We have already established that, regarding museums and documentation, “The proof is in the picture. You can’t say you’ve been there and did it if you don’t have the picture.” (This is a quote, a great quote, from one woman who waited several hours to take a selfie at the David Zwirner Gallery.) Yesterday, people adhered to this rule and put their faces in front of some art, because it was official Museum Selfie Day. #MuseumSelfie Day is an idea from Culture Themes and Mar Dixon aimed to make museums both less haughty and more physical, as it would encourage a particular type of bending and darting to see the art around people’s posturin’ and posin’.
If art history teaches us anything, it’s that there are always motifs. And from the day of the #MuseumSelfie, there are, specifically, nineteen prominent types of museum selfies. They are:
1. Making kissy-faces at babely statues.
2. Engaging in playful stare-offs with statues, especially those of judge-y forefathers.
3. The mocking surprise-delight face: mouth open, chin tilted down, in front of a painting.
4. The modest comparison selfie: Look! My facial features are similar to this person who was deemed gorgeous enough to document for the ages, and then proceeded to stand the test of time.
5. Standing in front of a sculpture or painting of a snarling animal and re-creating the snarl.
6. Inserting one’s body behind a bust or a taxidermied animal head to give it the body it so clearly desires.
7. A smiley, cute selfie. Just a regular, standard selfie, but at a museum. You’re so pretty.
8. Antique-mirror selfie, in front of an old-timey mirror in the old-timey furniture wing. Those mirrors still work after all these years. Amazing.
9. Modern mirror, in front of a strange, reflective piece of contemporary art. Where are you? Oh, there you are!
10. Actin’ haughty. Yeah, Madame X does look like she thinks she’s the business.
11. Interacting with the scene. If an old lady in a Dutch masters painting is pointing in an accusatory way, it is kinda funny to stand on the other end of her outstretched finger and look guilty.
12. Acting shocked at a nude or a sex scene. Art: so subversive.
13. Taking pictures of artist’s self-portraits. Look, Edward Hopper and Rembrandt both painted themselves! SELFIES ARE OLD AS TIME.
14. Selfie with other people taking museum selfies in the background. There is nothing that a proud museumgoer loves more than things that are meta.
15. Photoshopping a camera into the hands of Mona Lisa or The Girl With the Pearl Earring. We get it!
And the four types of most common, incorrect museum selfies tagged with #MuseumSelfie:
16. Museum-bathroom selfies.
17. Selfies in the woods.
18. No context, just a face in front of a blank wall. It is possible that this person is art, but again, no context.
19. Aquarium selfies — though it is impressive that this person appears to be about to kiss that fish.