Pixel art in games has always been pretty well respected, even before retro became a thing. What's really surprised me has been the decline of pixel art in general outside of gaming.
I've been a long-time fanatic over oekaki art, which is essentially pixel art drawn directly on the web using Java applets or (rarely) Flash. The impromptu nature of the medium means most art will be done in 5-30 minutes, and the applets generally don't allow you to import a canvas, so the art is done from scratch and is all your own work. The communities are fairly small, dedicated, and consist mostly of artists. The most popular Java applets favor the pencil tool over airbrushes, an intentionally limited palette, and have special masking and dithering tools which results in most oekakis having a distinctive look. It's wicked fun, and much more creative and engaging than boards like 4chan.
Oekaki boards are generally hosted as standalone web sites. Since the rise of social networks, oekaki has all but disappeared, both the BBSes and the artwork style. The Java applets rarely work these days due to everyone's (and Oracle's) hateboner over applets, so there's really no way to draw online anymore.
What I find most interesting, though, is that everyone trying to write an HTML5-based paint program these days is trying to make a full-fledged painting application, complete with airbrush tools, transparent layers, and sometimes even trying to integrate complex features like the magic wand (and very badly). Performance and drawing lag is horrible. Why are there no pixel art or oekaki HTML5 apps? Pixel art is wicked fast with HTML5 canvas, so a good pixel art application would be ideal, but apparently nobody has an interest in doing this when they can write a bad Photoshop clone nobody wants. Even DeviantArt, which has a drawing app called Muro, has written their crappy paint app with an airbrush tool, and it's impossible to make even good art with that app, let alone pixel art.
It's getting increasingly difficult to keep my BBS alive due to the death of Java on the web. I may have to hire someone to write an HTML5 program for me.