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James Alex after Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

Odds are you’ve heard of a meme, defined by dictionary.com as, “an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation.” Wikipedia defines an Internet meme as, “a concept that spreads via the Internet.” Pretty ambiguous, I know. But, these days most Internet phenomena, from Barking Cats, to Double Dream Hands, Honey Badger (and its parody), to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, fit into the meme category. If you are still confused, reference this guide.

James Alex after The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins


James Alex after Arcadia by Thomas Eakins

Last week when UC Davis police pepper sprayed student protesters on campus, one result was the near-instantaneous creation of a new Internet meme. In this case it happens to be art related, which we love here on Zatista.

James Alex after The Spirit of '76 by Archibald Willard


James Alex after The Luncheon on the Grass by Édouard Manet

After watching lengthy videos of the UC Davis event on YouTube, an American artist living in Scotland named James Alex, Photoshopped some quick alterations of several masterpiece paintings. The idea caught on quickly and within a few hours, Lt. John Pike – by that time notorious around the world – appeared to be pepper-spraying his way through canvas after famous canvas.

James Alex after A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Alex “mashed” up The Gross Clinic and Arcadia by Thomas Eakins, The Spirit of 76’ by Archibald Willard, Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth, and The Luncheon on the Grass by Édouard Manet. Then, other Internet denizens took up the torch altering Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence.

James Alex after Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull

Where does it go from there? Well, Abbey Road, for starters:

image: The Dissenter

Next stop, Star Wars:

image: The Dissenter

Where it ends is another question all together. What are your favorite memes? Share with us here on WallSpin.

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Comments (1)

  1. Nanci Erskine
    November 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    This and the Tim Tebow kneeling pose seem to be equally as viral out here in Colorado.
    But some of these are downright scary hilarious.
    Of course the way this character has mechanically been inserted into so many other environments seems to echo the almost mechanical way he walked up and down the row of students peacefully sitting in front of him.
    It almost reminded me of someone spraying insecticide on their roses.

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