While Versailles and London’s National Gallery may have recently banned the use of selfie sticks, for the most part museums, art fairs, and galleries have embraced the era of the #artselfie, a phenomenon which Douglas Coupland, in his essay in the artist collective DIS’s new book, “#artselfie” (Jean Boîte Editions), defines as: “It’s you plus it’s … art!”
In New York, the Met and MoMA have loosened their strict anti-photography policies, perhaps with an eye on the spike in attendance that has come in with the tide of the #artselfie wave—not to mention the potential of free publicity, like the time Jay-Z and Beyonce’s combined wattage threatened to reduce the Mona Lisa to background scenery during a stop at the Louvre last fall.
As a genre, the #artselfie favors some types of art over others. It’s attracted to text-based art, which offers wry, high-end semiotic reflections of self (I’M EVERY WOMAN), just as it’s attracted to art that offers literal reflections of self (Jeff Koons’s mirrored balloon dogs). It has a weakness for art that is shorthand for an art history rarely encountered in person (Picassos, Van Goghs), or art that is the current talk of the town (Jordon Wolfson’s animatronic stripper at David Zwirner last year.) What the #artselfie typically does not entail—not yet, anyway—is art that is ephemeral or overly cerebral. As the performance artist Andrea Fraser, who is closely associated with “institutional critique,” said recently, ““I can't recall ever having seen a selfie with my work...”
“#artselfie” is available now through artbook.com