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Meet “Struggling Sehgal,” a Meme Inspired by Tino’s Pained Venice Biennale Photo-Op

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By now you know that the London-born, Berlin-based performance artist Tino Sehgal received the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Biennale for his two-person beatboxing dance piece in Massimiliano Gioni’s exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace,” but what you may not be aware of is the hilariously pained expression that Sehgal made while receiving the prize (see above). We’re not sure what to make of the look on Sehgal’s face — does he have zero upper body strength? does he have a debilitating phobia of winged lions? did he just remember that he was having a really bad hair day? — but we immediately recognized the opportunity to creating a new meme, and thus Struggling Sehgal was born. See some instructive examples below.

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Above: Struggling Sehgal and Lil Bub.

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Above: Struggling Sehgal and a super big Super Big Gulp.

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Above: Or, wait, maybe it is?

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Above: Struggling Sehgal stares awkwardly at a Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball.”

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Above: Struggling Sehgal comes face to face with Damien Hirst’s “The Physical Impossibility of Death…”

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Above: Struggling Sehgal’s struggles can’t dampen his delight.

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Above: Struggling Sehgal with fellow Biennale star Marc Quinn’s inflatable sculpture of a nude Alison Lapper.

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Above: Struggling Sehgal reminds you that you are not allowed to photograph any of his performance art pieces.

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Above: Struggling Sehgal has an understandably hard time holding up Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass.”

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Above: Struggling Sehgal struggles with himself.

Now go make your own! (A high-resolution version of the original can be found here.)

— Ashton Cooper, Benjamin Sutton

(Illustrations by Micah Schmidt and Claire Cohen.)

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