In a recent article for The Creators Project, art journalist Kyle Chayka questions whether creative endeavors that go viral are a mark of success or shallow calculation. He quotes writer and “meme consultant” Cole Stryker, who says that virality has altered how artists approach making their work. This exists in the frantic, often shocking, easily sharable look-at-me punch that’s a hallmark of viral bits. Using a Nicki Minaj video as an example, Stryker says, “You could pause that video at any point in that four minute-clip, and that still is worth putting on your blog—every second should be GIFable.”
The work of Parker Ito (the man behind The Most Famous Girl in the History of the Internet / Attractive Student / Parked Domain Girl), Joe Hamilton’s Tumblr site Hypergeography, Michael Manning’s Meme Generator-style image series, and others are examined as mini-case studies, leading the author to conclude:
Instead of being sequestered into galleries and museums, visual art has to travel the same routes as any other content on the internet, and it adopts similar strategies to reach its audience. Projects are consciously designed to reach viewers, and can be optimized, whether it’s through spam keywords or powerful brands, to drive traffic toward virality and clicks. But the distinction between art that has gone viral and art that maintains a critical position toward virality while spreading through the same networks, is an increasingly important one.
Read the article in its entirety here.