Selfie Museum a Sure Sign of What’s Wrong with Modern Art
Soon-to-open Los Angeles location will attract scores of smartphone addicts — larger message about society is troubling
What a difference a century and vast improvements to technology have made in the art industry.
In the late 1800s, Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were atop the art world thanks to their highly popular impressionism work. Fast-forward to the waning days of the year 2017 — and the definition of art has changed dramatically.
The most recent example of this is the Museum of Selfies, reportedly set to open next month in Los Angeles.
The museum — which will charge visitors $25 a pop — is set to have its "art inspired by selfies" on display.
The Museum of Selfies Twitter account seems to capture the idea of what's "considered" art here:
The museum will host areas with proper lighting so that visitors can take quality selfies of themselves. It will also feature "selfie sticks" — which allow people to take a picture of themselves while holding their phone more than an arm's length away.
"We definitely want people to laugh or be surprised by the entire exhibit," co-founder Tommy Honton told Mashable. "So we have the visual humor where people walk up, and they engage with the space. And we're hoping they laugh, or they're surprised, or are amused, and that they can't help but want to take a picture with it."
There is no doubt that photography can be artistic — but a selfie museum represents a further stray from the definition of art from the Renaissance and Victorian era. It took Leonardo da Vinci three years to paint "The Last Supper." In contrast, a selfie can be snapped with the tap of a finger from virtually anywhere at any time — as long as there is light.
Selfies are just the latest of what has become strange modern art. Price gouging is a major concern in the industry, the Los Angeles Times notes, and a major reason is the use of art donations as massive tax write-offs. This is why art that looks like it was done by a two-year-old can sell for millions of dollars.
The selfie museum also puts on display a major problem in American society today: smartphone addiction.
Four out of 10 of millennials interacted with their smartphones more than they did with their friends, family, and co-workers, Market Watch reported last year. Plus, 47 percent of millennials told the Pew Research Center in 2015 that they "could not live without" their smartphones. This represents a radical change in society, as smartphones have only become widely used in the last decade.
Lucky for the Museum of Selfies, it's going to be located in a city with roughly four million people — so is bound to attract plenty of phone-addicted visitors.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.