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ArtFacts.Net has recently upgraded it's ranking algorithm to make it more relevant and up to date.

We saw that the Top 100 ranking had become rather static. Static in the sense that all the points artists accumulated for exhibitions never got deleted by the system. Thus, the Artist Ranking algorithm advocated expansionary points accumulation over time. Through this kind of inflationism some artists gained huge amounts of points over the years leading to a kind of monopoly.

For example, Andy Warhol" and Pablo Picasso gained more points through their past exhibitions than the following 70 artists altogether.

Points accumulation inflated the relevance not only of the biggest names such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso but also roughly 1/3 of all the Top 100 artists. Rankings did not change at all between 2011 and 2012. From our point of view this loss of dynamics no longer served to accurately reflect the vivid contemporary art world of today.

We have lessened the weight of exhibitions that finished 10 years or more ago, in order to put more focus on current exhibitions.

By reducing the accumulation of points and putting an emphasis on current exhibitions we have introduced a factor to depreciate past exhibitions. The depreciation is computed using the straight-line method to keep the mathematics simple.

To illustrate the way things now work we could pick one past exhibition and see the effect that particular show has for the artist's ranking. We have chosen a show from 25 January 1996 which ran until 7 May 1996 in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The show was called "Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective". For the show Roy DeCarava gained 464.79 Points in 1996. In the former version of the Artist Ranking these points were used every year again and again to calculate the artists current value. In the new and upgraded version of the Artist Ranking this show is still factored in the artists current reputation but only with a remainder of the original figure. Every year the value of that solo show in 1996 diminishes a little, whilst still being recorded in our archives.

Of course it is regretful that a great photographer like Roy DeCarava is not exhibited very much any more. The fact "of not being exhibited" always resulted in a declining graph and a low rank in the Artist Ranking. However, in the upgraded version of the Artist Ranking the breakdown is far more dramatic. In our example Roy DeCarava drops from a rank of around 2,500 to a rank of 9,500 because points are reduced once the exhibition has run it's course.

Emerging new artists will be the winners of this change in the algorithm. The negative impact of depreciation is irrelevant to a new artist's career. For instance, the video artist Artur Zmijewski is just one of the many who will benefit from the change to the Artist Ranking, his ranking rose from around 270 to 160 since the upgrade.

One might ask, "How can you compare a living contemporary video artist with a deceased photographer who was mainly active in the 50s and 60s?". Nonetheless, Roy DeCarava and Artur Zmijewski are good examples in the eyes of the Artist Ranking because they are both two talented world class artists but complete opposites in their recent exhibition history.Roy DeCarava's looks gap-toothed compared to that of Artur Zmijewski which looks like it is rising up in the distance before us.

Text; Marek Claassen


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