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Act as if you are a curator:
an AI-generated exhibition

September 09, 2023 – February 18, 2024
Screenshot of ChatGPT interface for the installation Act as if you are a curator.

With recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), now increasingly accessible to the world, our society is at another technological and ethical crossroads. Vast amounts of data can be synthesized into text and image generation and analytical interpretation, resulting in certain decision-making processes, once the exclusive domain of humans, now increasingly delegated to computers. This year the Nasher Museum embarked on an experiment to use AI to curate an exhibition from the museum’s collection. While museum professionals are far from relinquishing control of exhibition making and interpretation, this exercise is a powerful way to explore the applications of AI in the creative realm as related to curatorial authorship and expertise, the subjectivity of the selection process, and the future impact of technology on museums.


Artificial intelligence is a nascent technology, but one that is here to stay. We hope this experiment will shed some light on its usefulness and limitations within museums, higher education, and the creative industries more broadly.

Chief Curator Marshall N. Price

Students and faculty in Duke’s Art, Art History and Visual Studies Department and the Duke Digital Art History and Visual Culture Research Lab began by creating a tool to extract publicly accessible information from the museum’s collection database. This dataset of nearly 14,000 objects in the Nasher Museum’s collection was further transformed into machine-readable data that is understandable by OpenAI’s ChatGPT platform. Our team further developed a series of prompts and instructions for ChatGPT that asked it to select artworks for the exhibition. A similar process was incorporated in the creation of the accompanying wall and label texts.

Organization and Support

This exhibition is organized by ChatGPT. The Nasher support team includes Julia McHugh, Ph.D., Trent A. Carmichael Director of Academic Initiatives, and Curator of Arts of the Americas; Julianne Miao, Curatorial Assistant; Mark Olson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the Practice of Visual and Media Studies at Duke University; and Marshall N. Price, Ph.D, Chief Curator and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Duke undergraduates Irma Lopez, Alveena Nadim, Maddie Rubin and David Sardá provided research support.

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