Are LOLCats and Internet Memes Art? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


We’ve all seen and shared a few LOLCats and Internet Memes in our time, but is it possible that these images and videos are actually a new form of art? It may seem strange, but Rage Guys, Advice Dogs, Trollfaces, and Philosoraptors are ways for people around the globe to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with others; the core principle of art. And we think some of history’s greatest philosophers and artists might be inclined to agree!

New Idea Channel episodes every other Wednesday!!!

Let us know what sorts of crazy ideas you have, about this episode and otherwise:
Tweet at us! @pbsideachannel (yes, the longest twitter username ever)
Email us! pbsideachannel [at] gmail [dot] com

Hosted by Mike Rugnetta (@mikerugnetta)
Made by Kornhaber Brown (

Music used:
“Fuayfsilfm”, “Underground” – binaerpilot/Alexander Støver

Watch our previous episode: “Is Miku Hatsune A More Authentic Pop Star Than Lana Del Rey?”

If you still want more awesome, watch our first episode: “Super Mario Brother is the World’s Greatest Piece of Surrealist Art”

Listen to the full version of the tetris song here:

  • Rating:
  • Views:221,987 views
  • Tags: -
  • Categories: Uncategorized


RH Cannon says:

memes would be a form of low art or art that conveys a message. I view it as digital graffiti (another misunderstood art form). this week anonymous held trolling day, I personally produced over 50 anti daesh memes and posted them directly on the pages of daesh(isis) soldiers. My art just became propaganda thus illustrating how the meme captures the zeitgeist of our time….long story short of an artist says its art its art….. do you even dada, bro?
check out my work on twitter

CubedPotatoesHD says:

the pictures with text are image macros, not memes.

However an image macro can be a meme.

gartman222 says:

watching this 3 years later, its a lot harder to watch with the outdated memes.

Mr. Jones Art says:

Shared this with my high school drawing classes in the wake of the "Pepe the Frog on Ebay" news. Much discussion centered around the idea of of who gets to qualify something as art.  Does the creator get to say, "This is some art! It's good!" Does this stand even if no one agrees? What about the opposite: if the creator feels they made something inferior (as in, a terrible painting), but others find meaning in it, is it art?  
Is it the connection with another that makes it meaningful, or can art be truly created & appreciated by oneself? How much say does the public have?

Another interesting point brought up is the value of art.  If a product is too abundant it seems to have less value (or is, at least, taken for granted).  With meme culture, much is stagnant, recycled, or barely original.  Anything new, funny, and uniquely clever [can be] quickly shared until it winds up old hack like all the rest.  The "shelf life" of an individual meme is almost non-existent, but the good ones quickly become the architecture for future memes.
Lastly, one student brought up the idea that an individual meme …might… be art (or at least BAD art), whereas memes, as a whole, may be more of an artistic process.
Kind of like how there's SCULPTURE – the process – and there's, Ming vases, Rodan statues, and gift shop coffee mugs – all types of sculpture.

Corrupt Nightmare says:

I heard the Tetris theme an instantly ignored everything else.

Rby Wpn says:

Of course is art! It's not cience.

Carl Perkins says:

Me being an actual artist I can not agree.

CAP198462 says:

There's a great British philosopher that's missing, Jeremy Clarkson. He said "For a thing to be art, it must have no purpose other than itself." Therefore, an Internet meme which is an also an argument is not art. The Mona Lisa is art because it does nothing except hang on a wall, it doesn't advertise a product, or obviously argue a point.

Tanya Draper says:

Art yes. Just like Elvis on velvet is art.
Good art no, but art.

omer navon says:

well, meme are language. you can argue that a meme is a work of art in the same way this comment is.technically- true. fundamentally- not really.

Eineus21 says:

Question: is there anything that can't be defined as art ?

Targa7W says:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa NIHILISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow so much negativity man, this post is art, why, because I say so.

And Hume and Kant are being elitist douches, beauty = art, please is Picaso's  Guernica in anyway beautiful, no. Is it doing the job of being art total yes. Hume and Kant might have some smart stuff to say in their fields, but they evidently aren't smart enough to not talk rubbish about stuff they're smart enough to not talk about.

I refer you back to my opening statement.

Steve the Stove says:

Art doesn't have to be beautiful. For example, a lot of horror-themed art is 'hideous', but it's still art.

Megan Mayer says:

fucking gay

barryasswipe says:

I think Immanuel Kant and David Hume were pretty much on the spot…

M30W 4D4M says:

its beautyful

Sangheilitat117 says:

"Anyone who's ever made a lolcat, has also made a work of art."
You sir, are a fucking idiot.

nicoleviktoria says:

This guy is so clever omg

Write a comment


3 × one =