As of late, museums and selfies have had somewhat of a strained relationship.
A selfie attempt earlier this year caused $200,000 in damage at a Los Angeles gallery and selfie-takers at popular museums have sometimes made it difficult to get a good look at Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” for example.
However, a new museum coming to Glendale next month not only encourages its guests to take selfies, it’s the focal point.
The Museum of Selfies is the creation of Tommy Honton and Tair Mamedov, two escape-room designers who, together, wanted to explore the history of the selfie and why people feel the need to capture and reproduce images of themselves.
“The word ‘selfie’ alone bugs me, and I’ve always questioned the emptiness of them, but I wonder if there is a deeper way in. We can examine everything that had to converge in order for the selfie culture to arise,” Honton said.
“Is this really new? Remember, one of the most famous pictures in the history of art is a portrait,” he added, referring to the “Mona Lisa.”
While the pop-up museum will provide a space for some critical examination, Honton said exhibits will take a mostly playful approach to the cultural phenomenon with photo-ops at the forefront.
A few of the interactive installations across the 8,000-square-feet of museum space will include a faux skyscraper that people can climb for a rooftop selfie, a “bathroom selfie” area configured as a two-sided room and an exhibit for the ubiquitous “food selfie.”
There will also be an exhibit dedicated to the pitfalls of narcissism, examining the unusual number of deaths from ambitious selfie attempts.
Much of the art on display was designed and commissioned by Honton and Mamedov as well as work by artists inspired by the the subject matter.
Honton said that, although he’s taken a few licks from the “serious” art world since he announced the project, he thinks those who enter the museum as skeptics will leave happy.
“Sometimes art is inaccessible,” he said. “We wanted to create a real space where not only could people see the art but be a part of it themselves.”
The Museum of Selfies will be located at 211 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale. Selfie-sticks are encouraged.