New York Museum to display original set of 176 emojis next to Picasso and van Gogh

New York: Emojis, the extremely popular new-age graphic communication, will now be displayed alongside masterpieces by artists like Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) here after it acquired the original set of 176 emoji for its permanent collection. The Museum said Japanese national carrier NTT DOCOMO's original set of 176 emoji will be added to its collection.

Developed under the supervision of designer Shigetaka Kurita and released for cell phones in 1999, "these pixel humble masterpieces of design planted the seeds for the explosive growth of a new visual language," MoMA Architecture & Design Collection Specialist Paul Galloway said in a blog post yesterday.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Reuters

The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Reuters

The emojis will be displayed from December to March in the Museum, home to masterpieces by iconic artists from Picasso to van Gogh. Founded in 1929, the museum is among the most popular in the US and is home to almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. Among the original emojis is the pixelated symbols for the heart, a landline phone, a beer mug and a mobile phone with an antenna.

Galloway said Kurita had introduced emojis to the world as a better way to incorporate images in the limited visual space available on cell phone screens.

Released in 1999, Kurita's 176 emoji or picture characters were instantly successful. "Twelve years later, when a far larger set was released for Apple's iPhone, emoji burst into a new form of global digital communication. "Emoji tap into a long tradition of expressive visual language. Images and patterns have been incorporated within text since antiquity," he said.

Working within the software and hardware limitations of the late 1990s, Kurita created his emoji on a small grid of 12 x 12 pixels and designed a set of 176 emoji that included illustrations of weather phenomena, pictograms and a range of expressive faces.

"Kurita's emoji are powerful manifestations of the capacity of design to alter human behavior. The design of a chair dictates our posture; so, too, does the format of electronic communication shape our voice. "MoMA's collection is filled with examples of design innovations that radically altered our world, from telephones to personal computers," Galloway said.


Published Date: Oct 27, 2016 02:42 pm | Updated Date: Oct 27, 2016 02:42 pm


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