While we can generally agree today that graffiti and street art are to be accepted by contemporary art critics as legitimate expressions of fine art, the concept of the lone poster, explicit tweet, or circulated meme are still deemed insignificant to the current establishment. Why? Why are we still locked into a generational disagreement on medium. The circa 1990’s push to see video art and street art as viable should not and cannot appeased those of us who are yearning to understand, in real time, how our politics and expressions – our evolution as artistic beings – is affected by and affecting our visual experience.
Technology should not and cannot any longer be separated from contemporary art.
This is the manifesto for memes.
This is my validation of sites like DeviantArt and guerrilla installations such as INDECLINE's "The Emperor Wears No Clothes"
This is my plea to look at individuals such as Milo Yaniopolis, Lee Stranahan, and Gavin McInnes for what they are: performance artists.
The meme is Duchamp’s porcelain toilet and the middle finger to the galleries and the institutions we have been waiting for.
The meme has risen. In case you didn’t notice, it is even our president...
PAY ATTENTION art is all around you
no. this is not a movement, it has already moved past us who call ourselves "critics" or "theorists" or "cultural contemporary self-masturbatory intellectuals" (guilty as charged). The people have left us behind and it is about time. Now here we are; playing catch up running behind the internet sweeping up everything we can to paint a TRUE portrait of the art of contemporary U.S.A. From flag burning to proud deplorable GIFs, it is the posters, memes, and virtual quips that have risen out of social technology and political unrest that should be held up in museum archives and taken as seriously as hyper sensitive liberals wish they were. These are expressions of discomfort and frustration and anger - what else do you want in your art? Follow conservativemovement or conservative_.savages, or womenvisionists (if you insist on being a chauvinist and women’s rights are your trigger) Challenge your triggers. Want something truly unique for your collection? Email ANTIFA for an interview. Better yet, just print the response The Stranger received from the Portland chapter. Print it on a piece of computer paper and frame it: there is your contemporary fine art.
To discount the power of images such as a burning Obama, Hillary or Jesus euphony, or the repeated meme of Donald Trump’s combover flown back in the wind, not only does contemporary art a disservice, but this ignorance allows us to consume complicity. Take a step back and look, not at the affirmation or frustration these images provide to you, but at the imagery itself. What colors are being primarily utilized by the left? What type did ANTIFA choose for their logo? Where do the ambiguities/commonalities lie in the GIFs, memes, and digital images of Donald Trump or Steve Bannon? When Joe Biden became the superhero of the democrats for his bromance with Barak Obama it felt like the nostalgic chuckle we all needed to break the tears and frustration at what had just happened – does this not mean something? We are putting our emotions and distrust and fire into online images and wearing them like patches across our Instagram and Facebook pages.
COVFEFE – arguably my favorite happening to be transformed into image currency. Click that repost button and blast a photoshopped image of the a MAGA hat with “Make America Covfefe Again” scrolled across the front. The MAGA hat itself should be in a museum (and I believe it already is, thank you Jerry Saltz) – and so should all the iterations of it that have been beating it back from serious town into ridicule-ville.
nothing wrong with a bit of ridiculous art.
Enter Pepe. Yes, the same Pepe who has been designated a hate symbol by the anti-defamation league. Also, that moon guy, do you know who I am talking about? If you do not, you should check out “know your meme” arguably the greatest website for our research into digital political images and we owe them a great debt. Also, hosting sites such as DeviantArt and Reddit for allowing people to anonymously express their political points through images.
NO MORE CENSORSHIP. Place that trigger warning if you feel like you should. The tricky part is that it is easy to look back on the loser and decontextualize and pick apart their aesthetics from an anthropological almost “look at what they tried to do… sad” perspective, but when looking down the rabbit hole of the recent ‘winner’ in American politics, after we all felt the shockwave of misogyny, hate, racism, anti-Muslim, and the HUGE back pedal our government did on welfare, education, and LGBTQ rights…it is exhausting… Because when you are staring down the barrel of the gun that just took over your apartment, it is hard to find the purpose in deconstructing exactly how they ended up in your house to begin with, but alas, that is what we are trying to do. We are at war, it is generational, it is coastal, it is cultural and it is built on images. Let’s see what everyone has in their arms bag, because if you cannot break away to discover how you ended up with these people in your house, you will not be able to prevent it in the future or adequately respond.
Freedom. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it openly. The Stranger did a great article on whether the first amendment was allowing hate speech, who was given this freedom? This right? Well, TBH it was given to all of us and that sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? Instead of being afraid of their freedom, we should covet it. Let them speak, let them spew, let them paint and draw and express and kick and scream. Meanwhile, we will do the same, but better. We will learn and we will listen and we will retort…and we will win, because the reality is, art is OUR weapon. Ever since modernism we have wielded the sword of the image and the protest poster and now the meme! See George Grosz, see abstract expressionism, see the 1968 Paris riots, see INDECLINE, but also, see the anonymous Hillary statue in all its misogynistic disgust… see MILO… see Twinks for Trump. Look and do not look away. RETORT for fucks sake, not in the comments section but visually, dance, post, meme, GIF it away and send it to me. Send it to TINN. Send it to everyone. Send it as a response to your Trump loving college roommate or your hypocritical uncle.
The new gallery is your Instagram page. The new gallery is your Facebook feed. The new gallery is putting on a show highlighting one thing: a printed version of the email your mother sent you on November 9th explaining why Trump won’t be “that bad”. The new gallery is the woman’s march, ANTIFA, Breitbart News. The new gallery is presenting MILO, Martin Skrelini, and Bernie Sanders memes. The new gallery is a Fuck Trump dance party and a Pro-Trump rally at the state university. Art is ours and theirs and yours and mine now. If you choose to turn away from the emotional expression of the so called “other side” you are giving into a historical echo chamber. It doesn’t matter if you are right, we are all “right” welcome to America – what matters is are you listening.