Bernie Inauguration Memes Just Got Niche to the Point of Contemporary Art

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The Bernie inauguration meme now includes a Marina Abramović moment.
The Bernie inauguration meme now includes a Marina Abramović moment. (Twitter/@oureric)

Not since that crying blond lady yelled at that white cat has the internet so thoroughly embraced a meme. In the two days since Bernie Sanders sat at Wednesday's inauguration looking like a reluctant granddad at a winter Little League game, the internet has been putting him, well, everywhere.

But what started as fairly commonplace meme fodder—putting Bernie in Star Wars and Mean Girls, and '90s TV shows, and K-Pop bands—has, over the last 48 hours, descended into increasingly niche material.

For me, the moment I knew this meme was going to stranger places was when Twin Peaks' very own Agent Cooper, Kyle MacLachlan, posted a pic of Bernie as the Log Lady.


And Thursday was definitely the day the Bernie memes left the realms of mainstream pop culture and got very, very specific. Goodbye teen classics! Hello conversational Linklater pieces from 2004!

Someone also saw fit to replace the floating tank monster (yes, yes, it's called a Guild Navigator, I know) from 1984's Dune.

Then thrash metal guitarist, Alex Skolnick, shared Bernie on the cover of his band Testament's Practice What You Preach album.

As the Bernie meme spiraled out of control in the land of music and movies, I wondered if anything similar had happened in the art world. The universally known classics had arrived early in the Bernie-meme-ocalypse.

Like Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper:

And Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte:

But once Marina Abramović's The Artist is Present showed up, it was a game changer.

The contemporary art world could and would no longer remain a Bernie-free zone.

So art journalist Maura Callahan seated Bernie on the empty folding chair from Joseph Kosuth's One and Three Chairs.

Then Bernie showed up in a moment from Joseph Buey's bizarre performance piece, I Like America and America Likes Me. (Bernie ain't afraid of no coyote!)

Once Bernie had been plopped into Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, it was clear things had gotten wildly off topic...

So, the art history professor who created it reeled things back in with a couple of takes on the Edward Hopper classic, Night Hawks.

(Zero shade to that human. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a KQED one.)

If you're wondering how Bernie is taking all of this, on Thursday night he told Seth Myers: "I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on."

Bernie's campaign didn't miss a beat, though. You can now turn yourself into a walking, talking meme, with your very own Bernie-at-the-inauguration sweater! Knock yourselves out—it's for charity.