Selfies can do a lot of things: they can make you feel sexy and empowered, they can be artistic, they can break the internet. This story, however, will have you clutching your Lumeein despair. Fire up that front-facing camera and take a pic of yourself cringing as you read about the dangers of #artselfies gone horribly wrong.
At a pop-up art gallery in an industrial artists’ space in Los Angeles called the 14th Factory, multimedia artist Simon Birch, who conceived the space, was showing some of his sculptural work. One piece, entitled “Hypercaine,” featured short pedestals, some of them topped with crowns. Ironically, this piece is as good a statement about selfie culture in 2017 as any other. An intrepid fan, not dissuaded by the close proximity of the sculpture, decided to take a selfie. She bumped into a pedestal, which sends the pedestals behind it crashing down like sad dominos. Not only did she ruin this piece of art, but its damage is valued at a whopping $200,000.
Look, there is a lot to be said about the way art is valued compared to the status of the artists that create them, or the way art is commercialized in a capitalist society. But “don’t touch the art” is a pretty basic rule that even kids can understand. Don’t stand too close to the art, and definitely don’t take selfies in front of fragile art. Yes, in case you’re wondering, there is also a video. Watch this, and you’ll want to cringe in a corner for the rest of the day.
Here’s what the doomed work looked like before it met its untimely end.