If at first you don’t belieb, try, try again.
In February, we reported that artist Tre Reising’s #Belieb art piece, termed “a glittery homage to pop culture,” was to be installed at Indianapolis International Airport but was ultimately scrapped. The piece by Reising, a native of Columbus, Indiana, was reportedly censored because “the airport thought the intrinsic irony of the work would be lost on an audience that consists of a very broad general public.” Reising’s quasi-inspiration then, Justin Bieber, was persistently and publicly acting out at the time. “I think [Bieber] is an interesting cultural phenomenon because everyone is obsessed with him whether they like him or not,” Reising told IM then. “He is news for some reason.”
It’s news to us now that Reising just got another work—the Emoji-centric, “sarcastically titled” Live, Love, Laugh, Laugh Until You Cry—installed at the airport. It went up earlier this week, and IND officials dubbed it “a thought-provoking take on communication.” Asked for comment today about whether he felt artistically stifled in February, Reising says, “Censored or not, it gave me the opportunity to make a new, better artwork for the public realm.”
From Reising’s artist statement for the LLLLUYC piece: “[He] appropriates four of the most popular emoji images most of us use without thinking. Emoji icons have been introduced into our digital vernacular and everyone understands what they mean. These tiny images are useful when communicating via text message because they help convey emotion and tone within an otherwise stark communication format. Since emojis only exist digitally and in small scale, by giving them a large physical presence Reising invites the viewer to photograph and share these real-world icons the same way one would the digital versions.”
Reising’s current work appears alongside exhibitions by artists Charles Glick of Lafayette and C. Thomas Lewis of Indianapolis. Their pieces are on display now through March 8, 2015, in IND’s Concourse B and Ticket Hall. Once again, Reising—a specialist in works that “memorialize digital, hip-hop, and rap culture”—has captured American and even global pop culture in the microcosm of a standalone art piece. On that note, if you think the Emoji culture is dead, or that expressing thoughts and feelings by way of Emojis is silly, do read this nymag.com piece on them.
See more of Reising’s work on his website. Find him on Twitter at @TreReisingDaawg.