The mainstream contemporary art world is suddenly showing interest in AI art. While this has enlivened the practice, there remains significant disagreement over who or what actually deserves to be called an AI artist. This article examines several claimants to the term and grounds these in art history and theory. It addresses the controversial elevation of some artists over others and accounts for these choices, arguing that the art market alienates AI artists from their work. Finally, it proposes that AI art’s interactions with art institutions have not promoted new creative possibilities but have instead reinforced conservative forms and aesthetics.

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