Are Internet Memes ART?

Are Internet Memes ART?

Screen the video above first and read the article below. Do an internet search for “Are memes ART?” See what you discover. No matter how you cut it, memes are here to stay…is this good or bad for Art? I want to know what you think. And by all means, share you favorites via URL, and or create your own!

Are Memes the Pop Culture Art of our Era? Kate Knibbs –

Please leave your reactions in the comments section below.


Also –

What new media, digital or electronic Artists, websites, blogs or online platforms do you resonate with? Why are these artists, artworks / sites / blogs important? Please explore and prepare a list of at least 2-3 website urls to bring into class on 2/20. We will be viewing and sharing a series of these in class.

February 13th — Project #2 – In Class Studio Work Session. Students will bring materials needed to work in class. Discussions during the work session will take place.


  1. Avatar
    Len Antinori says:

    Although I was raised on a more classical approach (representational drawing/painting/etc.) based on artistic expression which reflected the “real” world; in the contemporary world, any form of personal expression is considered art, leaving the criteria of its value wide open.
    For centuries, one’s appreciation of beauty, commonly referred to as aesthetics was the determining factor, but with the complexity of our current world, beauty is just one possible, subjective element in determining artistic worth. As I observe the various memes in the video, I feel some are visually or conceptually interesting, while others are not. But I accept the fact that their appeal lies in contemporary art lies in the democratization of both the expression and the reaction to that expression. Thus, in my opinion all memes are considered art, leaving it up to each individual to judge their quality and appeal.

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      admin says:

      This is so well stated Len! I believe that memes are here to stay, whether we want them to or not. I have learned that making adjustments and re-definitions of our beliefs about what “art” is and is not, certainly needs to be challenged. If we don’t, how can we expand our experiences as both artists and viewers of art? More to come this week 🙂

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    Andrea says:

    I never considered memes to be art but merely another form of content filling our social media walls. However, after viewing the video, reading Kate Knibbs’ article and further looking into the debate on whether or not memes are art, I would agree that they are in fact pieces of art. Memes do convey feeling from the artist (most times humor and who doesn’t need more of that these days?), they do provoke people to discuss what the subject of the meme is about, there is meaning behind the meme! I can appreciate if traditional or classically trained artists might find memes jarring, however, its a newer form of art thats conveying a more modern approach to things much like when graffiti became part of the art world as we discussed in class. Many of those who say there is no effort put into memes because you can simply input text and an image into a generator and its created for you might have to look at the less is more approach. Sometimes art created in the spur of the moment creates the truest form of art since its not overthought and allows for the raw emotion to come out.

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      admin says:

      Great! I love this – “Sometimes art created in the spur of the moment creates the truest form of art since its not overthought and allows for the raw emotion to come out.” The future is indeed electric!

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    Wilmer Cuba says:

    Are memes art? In my opinion…OF COURSE NOT. If memes were art, then we’d have millions upon millions of “artists”. What an insult this would be to the great artists of the past, like all of the artists from the renaissance era, like the Da’Vincis, Michelangelos, Bottichellis who took art from its primitive state at the time and into grandeur new heights. Memes are an insult to all of the great artists of the past like Van Gogh, Turner, Monet, Picasso, Braque, Dali, and many many more. These artists were creating art while studying color, mood, light & shadow, texture, countless techniques with brushwork, impressive creations in 3-D, and more. But, what one can do with a meme can be impressive, and even considered art, in my opinion. A great example is how Lauren Kaelin took animal memes and created paintings from them…very impressive.

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    Chie Kim says:

    The question posed: Should memes be considered as art? In my opinion, yes…
    My personal background was in traditional and classical art forms and expression. The classical tools utilized to form art consisting of pencil and paper, paints and canvas, clay to sculpture, etc. The training typically involved was visually trying to capture the mood or feelings of the realistic and natural environment.
    The modern art of today must address the explosion of the technological advances in society and the changes. Memes are the results of the incorporation of technology and the trend of society to communicate, express and create at a faster rate. The vast availability of information and personal publication has led to this new way of art expression.
    Although, I have a traditional background, I believe that we must continue as a society to adapt to the changes and grow. This growth has both negative and positive effects. Memes are today’s world of borrowing and adding to form new meaning. This is today’s form of creativity(out of the box), and I believe art should be from a creative process that evokes thinking.

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    Kim Toledo says:

    Honestly i am conflicted with this question. Watching the video, reading the article and reading everyones comments has left me puzzled. I feel when things are mass produced, mimicked and or recreated from the same originality turns me off as a viewer/artist. Ive always felt irked when hearing an artist is selling work based on historic pieces. Because they are basically recreating the exact image or “inspiration”. But if something is created for the purpose of emotion, social provoking or to be a subject talked about… than its art… I think ill always be conflicted with the question if memes specifically are art but do believe that we should all have an open mind when it comes to determining other mediums/forms as art.

    • Avatar
      admin says:

      Yes Indeed! A conflict it is! Wha will the next 20 years of electronic art making accessibility bring to the world of art? Cant wait to discuss this in class tonight!!!

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    Hannah Kerin says:

    Are memes art?
    I agree with the article, “Memes and Internet culture are fertile ground for artistic sparks. It’s less obvious that memes are art on their own merits, but because there is no objective criterion, it’s impossible to discount them as creative, valuable digital artifacts at the bare minimum”. The artistic talent involved in most memes is sub par, but memes can invoke creativity among artists. Memes are also a way to share the digital art world with the masses, invoke a flame of interest in a person who would not have learned other wise. Back to the topic of memes and art, if you saw a stick figure, you would consider it art, maybe not good or professional art, but art. The same idea can be applied to memes, its basic digital art, but not good. However, if you are a digital artist, the lack of creativity involved in a meme compared to their work, could make them hesitant to consider them art. For me personally, at this point my opinion changes on whether its basic art or merely just a photo with a headline.

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    Joselyn Xiao says:

    In today’s era of diversified forms of art, people are constantly enmeshed in the media of all kinds of art and at the same time constantly digesting the various pop art that carries these messages. Under the influence of the old and the new art media, the richness of these varied forms of popular art, the speed of their propagation and the extent of their influence are unprecedented. And I think memes are just a form of art that imitates classes. Nowadays, many art stand out in the fierce megalopolis competition, constantly being copied and used because of its own advantages, and spread through various modern media. For example, a while ago I saw a news story featuring an “artist” famous for imitating Van Gogh’s works. He imitated all Van Gogh’s works and also have an exhibition to give viewers to watch. This can be described as “plagiarism “, But not deserve to be called art.

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    Madeline Nunley says:

    I don’t feel as though internet memes can be classified as art. I believe they definitely take a level of creativity to come up with a clever idea or to arrange the meme in an interesting/ provoking manner but I don’t believe that this equates to art. I don’t believe that it takes much talent to create these and is more of a goofy gesture than a true skill that takes time to cultivate. I also believe that most artists have a sense of style and “look” that makes their work their own but that isn’t really possible with memes. You are taking popular references, photos, work, etc and recycling that work with a combination of other popular references to make this silly
    combination of elements in a single meme. In my opinion you can’t really form a sense of style from this.

    On the other hand, I do understand that the idea of what we call “art” has and will continue to evolve over time. And that many times throughout history as new styles emerged they were criticized and so maybe memes will become our idea of “art” in the future.

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    Miranda says:

    I think it’s hard to consider them art if there is no artistic process involved… but I do consider them art in a sense if it makes someone feel something. Memes bring some people happiness and something that makes you feel something to me is art. It also brings people together, it sounds ridiculous but my family and I send memes all day long. Some of them make you think of a certain person and want to show them. Anything that makes someone feel to me is considered art. I feel like it gives us a new way to communicate something, even if its a silly little thing. So in that sense to me it is art.

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    Grace Pentecoste says:

    Mike Rugnetta said, “People are creating images and sharing them with strangers for the purpose of communicating their personal experiences? That, my friends, is art, plain and simple.” Well, you can’t really argue with that because that is how we explain art in schools, and museums. Though there is a lot of repurposing in memes which doesn’t make it too original, it follows the suite of Andy Warhol. I agree that a part of memes is cathartic, it gives people a break from the darks and lows of the day. The article said, “Memes don’t usually have the longest shelf life.” It is in the moment, and refreshing because with each event or passing day life is happening and people are reacting to it. The positivity in our dark world. But at the same time, people are expressing this way not always in an artist way. I think people have different intentions and enjoy the humor of it and making people laugh.

    I appreciate the artists who are expressing in memes but also through expressive art, I don’t think an artist could just create straight memes from reusable video. There needs to be some authentic quality once in a while. Like Lauren Kaelin, I really can appreciate her work because it is meeting the traditional with the contemporary. It’s really enjoyable. But yet again, is that just bias?

    Thought to share, 15 Funny Animal Photo Bombs. Instant funny reaction

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