Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrating a Quarter of Infinity

Heavens, it seems like just yesterday that Jacques-Laurent Agasse and Josef Albers stepped into the ring and, with no fanfare whatsoever, began the first match of the First Round of the so-called “Infinite Art Tournament.” Can you believe that we’re already one-quarter done?  But we are! In a limited sense!

To be precise, as of last weekend, 128 of the 512 artists who will compete in the First Round have made their inaugural appearance. Of the eight bracket sheets necessary to show the first four rounds of the tournament, one and almost all of the second are already in play! (Not quite all of the second, because First Round matches get yanked out of their initial bracket placement if they result in a tie. But close!)

To celebrate the day, there are two very modest new features. One is a full and occasionally coherent statement of the tournament rules, which I prepared as an exercise in technical writing. (Finding: Technical writing is harder than it looks.) The second is the entire third bracket sheet, available over there in the sidebar. From Dubuffet to Hals, you can look up your favorite late-early alphabet artists to check whether they’re in the show and scope out their First-Round competition. Yow!

By the way, if you are feeling a melancholy sense of the party being over before it is fairly begun, remember that we’re only talking about the First Round here. This is what the semi-finals bracket – Rounds 4 through 7 – looks like so far.

We’re in no danger of running out of art

For those who love statistics, here’s how things are looking:

Main Tournament

Entered Competition: 128 artists

Currently Undefeated: 37
Currently 3-0: 4
Currently 2-0: 11
Currently 1-0: 12
Currently 1-0-1: 2
Currently 0-0-1: 8
First Match Unresolved: 16

Currently One-Loss: 60
Currently 2-1: 10
Currently 1-1: 16
Currently 0-1-1: 2
Currently 0-1: 32

Eliminated: 15
Eliminated with a record of 0-2: 9
Eliminated with a record of 1-2: 6

To the extent that we have a leader, so far it would probably be Bernini. He’s one of four artists who have made it to the Fourth Round, and with a running total of 33 votes for and only 15 votes against, he is clearly a crowd favorite. On the whole, we’ve had more close matches than routs, and no one has yet been skunked, but Cornell’s 13-1 pasting of Copley and Bernini’s 15-2 romp over Beuys couldn’t have been pleasant for fans of the losing artists. Beuys is the least fortunate artist in the early going.  Despite not arousing any particular hostility in the crowd, neither did he inspire many votes, and he retired with a painful total of 4 for and 24 against.

Play-In Tournament

Entered Competition: 48 artists (of 96)

Completed Phase 1: 32 (as of Saturday, Dec. 22)

Will advance to Phase 2: 12
Eliminated: 20

Leading the pack so far is Remedios Varo, with a batting average of .917 in her flight. Again, we’ve yet to see anyone fail to get any votes at all, but Anselme Boix-Vives and Anges Martin share a painfully low score of .067.


Jenners said...

Seriously … how much time does it take to prepare this stuff and run it. You're nuts! (But in a good way.)

Chuckdaddy said...

2 ways to make posts like this even nerdier

1) Advanced Statistics
Advanced metrics are the rage in sports today. I see no reason why they couldn't be applied here. You've already alluded to keeping track of voting percentage. But why not take it up a level? How about calculating strength of schedule to really assess how well an artist has done?

2) Breakdown Results
I've been finding myself wondering, what do these tournament results say about art taste in general? Are certain countries of origins doing better (I feel possibly France is doing the best while Germany is struggling)? Are certain art eras more likable (Impressionism over Renaissance over modern?) than others? How about under-represented groups? Is the female win percentage high enough to warrant a reassessment of their numbers? What about countries outside Europe and America?

Michael5000 said...

Jenners: Plenty, but not as much as you might think. I work fast. You should see me at the office.

Chuck: Don't think I haven't thought about these things.