Press Information


The Emoji Art & Design Show surveys the spread of emoji through popular culture with an art exhibition and Emoji Pop-Up Market.

In today’s visually oriented culture, which increasingly communicates through images rather than text, emoji comprise a kind of “visual vernacular,” a language that conveys humor, ambiguity and personality as well as meaning.

This visual form of communication isn’t necessarily new—from cave paintings, to hieroglyphics, to religious and mythological symbols encoded in traditional painting and sculpture, we’ve been communicating through images since the dawn of mankind—but its dominance in culture today, especially among millennials, seems to indicate a greater shift in our approach to self-expression.

An examination of the emoji zeitgeist, The Emoji Art & Design Show features works of art and design selected through an open call. The works presented cover a wide range of mediums from digital prints, sculptures, video and performance art, tackling themes such as emotional ambiguity, symbology, and visual communication. Works in the show explore ideas rooted in both pop and visual culture—appropriating and inserting emoji into the art history cannon, hypnotic moving images, emoji photo apps, inherent translation difficulties, and a desire for more emoji characters are represented in this exhibition.

Curatorial Committee

Data Engineer, Kickstarter

Founder, Arts, Culture & Technology Meetup

Creator, womanzine

Founders, Melee Media

Communications Director, Eyebeam

Technology Reporter, The New York Times

Senior Program Director, 5Loom


Founders, Forced Meme Productions

Event Details

December 12-14, 2013

Eyebeam Art+Technology Center

540 W 21st Street, New York City


Opening event on December 12 (by invitation only)

Exhibition will be open to the public at Eyebeam on December 13 & 14, from noon to 6pm


Panel: 'I Have No Words: Emoji And The New Visual Vernacular'

Saturday, December 14 at 3pm (closing reception to follow)


  • Fred Benenson, creator of Emoji Dick
  • Ramsey Nasser, computer scientist, artist and Eyebeam alumnus
  • Zoë Salditch, communications director at Eyebeam
  • Jenna Wortham, New York Times technology reporter

Moderated by Lindsey Weber, co-founder of Forced Meme Productions & editor at New York magazine's Vulture

About the Artworks

Featuring original works by:

  • Genie Alfonzo / Emojinal Art
  • Fahad Al-Hunaif
  • Kim Asendorf & Emilio Gomariz aka Maadonna
  • Jeff Baij, Al Bedell, Zoe Gholson & Michael Manning
  • Man Bartlett & Jacinda Russell
  • Genevieve Belleveau
  • Maya Ben-Ezer
  • Fred Benenson
  • Mike Burakoff
  • Zoë Burnett
  • Cara Rose Defabio
  • Kwok Pan Fung
  • Carla Gannis
  • Jeanette Hayes
  • Ibon Mainar
  • Becca McCharen
  • Ramsey Nasser & Addie Wagenknecht
  • Liza Nelson
  • Luciel Perte & Noah Spidermen
  • Matthew Rothenberg
  • Arkadiy Ryabin
  • Fito Segrera & Emilio Vavarella
  • Kyle M. F. Williams


Design Your Own Emoji Contest, sponsored by GroupMe

The show’s reach will extend past the exhibition run: presenting partner GroupMe plans to host a ‘Design Your Own Emoji’ contest at Eyebeam, where guests can suggest, and even sketch designs for, new emoji. A new emoji idea will be selected from the submissions and added to the GroupMe app in a future update.


Preview of selected artworks:

Emojis by Kyle M. F. Williams

Shift Key by Maya Ben-Ezer:

TRANSICONMORPHOSIS by Fito Segrera & Emilio Vavarella


Preview of selected market items:

Emoji Eustace Tilley by Fred Benenson

Emoji Thumbs Up Earrings by Wendy Brandes:


Press Contacts:

General programming inquiries:


Questions about the main exhibition, or to be put in touch with the artists:

Zoë Salditch, communications director at Eyebeam


Questions about the Emoji Pop-Up Market, or to be put in touch with the designers:

Lindsey Weber, co-founder at Forced Meme Productions



History of Emoji Timeline

Created by 5Loom