Assignment#3 Memes are Art, and I’m tired of Pretending they’re not.

This is quite an interesting yet taboo debate starter.

I feel like a lot of internet users would probably roll their eyes, and a lot of no internet users would tilt their heads in.

Some younger artists would probably shrug and say “Yeah” but some older artists will snort and hold an elitist position before saying “Absolutely not”.

I think our opinions on this question are based on generation and perspective.

If you talked to a person in ancient Greece they’d say writing is a destructive concept and will never be considered an art form like oral linguistics.

If you talked to a painter at the dawn of the photograph they will say photography is derivative and will never be an art form like painting.

Even today many artists don’t consider video games an art form.

This argument is new, yet the fundamentals of it are nearly as old as history itself.

Memes, in general are a means of  spreading cultural information spread through imitation.

The term was first used in a book called “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins.

If any of you readers play a lot of video games I feel like you’ve heard of this terminology from somewhere else.

Since Memes are units of information that could be spread through ideas, behaviors and actions, Internet Memes an extension of this idea.

They spread units of cultural information, through images, text, and even sound.

You can often find all of these combining.

In that sense, Internet Memes take units of cultural information and spread them.

I think that Memes are an unappreciated form of art closely related to collage art which people also are on the fence about as an art form.

I define art as a form of expression that stimulates the senses and warps our perception of reality.

When you see a painted portrait of a person that’s merely a collection of colors that we perceive as a person.

So when people say that memes are just images or a collection of images with text, there’s not much separating them from a painting.

We use materials to make art.

Art, in a way, is also a meme. It’s the primary way to spread cultural information.

The Mona Lisa for example is practically iconic so much so that it is often emmultaed in others works.

Another example is Superman. He is the first superhero to ever be created and set a standard for what heroes would and can be.

Internet Memes are an artform and art itself is a meme.

So should we see Memes in Museums? Are we going to see a Reddit post elegantly framed on a museum wall?

A self-made meme because I couldn’t find a version like this.

In fact, I’d argue that they shouldn’t.

Museums are like pedal stools but they also act as a way to separate art from the people.

Internet Memes are the people’s art.

They are publically accessible and easy to find and I think putting them in such a close-off, monetizable, and elite space strips them of their appeal and their power.

That’s also why I’m so opposed to selling Memes as NFTs. Because it’s almost degrading and hypocritical to trade and distribute memes as a way to benefit the elite.

It strips the modesty and humility of the medium. That’s probably why a lot of people that make memes won’t admit that it’s art because art sounds like a grand subject and the title of artist sounds elite.

It’s almost like displaying graffiti in a museum. The appeal of graffiti is how counter-cultural it is and Museums, whether you agree or disagree represent everything against the counter-culture.

It becomes a symbol of status.

My Top Meme


This meme makes me feel really old. I thought that one got taken down


2. E

Lord Marquaad E | Know Your Meme

1. The Eternal Meme

This meme will probably outlast all of us.

2 thoughts on “Assignment#3 Memes are Art, and I’m tired of Pretending they’re not.”

  1. Wow, EPIC! I just did quick read in between classes but wow!
    Ill be back with much more to share, BEZOS is back!
    Surely you meant to start this epic post off with a MEME right??
    Back soon!

  2. Really great work on this!
    Re-visiting a 3rd times is even better!
    Thank you for the epic assortment of GIFs, the narrative itself and the wonderful way of stylistically sharing your perspective and research!

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