HUMBOLDT PARK — Funny photos and videos that get passed around the internet are the subject of a new pop-up museum in Humboldt Park.
A “meme museum” — complete with a crying Michael Jordan and the “This is fine” dog — opened last month in the 6th Dimension Space + Gallery at 2511 W. North Ave. It will last through at least the end of September.
“Instead of opening a typical print shop — nobody’s going into a print shop, especially right now — let’s create an experience, to lighten up the mood and make people happy,” said founder Nancy Calderon.
Calderon and her partner, Renee Costa, both 25, run a screen-printing operation, called Printfuze. The two decided to open the museum as an extension of their business. At the museum, folks can buy the couple’s screen-printed merchandise, everything from sweatshirts to key rings — all emblazoned with memes.
Memes also line the walls of the museum, which spans two floors of the gallery.
To keep people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, Calderon and Costa made it so visitors don’t have to physically touch anything to enjoy the museum.
Folks are instead encouraged to walk through and take photos with the images and other pieces of meme art, including a life-sized “This is fine” dog created by local artist Jeremy Steffen.
“There’s something someone is always going to relate to, whether it’s a funny picture or a funny shirt,” Calderon said.
Admission is free, but people can opt for VIP tickets and make a party out of it. With the VIP tickets, which cost $15 each, a (small) group can bring alcohol and get access to the mini fridge. More information is provided online.
The “meme museum” isn’t a permanent attraction. Calderon and Costa took over the Humboldt Park gallery with a plan to reinvent the space on a monthly basis. For October, Calderon is thinking they’ll give the “meme museum” a Halloween makeover. And in November, they’re talking about taking it all down and bringing in motivational speakers.
Calderon and Costa, who are from Gage Park but currently live in Logan Square, have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. The couple ran an online marketing business together before deciding to take up screen printing in March.
“We come from no printing background. We learned all of the machines from YouTube,” Calderon said.
Costa also runs a video production company called Full Bars Media.
With the Humboldt Park gallery, the couple has one goal: to cheer people up amid difficult times.
“We were trying to come up with a way to bring people together. Everything on social media is a lot of memes that get shared with funny content. There’s no space that’s anything like this, so we were like, ‘Let’s make one,” Calderon said.
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