematical equations, computer programing skills, and a lot of creativity to teach computers to simulate human creativity and aesthetic. These programs create abstract artwork that Kratzer then views and edits until it is the finished project that is visually appealing.

While there is a discussion about artist rights and ownership, mainly stemming from the 2018 sale of the first AI-generated portrait for $432,500, Kratzer has insight into the artist process that shows that the human touch is still necessary for art to still be truly beautiful.

Learn more about Al Kratzer’s method and views on AI in his artist talk titled
‘ARTificial Intelligence: A Collaboration Between Man and Machine’
that he will present at the gallery opening.

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