For those of you who haven’t seen the viral video of the police officer pepper spraying peaceful Occupy protesters at UC Davis, the above image of the pepper spraying cop invading Andrew Wyath’s Christina’s World might not be as humorous (yet simultaneously upsetting) as it is for me.
Having an appreciation for art and art history makes the appropriated images even more compelling. James Alex Photoshopped images of the officer with his pepper spray can into a slew of classic figurative paintings. Particularly striking is the image of the officer walking through Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte while spraying peaceful park-goers, which I first stumbled across while reading my daily dose of Glasstire (my favorite Texas visual arts blog). Alex’s images, along with many others’ that mimic the idea, have quickly become an internet phenomenon, claimed to be one of the year’s greatest memes as reported by NPR, Huffington Post, NBC, The Washington Post, and many others.
Personally, these images make me want to know more about James Alex’s background and what made him think to combine such a current image with traditional paintings. I like that the result makes light of the Occupy protests while concurrently making the viewer consider their implications more deeply. What kinds of emotions do these images elicit for you?