How a Cat Meme Became a Fine Art Auction in Brooklyn

"Cultural Crisis" by Tess Spalty

About four years ago, when Will Zweigart saw an image of a crying child sitting on the lap of a man dressed in a Santa suit, he knew he’d struck Internet-meme gold. From there, he bought a domain name——and asked Internet users to submit awkward, often inappropriate Santa-lap photos from their childhoods. Submissions came in droves; the site’s content grew rapidly. So did the number of visitors. Zweigart later landed a book deal with Simon & Schuster, and he went on to sell the meme to the Cheezburger network. “I did a book, it was in Urban Outfitters, and all that good stuff,” says Zweigart, 33, who lives in New York and works full time as the director of the social-media agency 5Loom. “But the user didn’t really win there.”

“Bang Bang” by Nicole Sloan

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