memesart
PBS's Idea Labs makes a compelling case in this short film. 

Are sites like Quick Meme Internet incarnations of Andy Warhol’s The Factory?

Somebody had to make the argument at some point: Image macros are art.

It seems absurd on its face. But in this video from PBS’s Idea Lab, Mike Rugnetta makes a compelling argument for those jokey images with superimposed text, which at some point seem to have displaced cats as the fuel powering low-brow Internet culture.

By its end this skeptic was pretty much converted. Image macros (not memes, as Rugnetta calls them) really can be a form of art.

What do you think of Rugnetta’s argument? Oddly enough, the top comment on YouTube has an insightful take on the question. Is this what happens when PBS viewers comment on YouTube?

“Trying to retrofit meme culture into art is an interesting thought experiment, and totally valid,” wrote porcupineschool. “But I don't think the real question is whether or not memes are art. What interests me is how this incredibly dynamic, generative movement of visual culture sprung up overnight with almost no involvement from the art world at all. So it's not a question of legitimizing memes by calling them art, it's a question of whether ‘art’ is still relevant considering that memes happened without it.”

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
pbs
Watch the PBS documentary “Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium"
Are animated GIFs a form of art? PBS clearly thinks so. The public station recently released a seven-minute documentary, titled “Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium,” which features brief interviews and monologues by some Internet culture experts: Patrick Davison from the performance artist team MemeFactory, Tumblr’s community manager Christopher Price, GIF artists Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader from Reed+Rader, and Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Cinemagraphs.
The Latest From Daily Dot Video
Group

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!