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Emojis are infiltrating art history… 😱

7 November 2016

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art recently announced that it had acquired the original set of 176 emojis, which it would be putting on public display.  ‘In a sense, what we’ve really acquired is a new communication platform,’ said curator Paola Antonelli. ‘But at the same time, the emoji themselves are ideographs, one of the most ancient ways to communicate. I love how the centuries are connected in that way.’

Make of that what you will. But having conducted a brief internet search, the Rake has concluded that Antonelli might indeed be on to something. Indeed, emojis based on works by artists including Durer and Bosch are now available on the App Store, and artist Carla Gannis has even taken it upon herself to recreate the entirety of the latter’s Garden of Earthly Delights in the medium. (According to the Creators Project, Gannis’s work ‘explores and critiques consumerism and modern society through the three emoji-fied realms of Eden, Hell, and Earth’.)

Elsewhere, pundits have taken to emoticons to sum up modern artists in MoMA’s collection. Highlights include Donald Judd (◻️◻️◻️), Dan Flavin (💡💡💡) and Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (😷🚬😖🔪😫💉😲💊). Curators of the future, take note 😉.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via@Rakewelltweets.

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