What's in a Meme?

March 13 to April 26, 2014

What do a grumpy cat, a K-pop star, and the former U.S. Secretary of State have in common? In one way or another, they have all “gone viral,” inspiring images that spawn countless imitations and parodies, and spreading like a cultural epidemic via social networks, message boards, E-mail, and YouTube. “What’s in a Meme?” will explore the diverse, irreverent, and constantly changing world of these viral Internet phenomena. How do some videos, photographs, and illustrations gain near-instant popularity – seized upon by the Twitterverse, referenced on CNN, imitated by the White House – while others never escape the depths of Internet forums? What do memes communicate about our shared values as a society – what events we find noteworthy, and what personalities we find funny? How can they illuminate issues surrounding originality, intention, and cultural appropriation in an era dominated by social media? Can Internet memes be…art?