Four minutes is simply a very long time to stare at any image: Even the greatest Cezanne rarely gets that kind of unwavering attention. But that’s the kind of attention that Warhol’s “Screen Tests” demand of us. Since “nothing” happens in them – since there’s no larger plot or configuration to cling to – we can’t afford to look away, for fear of missing some telling detail. (Cezanne is full of details, too, of course, but we know that they will endure a lapse in our attention.)
Blake Gopnik talking about Warhol’s screen test, but applies equally to any Art.
So what does it all mean when even the sacred world of art is transformed and meme-ified for the broader internet? To me, the art world meme reflects the inevitable collision of the high art world with, well, everybody else. In a world in which the average art appreciator can feel empowered to create, remix and revamp, the art world meme is the internet generation’s version of sketching at the museum.
In the future, Warhol predicted, we’ll all have our 15 minutes of fame. But now that everyone can become famous, we need new metrics for lasting fame and success. For the art world, becoming a meme might just be one of those metrics. After all, living on in people’s Photoshop queues and social media ensures that an artist’s name echoes throughout eternity… or at least the Twittersphere.