The exhibition coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Graphics Interchange Format, a compressed-image technique that has proven diabolically useful for the online presentation of quick-and-dirty animated loops.
To assemble their GIFs, the show’s selection committee—headed by Johnny Misheff, along with Nicola Formichetti, James Frey, RoseLee Goldberg, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Richard Phillips, the Rodarte sisters, Michael Stipe, and Ryan Trecartin—both commissioned new GIFs from established artists and chose from GIFs that had been submitted in response to an open call from Paddle8 and Tumblr. “GIFs can be funny, sad, profound, psychedelic, whimsical, mind-blowing, mind-numbing, narrative, and completely bonkers,” Misheff told me. “My favorite GIFs tell a story or make me LOL. It’s a truly democratic medium.”