Art and AI – Fireside Chat with Dr. Emily L. Spratt and CUCNY President James P. Gerkis

Art and AI – Fireside Chat with Dr. Emily L. Spratt and CUCNY President James P. Gerkis

Join us for an exciting evening discussing the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence–especially as they pertain to the visual arts, ethics, and the policy landscape of emerging technologies–featuring art historian and data scientist, Dr. Emily Spratt in conversation with Columbia University Club of New York President, James Gerkis. Professor Spratt earned her doctorate in the history of art from Princeton University, did her postdoctorate in art and AI at the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, and is faculty at the Cooper Union; she is well known for her strategic advisory in the art market and the high technology sector. Her insights on art, technology, ethics, and society have been sought in articles and interviews with the Washington Post, CBS News, The Telegraph, The Times, CBC Radio, Agence France-Presse, Chosun Media, and a host of other news outlets.

Open to all Columbia Club members.


Dr. Emily L. Spratt

Dr. Emily L. Spratt is an art historian, data scientist, and strategic advisor based in New York City, and faculty at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She completed her doctorate in the history of art at Princeton University and did her postdoctorate in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University in art and artificial intelligence. Trained as a Byzantine and Renaissance–Baroque art historian, visual arts and AI specialist, technologist, and strategic advisor, Dr. Spratt’s career is founded inside and outside of academia. With teaching experience at Masaryk University, Rutgers University, Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Cornell University, Dr. Spratt has taught courses ranging from Byzantine and Renaissance art and architecture to the ethics of emerging technologies, media studies, contemporary art, and the art market. Also a recognized leader in the arts and culture, entertainment, and high technology industries, Dr. Spratt has been the art and technology lead at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, and has served as an expert consultant for companies such as Artory, the Campari Group, and L’Arpège.

At Princeton University, Dr. Spratt’s dissertation was on the legacy of Byzantium in the early modern period. She also received an M.A. in Renaissance art history and was a Stanley J. Seeger Fellow in the Program in Hellenic Studies and a graduate fellow in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. In addition, she holds an M.A. in Byzantine art history from UCLA, and a B.A. in religious studies and the history of art with a concentration in psychology from Cornell University. At Columbia University, Spratt was a member of both the Computer Vision Lab in the Department of Computer Science and the Historic Preservation Technology Lab in the School of Architecture. She is also a former member of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab in the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers University, where she was the head curator of the AI art collection.

In relation to her research on art, creativity, and computer vision science, Spratt served as an expert consultant in Fellini Forward, a Campari Group and Unit9 Production AI-inspired film that premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. In 2019, Spratt was selected to curate the President Emmanuel Macron-sponsored exhibition Au-delà du Terroir, Beyond AI Art at the Institut de France, Quai Conti, in Paris for the Global Forum on AI for Humanity. Two years earlier, Spratt curated arguably the first exhibition on AI utilizing deep learning techniques in Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI, which featured the art produced by the AICAN algorithm in Los Angeles and Frankfurt, and was showcased on CBS News in a segment on art and AI. Spratt also has worked extensively with the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, the Benaki Museum, and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, and has been a collaborator on a number of projects and international exhibitions related to Byzantium. At The Frick Collection, Emily organized with her colleagues the major symposium “Searching Through Seeing: Optimizing Vision Technology for the Arts,” for which she delivered the keynote presentation. For the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), Spratt was the honorary guest editor for the special magazine issue on computers and art. One of Spratt’s most interesting projects to date was an artistic collaboration with the French chef Alain Passard titled “Gastronomic Algorithms,” in which they utilized Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to create Michelin Plate-based portraits in the manner of the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Spratt has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards from the Montreal AI Ethics Institute, the Onassis Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Cini Foundation in Venice, the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, the American Research Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, and the universities from where she holds degrees. She is on the digital and multimedia advisory board of the Renaissance Society of America, and was a consultant for The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library and a steering committee member of the museum’s Scholars’ Advisory Group. In addition, Spratt is an advisory board member of the Artificial Intelligence Finance Institute (AIFI), a board director of the tech accelerator Exponential Impact, the ethics advisor of Iconem, an advisory board member of See.Me, and the art and AI advisor of Ethical Tech at Duke University. Spratt has been an advisor for the Defense Innovation Accelerator, which is part of the National Security Innovation Network under the United States Department of Defense. Spratt is also on the ICOMOS committee readdressing the ethical principles for the recording of cultural heritage sites and monuments for UNESCO, the cybersecurity committee for the IEEE Standards Association creating guidelines for the Clinical Internet of Things (IoT) Data and Device Interoperability with TIPPSS (Trust, Identity, Privacy, Protection, Safety, Security), and the IEEE Ethically Aligned Design (EAD) for the Arts committee. In 2022, Spratt joined the UK-based FWA Awards as a jury member.

Barron’s Article

James P. Gerkis


James P. Gerkis is a partner resident in the New York City office of Proskauer Rose LLP, an international law firm with 12 offices and over 800 lawyers.  He is in the Corporate Department with extensive experience in sophisticated U.S. and global corporate transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, restructuring transactions, capital markets, venture capital, media and real estate.  He has represented a wide variety of financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and growth companies.  James focuses on matters for clients in various industries, including technology, media, health care and real estate.

 Among other clients, James has represented Morgan Stanley, Redfin Corporation, BlackRock, Health Catalyst Capital, KKR Credit Advisors, AB Private Credit, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, Central Park Group, Professional Triathlete Organisation, Beach Point Capital, iHeartMedia, Preferred Apartment Communities, Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, Oxford Analytica and Olshan Properties.

 James received his law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1983, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Teaching Fellow.  He did his undergraduate work at Columbia College, where (having been admitted without finishing high school) he received a BA degree in Political Science in 1980.

 James has made presentations at numerous industry and bar association conferences and has authored many articles on different legal topics.

 James is the President of the Columbia University Club of New York and is active in other Columbia University alumni affairs.  James previously received the Columbia University Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service.

 James also is on the Board of Directors of HABA-Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance.  James previously received the Attorney of the Year Award from The Hellenic Lawyers Association.