GIFs have, for most of their history, been considered a fairly lowbrow form of media. There’s nothing funnier than watching a TV graphic come out of a football player’s butt on loop. Or a model tripping again and again…and again.
But we’ve seen a growing number of institutions acknowledge their artistic merit. That list now includes The Saatchi Gallery and Google+, which not only proclaimed the medium its own genre—“motion photography”—but launched a six-category competition to recognize artists pushing the genre forward.