Know Your Meme: Stitching Viral Phenomena Art Exhibit Poll

Know Your Meme: Stitching Viral Phenomena Art Exhibit Poll

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Published Aug 02, 2019 at 11:34AM EDT by Sophie.

Know Your Meme and San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (SJMQT) are pleased to present the community poll for Know Your Meme: Stitching Viral Phenomena. The exhibition, which will be on view at SJMQT in Downtown San Jose from October 20, 2019 to January 12, 2020, explores the concept of the meme as a poignant method to summarize, understand, and critique important societal issues and current events. In true meme fashion, the artwork selection will be driven by the power of the people and curated by the online community. All artworks must depict, relate to, or reference a meme through a textile method such as quilting, embroidery, cross- stitching, knitting and crocheting, weaving, basketry, etc.

Credit: The Museum of the Netherlands

Important Dates

Voting: August 2nd 2019 – August 23, 2019
Notification: August 25, 2019
Artwork Due to SJMQT by: September 25, 2019
Opening Reception: October 19, 2019 7-9pm
Exhibition Dates: October 20, 2019 – January 12, 2020


Note: Artist statements can be viewed directly below the voting form.

Artist Statements

Pick a rag
a way of dealing with the overload visual des-information we carry. our eyes scroll memes, cute cats gaze, muzzle dogs, rémanence of smashed emojis. As the rag picker collect virtuals debris of the internet and recompose à meaning.I pressed cheap baby shirt , vegetables peels , tampons on the fabric and reveal the feelings that transfer into our brains.

Know Your Meme Logo Quilt
This, not really a meme in and of itself, is my fiber art interpretation of the Know Your Meme logo.

Do I Look Like I Know What a Cross Stitch is?
a distorted image used to respond to a horribly compressed digital image. To create the loss of detail and distortion, the work is small and uses stitches of varying sizes.

Go On
The Willy Wonka meme is one of the first memes that really stuck to me. Like any good meme, it
never gets old and is so well known and versatile. The piece is accompanied by an open caption of “go on”: that matches the sarcastic nature and that makes it easy to add more specific captions for a wide variety of subjects. Therefore this artwork has the true meme potential to go “Viral” and can get used over and over again.

Layout Lesson
A piece celebrating a long tradition of young women expressing themselves online. Recalling our first encounters with graphic design and remix culture.

Faking It
Sometimes a comment about your work sticks with you for years. One of the first digitally printed fabric garments I made was a dress that I wore to an art gallery opening. Two visitors came up to me and struck up a conversation about the dress, asking if the fabric was made using batik. When I explained with excitement that it was actually digitally printed photographs of ice, they looked at me and said “Digitally printed? That’s cheating!” I have discovered that the relationship between fiber art and computers is often misunderstood. There is an assumption that if you use a computer, that it does all of the work; you just press a key and Photoshop magically creates art. Anyone can do it. Because I used a computer to create part of my piece, these commenters and several others, told me that it was not “real art”. Every day I see something labeled “fake news”, so I decided to make this piece a snarky celebration of “fake art”. I started by creating pseudo mosaics from recycled magazine paper
with images of computers and technology: an iPhone, charging cables and even a vintage floppy disk signed with my initials. I surrounded the mosaic tiles with a border of ransom note style words that all are synonyms for fake: false, swindle, hoax, hokum, spoof, flim flam, bogus, trumped up, imitation and so on. The background of the design is made from tiny strips of paint
chips in colors titled “pixel white” and “high speed access”. I scanned all of this paper art and created a repeating pattern. The design was then printed on to polyester faux suede fabric. The button on the coat is a costume jewel made from a recycled computer circuit board embedded in resin. As a final nod to fakeness, the design for the dress and coat were made using a
commercial knock-off pattern of a couture designer dress worn by Melania Trump at the 2018 presidential inauguration.

Save Pepe
One of the original images used in memes was Pepe the frog. His character
originated in a comic strip called Boys Club. Originally illustrated by Matt Furie, Pepe
was originally paired by social media culture with hilarious, peaceful phrases and he
became a social media icon separate from his Boys’ Club origins. In 2016 the Alt-
Right White Supremacists, who credit Donald Trump among others for their
increased spirit and emboldening, appropriated the Pepe memes and attached racist
and antisemitic propaganda to them. The hateful Pepe memes were shared so much
that the cherished Pepe the Frog is now listed as a National Hate Symbol in the ADL’s
Hate Symbol Database. My quilt is a small perfectly imperfect square reminiscent of the perfect square
cropping of Instagram, but also the imperfection of Instagram and all social media
platforms. The reference photo that I used to embroider Pepe was from the last
comic strip Matt Furie illustrated when he chose to kill his character because of its
now intolerable meaning. I dyed the fabric a saturated green that I could not find
anywhere else and surrounded the figure in the middle with #SavePepe. When
creators put things out into the world, it no longer belongs to them. They can no
longer dictate what it means. The public attaches whatever meanings to it that it
wants, good or bad. My quilt is about taking something that was good-turned-bad
and making it good again because we can. We can choose to create more good Pepe
memes than there are bad ones, and we can choose to do that and make change
with anything in the world.

Princess Paris
My doll Princess Paris was inspired by the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer’s oil painting the “Girl
with a Pearl Earring” c. 1665, The Hague. I decided to crochet a doll that had sparkling blue
earrings and a happy expression. And like Vermeer’s oil paintings my doll depicts a girl that is in
a dream like state. A girl that is dreaming of another life.   My meme is “Night Out.” Everything that Princess Paris is wearing says that she is ready for a night out. She is wearing the finest black, soft ecru and camomile colors on her apron. Her apron
tie is long and flows beautifully behind her back. Like the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” I used the
same colors on my doll of dark blue and soft white for her wool curls on her hat. These colors tie
into her beautiful blue eyes. Princess Paris now looks exquisite and is ready for her night out.

Princess Emmaline Gerogiana
I was inspired by the Regency period when I created my crochet doll. I tried to add
historical elements to my artwork. For example, curly hair and hair ornaments were popular
during the Regency period. Additionally, long simplistic dresses were fashionable during this
time period. I also tried to incorporate the colors blue, yellow, and white. Wearing certain colors
were common during this era. Furthermore, the words, “High Society” reminded me of the novel “Emma” by Jane
Austen. Emma was part of the upper class during the Regency period. As a result, she had plenty
of spare time. Without an occupation to worry about, she becomes a matchmaker. Many of her
acquaintances only see her high statues, charming personality, and attractiveness. They are
unaware she is trying to be a matchmaker.

Not being “in” on a joke can be frustrating. A powerful characteristic of memes is their
capacity to evoke visceral ideas or experiences, but in such a way that people can repurpose
them again and again. Anyone can get the joke. The Big Mood meme is, in my experience,
symptomatic of the collective endeavor for self-actualization among our younger
generations. We’re pioneering the digital age and struggling to put down our roots in the
course. I make art with found objects in order to capture some of that collective sense of
precariousness. I embroider my pieces by hand because, like any meme, I believe that any
object I find can also mold itself to an ongoing conversation.

Hashtag Whatever
This handy, interactive, lightweight portable hashtag quilt is open ended. Persuade someone you love to hold it out to their
right side. In the photo, I got my husband to do it, so the correct title for the photo is #husband. Place it next to your #cat,
or your #Instapot, or your #Kardashian, whatever! Who knows, it may go viral!

Hashtag Scraps
This quilt uses scraps from my 25-year stash. It’s a reflection on the old and new eras, pre- and post-computer technology and the Internet. Today it’s so easy to put words on fabric by running fabric through your printer–but when I first started quilting in the early 90s, you had to look for fabrics that contained words (or even letters) you wanted, and
cut them up. Books were on paper, and there was no way to search more than one index at a time. Now, with computer searches and hashtags we can scour billions of sources, and converse around the world. Information, support, love, lies, pornography, bullying–all of it is catalogued, preserved, and accessible, through the power of hashtags.

What would George Say?
One outcome of the 2016 election was that it brought hundreds of thousands of women (and men) into the streets to show that their values were very different from those of the incoming administration. Some creative women came up with the idea of making “pussyhats,” to talk back to a president who had boasted about his ability to grab female genetalia. The pussyhat movement went viral, and tens of thousands were knitted, crocheted and sewn, traditional female crafts. I made about 17 of them for friends! Plus four more, for Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, George Bush, and of course, George Washington, for this quilt, I used a tiny crochet hook. This small quilt also reflects my internal question about what various historical figures, including those in the same party, would have thought about this unprecedented president.

This work, BDE, is a response to the queer communities reaction to the meme “big dick energy” that was popular in the winter of 2018-19. As queer folks, we are used to readjusting and reimagining culture to fit our own experiences. As an artist who is invested in culture and specifically queer culture, I was amused when I saw lesbian instagrammers repurpose a hyper masculine meme. To respond to straight cultures heteronormativity in such an aggressive way, while also hinting at the troubled and hurtful past of the word dyke, became a source of comfort for me. Only oppressed communities could refashion something like “big dick energy”: into something powerful and aggressive as big “big dyke energy”. This banner that was woven on a floor loom, is an homage to all the queer womxn that I have looked to in culture and in my own personal life. To reclaim a word that has been a source of pain people within your community and to turn it into
something playful, is magic

You Can Never Go Home Again
Language fails all of the time. Social media and consumable images–starting with circulated stock images and pixelated GIF
animation which have evolved into personalized emoji libraries–are changing how we communicate with each other. This is further complicated by the addition on objects. I am interested in these ever changing relationships and how they are constantly contorting our shared experience

I Am Not A Taco
This piece changes this funny, silly meme into a more universal message with a graphical style of lettering like the nautical flag alphabet and repetition of “I can’t make everyone happy,” until it becomes a mantra or plea. And also of note: the taco has replaced the hamburger.

Know Your Madflavor? I stitched Joey Coco Diaz into a meme. HE is a orce of nature. See him live, if you haven't yet. His comedy is tip top magoo. And please check out his podcast The Church of What's Happening Now. Madflavor is the OG of Viral Phenomena.

Liz's Bangs!
A popularly quoted character from a non-existent show. Publizity is a fake reality show that appears as a sketch on The Kroll Show and, despite not actually being a real show, the clips are very popular online and heavily quoted online in social media.

Wake and Bake Crème Fraîche and To Serve Man
These embroideries speak to the production of fabrics as an act of domestic labor. The duration of time to completion of a page speaks to the hours of time spent by women in the home unacknowledged by traditional economic models. The beads are sewn onto full-page Home & Garden magazine spreads which depict luscious meals labored over by women in the home. The spread is presented atop a table cloth, as are most meals; however this one is ‘Not for your consumption’: the image itself is intentionally obscured by glass beads and the patterning of the fabric behind it, an intentional act of social revolution. The only ‘readable’ windows into the image are through the letters and numbers of a message, itself veiled in meaning through double entendre.

Response to the Access Hollywood Tapes, Trump Jr.'s Comments About Syrian Refugees and the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville
I'm interested in embracing the connections between material and pixel by reflecting on the impact of social media on our current political landscape. The woven social media banners highlight the irony of various corporations packaged voices joining the rallying cry against sexual assault, racism and xenophobia. Corporate social media responses to events like the release of the Access Hollywood Tapes, the Nazi Tiki Torch rampage in Charlottesville, and Trump Jr.'s statement about Syrian Refugees are materialized through labor and thread. The labor present in producing the tapestries simultaneously slows down the turbulent pace of how we send and receive information through the web, transforming passing communication into permanent vestiges of events that often get lost within the perpetual clickbait pace of the current new cycle.

The World You Asked For
For a challenge to include words on a quilt, I considered what the ramifications would be if we all looked at our own
contributions to the world as it is, for good or for evil. If we atoned for our mistakes with positive action, could we make the sad and lonely places better for everyone?

Like the Turtle
My meme corresponds with how I feel I've approached life:like the turtle, I've had to stick my neck out to get ahead. I've also collected turtles much of my life, so it seemed appropriate to used hand-dyed doilies to make a turtle over the also hand-dyed and pieced cotton and silk fabrics.

Heed The Warning
This piece represents the juxtaposition of the warning during biblical times and our current time when people do not fully
heed and or read content presented thus accepting unknown and often unwanted consequences.

Peace Disturbed
This artwork employing the V peace hand sign meme started out as a self portrait. It was intended to depict and transform my anxiety, sadness, disbelief, and anger brought on by the 2016 presidential election. Painstakingly created from thousands of pieces of castoff clothing my process is meditative and calming. My piece work is peace work. I pick up the pieces and reassemble them to create a harmonious new whole, achieve peace by piecing together a new world.

“Go back to the countries you came from” is the latest meme. It was also the mood during the presidential debates with Donald Trump as top contender in 2016 when I created this work. “Weeding” brings the viewer face to face with disposable clothing and disposable humanity. My work explores “mending” and its implications for cultural change. I dismantle the world, and piece it together differently; I create unity from diversity, metaphorically repair and refashion a world torn apart. It takes many colors and patterns to make our world. Fabrics of different stripes, squares, patterns and textures can mesh beautifully just as different races, religions, and ethnicities can if we give them a chance.

What Does a WOMAN have to do to be BELIEVED?
How often is a woman’s word questioned regarding sexual harassment and sexual attacks? The garment is a testimony to a woman’s statement given to the police regarding an attack. She was belittled and her measured dialogue ultimately ignored. The woman in question was 89. The choice of materials and the techniques applied fuse message and visual impact. Working with orange felt I created a diaphanous over-garment with text and black felt appliqué of an all-pervasive male character.

Lace Patriarchy
The choice of materials for this work is a considered juxtaposition given the four words presented to the viewer: ‘Patriarchy, Rape, Stigma, Blame’. Unfortunately attitudes to rape victims stem from a male view of the victim.

‘Monotheism is Grubby with Misogyny’; unfortunately the self-serving patriarchal fiction and myth-making of the creation story has determined societies perceptions of Eve. Eve is untrustworthy, she has no control over her urges and she has a destructive influence on Adam. She is a temptress and needs firm control. Only we know that in the control of Eve patriarchy can control fecundity.

Grab 'em by the Mid-Terms
What better way to “grab ‘em by the mid-terms” than with a hardy, handmade oven mitt! Stitched and sewn in anticipation of the November 2018 mid – term elections. The magenta pink harkens back to the women’s pussy hat marches. A Newsweek story about the January 2018 women’s march called “grab ‘em by the mid – terms” a “mordant” slogan – i.e., biting or stinging. A mitt that is useful in the kitchen and when marching in the street…

CanYou Take Me Higher – Creed Georgia O'Keefe – RayCharles and American Girl Doll- Tom Petty
Within contemporary culture information is consumed without hierarchy. One scroll through Facebook reveals a tongue-in-check meme, a newsworthy injustice, and a family picture. Each update occupies equal space as the next update. Visual connections and comparisons are made between memes, news and personal stories. Our collaborative art practice reflects iterations of these connections and comparisons. The imagery we employ is a mix of pop icons and lowbrow idiosyncrasies, mashed together to create light hearted work with nostalgic undertones. Sampling from the collective consciousness is a tool used to gain agency of our own identity. Humor allows up to manipulate visual information giving us ownership of the content. Craft and digital technology provides us with a platform and a vehicle to critique and reinterpret pop culture. Our art is deliberate and thoughtful; simultaneously allowing us to be complacent in and critical of the millennial generation.

Eyes Closed
This series of needlepoints takes phrases from pop culture and turns them on their head. This phrase is from the cult show Friday Night Lights.

Five by Five
This series of needlepoints takes phrases from pop culture and turns them on their head. This phrase is from the cult show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

*Yes, This is Dog"
This series of needlepoints takes phrases from pop culture and turns them on their head. This phrase is from the meme Yes, This is Dog .

Privileged Times
Privilege is when you think something isn't a problem because it doesn't affect you.

I am translating meme in its This is from a series of works that incorporate memorabilia into the piece. I worked with the background of my mother's saree and other remnants of papers and fabrics, repurposed with an eye to ecological issues. The drawing depicts the Sikh temple at Kiratpur where my father's ashes were laid to rest. The saree is an important feature in this work as it is something that in our Indian culture is handed down from mother to daughter, not only in its material form but also in the context of coming of age. Even though in the not-so-distant past, there has been a shift to copy the Western world and wear western clothes, I find that a certain segment of women have campaigned to make sure it doesn't die down. It is no longer seen as a dress that belonged to our mothers but something that belongs to the modern-day woman too.

I worked with the remnants of fabrics, some of them my mother's silk saree blouses, repurposing with an eye on ecological issues. The stitching reveals not only the kantha and chain stitches handed down from generation to generation as part of our Indian culture of sewing but also one of the hasta mudras of yoga. The ancient practice of yoga is integral to the idea of the meme…in the sense of a cultural legacy passed on from one to another albeit in its most anti-modernist manner of usage.

Turquoise Ocean
Working with a loom-woven piece of textile I incorporated some threads and beads from my stash, with the idea of repurposing. I find that using remnant silks from saree blouses in this work, sustains the notion that as Indian women we can look towards the future but not let go of the past. We are contemporary, modern women who believe in our issues, (maybe ecological awareness) yet at the same time, carry our traditions and culture with us. This ongoing idea of wearing the saree is what 'meme' means to me in the pre-social and digital age. Turquoise Ocean is the title given as it conjures up those clean and pleasant seas that out planet should be composed of.

Aztec Altar
One does not simply … walk in to an Aztec ceremony.

Serra II
Bro, do you even Hogwarts?

Dawn at the Farm
Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Whoa! Look at that! It’s a double rainbow---all the way across the sky! Ooooo!

You Think You Can't, Think Again, Be In the Moment and Never Quit
My work helps remind me to see this world in a positive light. My hope is that people will pass it forward.

Child Camps/Mass Shootings/Poor Healthcare/Rising Rent/Student Debt/Climate Change/Donald Trump
Everything is definitely not fine.

Crush The Patriarchy
Inspired by the internet meme launched by @baeveri_, this directive gives me life right now. In addition to naming an unrealized but very real personal fear and releasing it with laughter, it encourages us all, intersectionally, to crush the patriarchy by claiming our own needs as primary in a society that usually inhibits this. Using the Tonya Ricucci method of Unruly Piecing, the quilting motif is free-form scallops to affirm that no one’s curves, of any body type, adhere to the expectation that we should be symmetrical and perfect. They fluctuate in size organically over the length on the quilt.

Je M’adore
I believe that our future is already written in the margins of history. So I juxtaposed the prophetic words of the contemporary African poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo (published in a tweet) on a printed background depicting the names of Baby Boomer American women. The past has been possible by making women doubt themselves and their value by setting an impossible standard for physicality as almost the only measure worth working toward. We will only progress if we begin to radically adore ourselves and to act out of that power. It reads, "I have no interest in being anyone but myself. I have centuries of soft, stubborn and beautiful women whose blood I carry. I adore me."

Poor Pluto
At the edge of our solar system, Pluto sits alone and uncertain whether he fits in with the rest of the planets. Though his title is
debated, we are now certain of his adorable topography thanks to the images captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Planet or not, Pluto has definitely stolen our hearts.

The Martyr (Here for the Right Reasons)
Using screenshots from episodes of “The Bachelor,” my work addresses pop culture as a modern form of mythology. Within reality television, I find a new kind of repetitive storytelling and the creation of new gods and goddesses. The woman in this screenshot is often considered the "villain" of this season of "The Bachelor." However, she was also the only contestant who
accurately predicted the lead's inability to make a decision and commit and called him out on his problematic behavior. Knowing her reputation I chose an image of her where her portrait references a veiled Madonna figure and surrounded her with roses: the symbol of choice and validation within the structure of the reality television show. Lace roses are often found only in lingerie and wedding dresses, in black and white lace. They are the epitome of the Madonna/whore paradox which so often defines women in the media.

Jenny Rejected
Part of a larger series addressing modern mythology through the lens of popular culture. In the Greek Myth of the judgment of Paris, three goddesses wait for a mortal to offer them an apple proclaiming the chosen one the most beautiful; on “The Bachelor,” women wait for roses delivered at overly dramatized “Rose Ceremonies” when a man makes the choice of whom he wants to keep dating and sends the rest home. This image depicts a woman rejected by the lead during the second episode of the season of “The Bachelor.”I was struck by her strength and resiliency in the face of reality television rejection and explored her character as a modern mythological figure. An inverted digital image (sourced from a screenshot), this piece references screen -based image distortion-like when one tilts a laptop screen so far back that the colors invert and the dark shadows reflect light.

The Rosette
Using a traditional overshot rosette weaving pattern, woven in natural madder-dyed silk, I overlay a patterned rose atop a “Bachelor” contestants cheek. The rosette pattern acts as a stand-in for the rose, a central element in the structure of The Bachelor: the rose guarantees a contestant remains on the show and affords agency and validation to reality television
characters. This image allows the rosette pattern to transition from the flush of the cheek to a blemish to a tear. Dropped threads in the black and white image create another kind of tear (a literal slit in the cloth) that falls down her face.

on concert transport boxes, on palettes and on SUV spare wheel
“Planking” is a series consisting of six embroidered pieces, and is the first body of work in the Grounded project. “Planking” explores the significance of the required body posture to participate in this specific photo fad- a suspended, rigid, unmoving body- when taken out of the context of its other main requirement, which indicates that the participatory photo must be registered in a public space. “Grounded” is an ongoing project which explores somatic, psychological & cultural aspects of internet viral memes, specifically Photo & Video participatory Fads, which require the physical presence of the participating humans in the image itself.

The Cake is a Lie
The cake is a lie. This is not a cake itself but a representation of the cake, which is a lie.

Loss #1 #2 and #3
Is this loss?

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