A big news day for GIFs: Image-hosting site Imgur has released a video-to-GIF tool, and the GIF search engine Giphy announced raising $17 million in new funding. What do these two tech stories have in common? GIFs are being touted as the next wave in mobile-media consumption. Today, GIFs officially go corporate.
In 2008, Laurel Ptak, founder of the blog iheartphotograph, curated 67 artist-made GIFs for Graphics Interchange Format, an exhibition at Brooklyn’s Bond Street Gallery. The gallery no longer exists and neither does the website that formerly hosted those GIFs. As Paddy noted in her “A Brief History of Animated GIF Art” series on artnet News, the lack of an online archive poses a problem for piecing together the format’s history.
Though we can’t poof the Graphics Interchange Format site back into existence, we can do what we’re good at: googling. All week we’re going to search the web for GIFs that were in the exhibition. For historians, artists, and consumers of net art, this GIFt’s for you.
Laurel Ptak’s Graphics Interchange Format had 26 artists make 67 GIFs. Our online hunting for those GIFs has resulted in fewer than a quarter of what would’ve originally been on view. It’s not just those GIFs that are rare on the net; some artists seem to have disappeared from the public web, too. (Although, to be fair, some have gone on to become more well-known: Alex Prager, Talia Chetrit, and Petra Cortright among them.)
For those GIFs we could not find, which were deleted long ago, we bid you farewell. We did not know you well, and likely never will.
Below, we give you the rest of the GIFs we were able to round up. And of course, if you have any tips on where to find the rest of the works from Graphics Interchange Format, we’re listening. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Top two GIFs: Anne de Vries, Jason Fulford.)
Left to my own devices, I’d probably always seek out the most ornate complicated GIFs I could find. It’s my taste. But after having spent most of the day writing up a soul crushing shopping guide for the rich, (I may never be rid of my anti-corporate teenage angst) Tom Moody’s modest set of GIFs serves as a well-needed palette cleanser. The mini-band above has all of zero relationship to art market, and can be evaluated for what they are; short animated loops of squirrels playing music. One plays an electric guitar, the other a banjo, with what appears to be the back of a player piano and a sheet holder in between the two. Banjo squirrel not withstanding, the movement of each GIF has been sped up or exaggerated in some, creating a bizarre caricature of the action. It’s cute, and perhaps a little naive, in exactly the right way.
“See money raining down on me” from http://imgarcade.com
“GIF of the Day” fans, artists, readers: a gift to you. Giphy is holding a $10,000 contest to make a digital sticker. The sticker doesn’t even have to be animated, and it can just be something you made that’s lying around from years past. By sticker, I’m pretty sure they just mean an animated GIF or a picture. It will not stick to things. This is likely the largest sum of money any individual will stand to make off a GIF in 2014.
Artnet published part two of Paddy’s A Brief History of Animated GIF Art series. This installment covers the golden age of social media GIFs. [artnet News]
In “How a Palestinian Artist Turned Detainment Into a Creative Opportunity,” the fact that Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar could not legally come into the United States for his exhibition gave him a chance to ship new work. (Yay?) And then this supposedly happened: “In addition, Jarrar organized a satellite project at art space Undercurrent Projects, which consisted of informal panel discussions about the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as talks about Jarrar’s works and the state of art in Palestine.” Yes, that series was organized, but it never got off the ground. It never took place. [GOOD]
Today in India: Former Louise Blouin staffers will begin a 5-day protest regarding “delayed wages and erratic firings.” [Gallerist]
Statue selfies. (Kind of “blah,” kind of “hah.”) [Reddit]
In need of a $5,600 skateboard with a whimsical skull drawn on it, or maybe a $4,300 high-gloss nude of Pamela Anderson? Then go down to Damien Hirst’s gift shop in Soho. Some of this stuff actually looks pretty great. [The New York Times]
Paddy Johnson writes about an animated GIF exhibition shown online and in Iran that has some real highs and lows. [Artnet]
In today’s edition of word vomit, Vladimir Putin ends up making sexist remarks about Hillary Clinton. [Daily Intelligencer]
Google Glass releases a $1,620 designer line by Diane von Fürstenburg. Yet again we are reminded that “Glass is a class divide on your face.” [Motherboard]
This roundtable seeks to debunk the stereotype that contemporary Latin American art is all about geometric abstraction. [Collecion Cisneros]
Job change! Curator Robin Nicholson leaves the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to direct the Pittsburgh Frick. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
How do we create a market for digital artworks? We’d like to have a constructive discussion about this with the author of “From Mail Art to Tumblr.” The article supposes that online works are abstract manifestations: “What does it mean to own an artwork if the piece is not a self-contained object but rather an abstract manifestation?” writes author Willa Koerner. But what about the many websites, files, and code that are physically there? [Art21]
At the ZMK Media Museum in Germany, visitors can now whisper into the disembodied, 3-D printed “ear” of Van Gogh. This strange artifact is partially replicated from the painter’s genome. [The New York Times]
Manhattan art dealer Helly Nahmad is being charged with hiding a $13 million Modigliani stolen during World War II. The story has all the makings of a solid scandal: Money, an enigmatic, villainous corporation, and the Nazis. [The New York Post]
A whirlwind trip through the art loot collected by the world’s richest financiers: “Bernie Madoff’s prized piece of office art was a four-foot sculpture of a screw that he frequently dusted off himself…A defense lawyer pleaded for the valued object to be photoshopped out of court documents.” [The Baffler]
After two of his works were barred from being displayed in two separate Chinese cities this month, artist and dissonant Ai Weiwei writes an appeal to the Chinese government in Bloomberg: “Censorship has in effect neutered society, transforming it into a damaged, irrational and purposeless creature.” [Bloomberg View]