The pepper-spray cop from UC Davis, or Lt. John Pike, has become a meme, but not just any meme but one that is walking through art works of every stripe if only to prove how ridiculous and absurd his actions were in the face of non-violent resistance.
Unlike, the iconic image we posted about on Friday, this image’s cocktail of absurd authoritarianism has resonated with the interwebz and its love of pointing out hypocrisy. If the Picasso up top is more historically “correct” and connected to a moment of political resistance, the Seurat riff is more powerful in that it points out how lackadaisical the officer is going about his business — he strangely fits in the Sunday scene.
Late last night on Hyperallergic LABS, we posted some of the earliest images from the meme and asked our readers to help us find the source of the images, but we haven’t had any luck even after dozens of leads and countless emails to potential meme originators.
What we did discover is how popular this meme is when our post, in only 12 hours received over 2,200 notes (not to mention 195 Facebook likes, 50 tweets and 6 G+s).
One of our Facebook fans, Michael Mayer, chimed in and pointed out a well-done version he created himself using Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” (1830) [posted below].
Another Facebook fan, Richie Budd, added his thoughts via a comment about the “origins” of the meme. His remark is true about the brilliance of memes in general:
We all did. Give us all our 15 minutes.
Maura Jaukis, over at the Washington Post‘s ArtsPost blog, has a few others that demonstrate how widespread this meme has become in only a matter of days.
There is a whole tumblelog (of course) devoted to the meme, enjoy.
And if you know the origin of the meme please drop us a line and let us know here.
UPDATED: Know Your Meme has a whole gallery of pepper-spray cop riffs.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Lee Lozano, Cindy Sherman, Tokuko Ushioda, Anas Albraehe, and more.
The art establishment was never quite sure what to do with a self-taught artist like Basquiat, who owed as much to bebop and William S. Burroughs’s cut-up technique as he did to African influences.
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Kadish’s fossil-like heads, forms, and figures remind us that every civilization, including our own, eventually collapses.
In every role she held, Vendryes advocated for marginalized people and celebrated the cultural contributions of the Black and queer communities.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Stanton, who died of AIDS complications in 1984, left behind an engaging body of work, a moving tribute to a bygone generation of creative minds.
Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis and Danny Boyle’s miniseries Pistol are both overly fixated on the influence their respective musicians’ managers had on them.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
In the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, arts workers and reproductive rights organizations are collaborating on educational resources for accessing safe procedures.
The couple launched the Futureverse Foundation, a grantmaking organization that aims to “help keep the metaverse widely accessible.”
The museum’s “pay-what-you-wish” policy will remain in place for New York State residents and tri-state students, but out-of-state adults will pay $5 extra.