Instagrammers who are fed up with the proliferating bans on selfie sticks in more traditional museums can now find solace at a new pop-up in Glendale, California. From April 1 through May 31, visitors to the pop-up Museum of Selfies can learn more about the history of the photographic form, as well as take their own memorable snapshots.
Co-founded by two escape room designers, Tommy Honton and Tair Mamedov, the museum’s installations are designed to bridge the gap between mainstream consumerism and the more aloof air of the art world. Through recreations of famous Van Gogh paintings and satirical takes on common selfie locations (gyms, cars, restaurants), guests are encouraged to take their own selfies while also viewing examples of self-representation throughout the ages.
In a tour ahead of the museum’s official opening, Hyperallergic spotted hyper-saturated walls with giant placards, an iron throne made of selfie sticks, and a black-and-white photo studio. All of the pieces double as Instagram-worthy backdrops on their own, complete with suggested hashtags. Even the museum’s bathroom is in on the fun, as the “mirror” actually leads to an empty, symmetrically-designed room and fails to reflect viewers.
With new work commissioned from both domestic and international artists, including ruminations on how selfies have destroyed priceless art and in some cases lead to death, the museum wants to examine how interactions with art have been changed by technology. The macaque monkey selfie, responsible for a legal battle over ownership of the photograph that bankrupted the camera’s owner, has been put on display along with speculative graphic art and gags.
“The relationship between people and art has changed,” Mamedov told Mashable. “Now people don’t want to just be a silent consumer, they want to be a part of the art. There are many more selfies with the Mona Lisa than actual Mona Lisas.”
The Museum of Selfies’ merging of artistic theory with mass-market consumerism is deeper pop-up fare than, say, the Museum of Ice Cream, and the questions raised by the exhibition echoes those that the architectural field are still grappling with.