Beyoncé and Jay Z Elevate the Art Selfie Into a Movement

The global trend also gets a book.

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Beyoncé at the Louvre.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.
Awol Erizku, Beyoncé and Jay Z with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Photo courtesy of Beyoncé via Twitter.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z at Frieze London.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z at Frieze London.
Photo via: Twitter.
If it’s good enough for Jay and Bee #artselfie by @jameslittlenztPhoto via:
If it’s good enough for Jay and Bee, #artselfie by @jameslittlenzt
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One second I’m a #koons then suddenly the Koons is me, by @gordonandyuPhoto via:
One second I’m a #koons then suddenly the Koons is me, #artselfie by @gordonandyu
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#artselfie w #beyonce and @matthieulaurette #fiac, by @alice_maitrePhoto via:
#artselfie w #beyonce and @matthieulaurette #fiac, by @alice_maitre
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Mom just sent me this cutie #artselfie from Naoshima, by @jyk_001Photo via:
Mom just sent me this cutie #artselfie from Naoshima, by @jyk_001
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#imiterunlivre avec #artselfie, éd. Jean Boîte éditions, by @librairie_mollatPhoto via:
#imiterunlivre avec #artselfie, éd. Jean Boîte éditions, by @librairie_mollat
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#artselfie #gagosian #richardprince, by @mrfoxdarling_Photo via:
#artselfie #gagosian #richardprince, by @mrfoxdarling_
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#artselfie by @internetktPhoto via:
#artselfie, by @internetkt
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The art selfie became a global phenomenon two weeks ago, when Beyoncé and Jay Z had a photo take of themselves in front of Leonardo’s most celebrated painting at the Louvre (see “Beyoncé and Jay Z Pose with Mona Lisa”). When, days later, the couple hit the aisles of Frieze London, they engaged in what could only be described as a frenzied art-selfie marathon .

But the media-savvy Carter-Knowles family is merely the tip of the iceberg of a trend that, over the last couple of years, has pervaded social media and art spaces simultaneously (see “Should Museums Ban Selfies for an Hour Every Day?”). The art selfie, although seemingly banal, is a veritable testimony of the currency that contemporary art has gained within popular culture.

The New York-based collective DIS has now “institutionalized” the trend in a book, #artselfie, published by the Parisian publishing house Jean Boîte Editions. The book is a physical extension of the online project, which the group launched in 2011 at Art Basel Miami Beach. The Tumblr site was meant to serve as a platform for DIS members to cover the art fair, but the hashtag was soon taken over by social media enthusiasts, who have since then uploaded around 13,000 #artselfies.

DIS has plenty of reasons to feel entitled to “officialize” the trend. After all, according to the New York Times, the genesis of the “#artselfie” hashtag goes back to their installation Fair Trade, which they presented at Frieze London 2012 as part of Frieze Projects. Yet, DIS claims no ownership of the term.

The DIS Collective

It’s been an intense five years for DIS, whose members have gone from inhabiting the fringes of New York’s culture industry to being the darlings of the international contemporary art world. The collective was born in late 2009 as DIS Magazine, an online-based lifestyle publication. The seven founding editors—Marco Roso, Solomon Chase, David Toro, Patrik Sandberg, Nicholas Scholl, Samuel Adrian Massey III, and Lauren Boyle­—are an eclectic group, counting among them a few visual artists, a fashion stylist, a web developer, and a writer.

The magazine’s motley assortment of art, advertising, fashion and corporate imagery seemed to chime with the then-emerging Post-Internet movement and the collective quickly became a fixture of the local art scene. Most recently, DIS curated the critically-acclaimed exhibition-cum-retail-pop-up “DISown – Not For Everyone,” held at Red Bull Studios last March and has contributed works to shows— such as ProBio, as part of “EXPO 1: New York”, held last summer at MoMA PS1.

Pretty much a U.S.-based affair until now, DIS are poised to conquer Europe. Last month it was announced that the collective will curate the next Berlin Biennale (see “DIS Will Curate 2016 Berlin Biennale”). Expect plenty of #artselfie opportunities.

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