This weekend, self-taught songwriter Air Pop will debut his first solo art show. It consists entirely of memes he made himself, which riff on screenshots of Juliette Lewis, Miu Miu shows, cracked iPhones, and Lindsey Wixson’s strong hair looks.
I'm Still Trying Not To Mind Fuck Myself, 2016
Do you have a favorite meme? Maybe you're a Bernie or Hillary person; perhaps Spongebob edits are more your speed. Memes can be brilliant, asinine, hilarious, bigoted — often all at the same time. LA-based musician Air Pop doesn't really like most memes: "A lot of them are pretty disgusting, like a massive general view of the disturbing thoughts people have on a daily basis. It's kind of a bummer," he says. So he decided to make his own. One is the album cover for Pretty Dumb, his first CD in four years, released back in March. Fifty of them form his first-ever solo show, opening in LA this weekend.
SADE Gallery, an art space located a few miles north of Air Pop's Downtown LA studio, will exhibit his homemade memes on canvas. Air Pop says he makes them when he's feeling sad, and many of them do enshrine the bleak humor memes often communicate. His memes are a bit more subtle, though, appropriating stills from films like Stand by Me, photos of Miu Miu and McQueen runway shows, and unfortunate pap snaps of Lauren Conrad's reality TV affiliates. He also plays with the meme canon itself, taking its common visual tropes like cute animals or explosions to highlight existential minutiae — socially awkward facial expressions or failed relationships. If you consider memes to be an art form (I certainly do), here's your chance to see some hanging on a gallery wall rather than lighting up a tiny screen.
'MEMES' will be on view at SADE from July 30 to August 7. More information here.
Text Emily Manning