Tag: Maximilian Schich

Dr. Maximilian Schich, EODIAH Acting Assistant Director


Maximilian Schich is currently finalizing a book manuscript Outlining a Systematic Science of Art and Culture [working title]. Dealing with substance, relations, and dynamics in art and cultural production, the book builds on two decades of work, including the study of art history and classical archaeology, a first decade of consulting practice dealing with large graph databases, and a second decade of multidisciplinary collaborative research in complex network science and cultural analytics. 

The book narrative is rooted in a corpus of 1200 unique scientific figures produced by the author. These figures will be made available as a separate product. The book text targets a broad audience, including lay persons, students, humanists, and multidisciplinary scientists alike. 

Ongoing collaborative research under the leadership of Maximilian Schich includes the computational analysis of Chromatic Structure and Family Resemblance in Large Art Collections, in collaboration with research assistant Loan Tran (UT Dallas MA 2018), and computer scientists Prof. Jevin West and PhD student Poshen Lee (both at the University of Washington, Seattle). 

The project uses Deep Learning, i.e. a machine learning method that is capable to identify polymorphic similarities in large amounts of visual material. The art collections under investigation range from sets of several hundred, to hundreds of thousands of images. The research aims to deepen our understanding regarding the morphological structure of collections, to facilitate curatorial decisions, and to provide alternative experiences of collections as whole. 

Preliminary results have been presented at the Digital Humanities conference, a KDD workshop, and a workshop of the National Academy of the Sciences. The project is supported by the KRESS Foundation.

In October 2018, Maximilian will bring together a group of collaborators for several days to further investigate the Evolution of the Paris Salon, including art historian Debbie DeWitte PhD (UT Dallas), art historian Diana Greenwald PhD (Oxford University, currently National Gallery, Washington), physics PhD student Artem Bolshakov (UT Dallas grad, now Cornell University), and physicist Prof. Gourab Ghoshal (Rochester University). The project aim is to amalgamate classic qualitative art history approaches with quantitative methods of complexity science to study the evolutionary dynamics of topics in the Paris Salon. 

The study covers 158,000 artworks exhibited over the span of two centuries. Preliminary results have been presented at NetSci and the inaugural conference of the Cultural Evolution Society.

During the 2018/2019 academic year, Maximilian Schich is further involved as the Acting Assistant Director of EODIAH, supervising the ongoing ISAAC program, and further nurturing the understanding of art history with the means of science. The Institute for the Study of American Art in China (ISAAC) is an initiative supported by the Terra foundation, hosting a number of fellows from Nanjing University at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. 

Feeding into a multidisciplinary science of art and culture, Maximilian will gather small groups of collaborators in project-focused sessions, as exemplified above, and teach a course to introduce cutting-edge approaches in “Data-driven Art History” within the EODIAH master program in the 2019 Spring semester.


On Friday, November 2, 2018, Maximilian Schich is invited, together with Suzanne Preston Blier (Harvard) and Matthew Lincoln (Carnegie Mellon), to present at the annual Arpeggio symposium at the Collision Space at Duke University. Feeding into the common topic of “Quantity+Quality”, Schich will give a presentation titled “Embracing Confusion: Quantity as Quality”.

On Monday, November 19, 2018, Maximilian Schich is invited to present a lecture in the MTS speaker series in the Northwestern University program in Media, Technology & Society, which “hosts distinguished and exceptional scholars from a wide range of disciplines”.

EODIAH Professor Maximilian Schich Presents at NetSci2017

Maximilian Schich

EODIAH and ATEC Associate Professor Maximilian Schich was selected to present the Springer/Nature invitation talk at NetSci2017, the flagship International Conference on Network Science (http://netsci2017.net/). In the talk, titled Networks in Art and Culture, Prof. Schich outlined his own research trajectory from art history and archaeology towards a science of art and culture that bridges the “two worlds”, currently done in co-affiliation with UT Dallas ATEC and the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History (EODIAH).

The talk, selected by Springer/Nature to be sponsored as the Springer Complexity invited talk, coincides with the NetSci2017 conference call officially adding “arts and design” to the list of established network science disciplines, including “computer and information sciences, physics, mathematics, statistics, the life sciences, neuroscience, environmental sciences, social sciences, finance and business.” The addition of “arts and design” is a direct consequence of a successful satellite symposium series on “Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks”, co-organized by Maximilian Schich, Isabel Meirelles (OCAD University), and Roger Malina (UT Dallas ATEC), from 2010 to 2015.

After achieving acceptance rates between 14% and 25%, Prof. Schich says “It was a strategic move to stop doing the satellite and effectively nudge the main conference to add “arts and design” to the official disciplines and let a “culture” session emerge within the main conference program via relevant submissions diverted through the absence of our own satellite.”

In the coming academic year, Prof. Schich will work to summarize his emerging field as an EODIAH-sponsored guest professor at Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich/Germany, one of the most extensive international art libraries world-wide. Schich is glad to return in Fall 2018, stating, “In which other university can an Art Historian collaborate with excellent students from all over campus, without the need to excuse the use of science to understand art and culture? Go UTD!”.

MORE ON NetSci2017:
Why should network scientists be interested in art and culture? Why should historians of art and culture be interested in network science? Why does NetSci2017 officially call for contributions in “arts and design”? And why does the main conference feature a session on “culture”? This talk will provide reasoning regarding these questions, both documenting the rise of a vibrant community, and outlining challenges that are central to both network science and the study of art and culture. A NetSci satellite theme with more than 60 contributions from more than 37 disciplines since 2009, network analysis now permeates data-driven research in art and culture, while culture analytics increasingly establishes itself as a science.