It’s not that rare that people destroy or damage something because they’re too submerged in taking a selfie. The latest case took place in the group exhibition by artist Simon Birch, at 14th Factory in Los Angeles.
A woman crouched down in front of one of the pedestals trying to take a selfie. She knocked it over, and it caused a domino effect that’s painful to watch. All the pedestals in the row fell down, and some of the art pieces got broken. $200,000 worth of art pieces.
The installation features crown-like objects placed on top of the pedestals. Even though some of them are made from metal, wood and nylon, the others involve more valuable materials like gold, silver and marble. Gloria Yu, one of the artists featured in the exhibition, tells Hyperallergic that “three sculptures were permanently damaged, and the others to varying degrees.” She shared the information that the approximate cost is $200,000.
Now, I am annoyed by people takings selfies and not noticing the world around them. I’m especially annoyed when they do it in a gallery or a museum. But I guess that’s my problem because I still prefer enjoying the moment, and those hitting me with their stretched hands and selfie sticks ruin it for me. But still, I can’t really bash this woman too hard.
First of all, the exhibition is designed for “Instagram generation.” Carolina Miranda of the LA Times describes the exhibition as “the perfect place for an Instagram.” After all, in the age of social networks, I guess you can’t expect people not to snap photos and use their phones (no matter how much it may annoy you).
There’s another thing why I can’t only blame the clumsy woman for this mass destruction of the artwork. I wonder why the installation isn’t protected with velvet ropes. If the crowns are that valuable, they shouldn’t be exposed to everyone’s hands (and butts, in this case). So what I’m saying is: this could have been prevented. Not only by a selfie-taker who should have been more cautious, but also the gallery who should have protected the installation.
All in all, I hope this will serve as a reminder that taking selfies at an art exhibition isn’t really the best idea. It’s not only annoying for others and prevents you from enjoying the exhibition – but it can also cost a lot if something gets damaged.