Home > News > Art Target of Pepper Spray Protests: Seurat, Munch Achieve Timeless Meme Status

Art Target of Pepper Spray Protests: Seurat, Munch Achieve Timeless Meme Status

NPR reported yesterday that images of Lt. John Pike of the UC Berkeley Campus Police, instantly notorious for his part in pepper-spraying student protesters Friday, were being pasted into scenarios featuring famous works of art, including  Munch’s Scream and Seurat’s Grand Jatte. The story is partly an anatomy of a “meme,” a bit of roving, displaced internet content that is repurposed and retransmitted, sometimes far from it’s original context and meaning. What it doesn’t talk about is the way the artworks that are being pasted onto are themselves memes- and form a baseline visual backdrop for current internet commentary: Seurat has achieved his dream of making “art for the museums” (i.e. timeless) although not quite in the way he might have expected!

also by Bill Davenport
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