BY JON CRONIN
Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image will present an animated GIF exhibition with four-screen moving-image installations in its visitor elevator beginning on June 1 at 7 p.m.
The exhibit—titled “The GIF Elevator”—will retain its space for the next year and is opening in collaboration with GIPHY Arts. The new GIF artworks are by Mr. Div (Matt DiVito), Dain Fagerholm, Render Fruit (Clara Luzian), Lorna Mills, Paul Robertson and Rafia Santana.
Each artist will produce four original GIFs that will be displayed on the walls and ceilings of the museum’s elevator, which will offer an intimate encounter with the work.
Opening night will feature the first GIF art, “Yellowwhirlaway” by Lorna Mills. That night, guests will be able to attend a conversation with Mills, DiVito and Santana that will be moderated by Jason Eppink, the museum’s curator of digital media, and Ari Spool, the community curator at GIPHY. There will also be a reception with music by DJ Marty McSorley and GIF Dance Party, a collaborative real-time installation that turns dancing guests into animated GIFs.
“Since the GIF was introduced in 1987 as a data format, it has become the subject of an unlikely series of reinventions,” Eppink said. “The GIF is now an important site of cultural and artistic expression, an established and pervasive form defined in part by silence, brevity, shareability and, most importantly, the loop. The participating artists in this series of installations represent some of the most important and influential GIF makers today.”
With the opening of each installation, the commissioned GIFs will also be published on GIPHY.com. Each installation will be on view for two months.
The GIF Elevator exhibits will be on view as follows: Lorna Mills’ “Yellowwhirlaway” from June 1 to July 30; Mr. Div (Matt DiVito) from Aug. 2 to Oct. 1; Rafia Santana from Oct. 4 to Dec. 3; Render Fruit (Clara Luian) from Dec. 6 to Feb. 4; Dain Fagerholm from Feb. 7 to April 1; and Paul Robertson from April 4 to June 3, 2018.
Eppink said that the Museum of the Moving Image has focused its mission since 1988 to change the idea of idea digital artistry and the traditional art of movie making.
The museum began presenting GIF as art—and explored its role in pop culture and the internet—in 2012 with exhibitions such as “We Tripped El Hadji Diouf: The Story of a Photoshop Thread” (in 2012), “Under Construction” (from 2012 to 2013), Evan Roth’s installation “A Tribute to Heather” (2013), “The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture” (2014) and “How Cats Took Over the Internet” (2016). The museum also commissioned artists in 2015 from around the world to create animated GIFs, which were presented in a theatrical setting.