casually-pepper-spray-everything-cop

UC Davis cop pepper sprays famous works of art

Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM ET

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Lt. John Pike makes an unexpected appearance in Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

It's not enough that the police are pepper spraying Occupy protesters, now they're taking aim at famous works of art — as an Internet meme, of course.

It was only a matter of time before the viral image of that UC Davis cop (Lt. John Pike, you're famous now! Or infamous?) made it into certain images, but it's a stroke of genius to incorporate it into famous works of art, as you can see below (and which we saw all over Facebook last night, too).

James Alex, an American artist living in Edinburgh, Scotland, created some of the images Sunday night after seeing the Seurat mash-up (above), and expanded it to others such as the Manet, the Eakins, Wyeth and Willard, posting them to his Tumblr.

"I started to think about the UC students using a peaceful method of protest, i.e. sitting, and how truly revolutionary such a passive event like sitting could be. Then I started to think about paintings being passive yet revolutionary especially in their own time and yes, now too," he wrote in an email to msnbc.com this morning. "Popping in the image of the officer resulted in something quite dynamic with a multitude of meanings, the least of which is playing with the idea of historical events and how unamerican a violent act can be."

Here, Alex chose Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" to express his thoughts. Another creative soul chose Picasso's "Guernica" to reveal the police presence now seen around the world.

James Alex /
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Lt. John Pike makes a stealthy cameo in Picasso's "Guernica."

Others have done the random photoshop, and still more have merged memes (see the Leo diCaprio strut below, too).

Leo diCaprio strut meme merges with pepper spray image

There's much more on Know Your Meme's "Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop" page.

UC Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has come under fire for her handling of the situation, putting the offending officers caught on camera on administrative leave. While these images conjure up the lighter side of the police action, we realize how serious the situation really is. If you haven't seen the original image yet, here it is, followed by a video about the ensuing controversy.

NBC News
Students at UC Davis are pepper sprayed.

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