“Goes Grey… Alzheimers” by James P. Scott featuring Paranoid Parrot
Exhibiting artists were given the task of creating new memes using classic internet memes as their inspiration. From the beloved Grumpy Cat to the forbidden goatse (Do not google goatse, please. Or blue waffles. Really. Trust us!), memes were given a variety of interpretations and revisions in media ranging form paint to textiles.
The term “meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. I find one of the more interesting descriptions comes from a Dr. Luis Benitez-Bribiesca, a critic of memetics, who calls the theory,
…a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution.”
This all may sound a bit heady for our subject matter, but have no worries, we will narrow down the “meme” to it’s bastard-child subset, the “internet meme.” Mostly created by geeks and spread via sites such as Reddit and 4chan, and then spewed across millions of status updates on Facebook, internet memes are created by using image macros, an image that can be superimposed with text for a potentially humorous effect.
One of the earlier successful examples of the internet meme was the lolcat “i can has cheezburger” cat, which really started the meme craze. Lolcats are pictures of animals paired with various original captions. When anonymous began their protests, memes were part of their signage.
With a concept of of (re)creating original memes for an exhibition, illuminoidal arts, under the auspices of artist and gallery owner Leah C. Dixon, brought together a slew of disparate artists, who are united by their meme fluency. She writes:
As communications have become increasingly networked and cross-pollinated, memes – pieces of information that spread virally through social networks, e-mail and smartphone applications – have become a staple of expression in the digital age. Artists for this show were challenged to create works that referenced and re-mixed this current and evolving cultural phenomenon.
Exhibiting artists for Meme Democracy include: Douglas Alvarez, Stephen Anderson, Lethargic Artist, Vicki Barkley, Terri Berman, Kelly Blunt, Bill Dambrova, Lisa Derrick Leah C. Dixon, Tamara Guion, Joyce Lieberman, Johnny Naked, Carol Powell, Daniel Rolnik, James P. Scott, Amy Sheridan, and Mara Thompson. (Full disclosure: Lisa Derrick is CARTWHEELart.com’s editorial director, and Daniel Rolnik contributed to CARTWHEELart.com during our first six months).
Also on display will be an additional selection of works by illuminoidal founder, Leah C. Dixon.
“Nice Background” by Bill Dambrova featuring Art Student Owl
Photographs by Leah C. Dixon