The Museum Of Modern Art in New York has long been home to some of the most bold contemporary art, especially if that art is made or worn by a famous person, in order to bring in the young people who don’t know their Jasper Johns from their Yayoi Kusamas. But despite occasionally being criticized for its curation, the museum is still committed to delivering boundary-pushing art that makes you think and challenges your preconceptions about the world. And in that spirit, The New York Times reports MoMA has acquired the original set of 176 emoji, made for texting on phones by Japanese mobile provider NTT DoCoMo in 1999, because all those massive canvases you’ve filled with your heart and soul are total piles of puke in comparison to 12x12 pixellated images designed to help corporations sell you stuff.
Actually, while it’s true that many of the emoji were first developed for companies wanting to reach customers (the sun and lightning bolts made for weather reports, high heel for clothing shops, and so on), there’s also flashes of creativity and imagination, from the happy face influenced by manga to abstract images like the purple blob meant to indicate “art.” Again, a symbol that is literally nothing more than a sad lumping together of hued pixels signifies “art” more than your entire studio of painstakingly crafted sculptures.
The emoji are set to be displayed amid the museum’s growing collection of digital objects, via a setup in the main lobby that incorporates both 2-D graphics and animation. Meanwhile, that coffee shop hasn’t called you back yet about hanging up the abstract nude you’ve entitled, “Fin De Siècle En Hiver.” Maybe you should consider adding some heart emoji around the frame.