The Museum of Selfies Is Coming to Los Angeles, Whether You Like It or Not

Are selfies art? The founders of this museum think so.

Gustav Klimt's Woman in Gold reimagined as a portrait of a woman taking a selfie. Courtesy of the Museum of Selfies.

The latest sign of the continuing decline of Western civilization just might be the Museum of Selfies. Scheduled to touch down in Los Angeles for a limited run this spring, it’s the latest in a growing line of interactive exhibitions designed for maximum social media impact, à la the controversial Museum of Ice Cream.

“It’s just not a museum OF selfies, it’s also a museum ABOUT them,” enthuses the institution’s website, which acknowledges the love/hate relationship many of us have with the increasingly ubiquitous selfie. Founders Tair Mamedov and Tommy Honton are the two “responsible/to blame” for the burgeoning museum phenomena, according to the site.

A series of exhibitions promises to explore the selfie through the lenses of history, art, science, and culture, presenting a history of portraiture from prehistoric cave art to the first modern selfie. (Paris Hilton recently took credit for inventing the selfie with Britney Spears, but that claim was proven false). From Vincent van Gogh and the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna to Kim Kardashian, the museum claims to uncover the origins of the art form as we know it today.

“The relationship between people and art has changed,” Honton told Mashable. “Now people don’t want to just be a silent consumer, they want to be a part of the art. There are many more selfies with the Mona Lisa than actual Mona Lisas.”

But it’s not all educational. True to the genre, the museum offers myriad ways for visitors to create their own selfies through interactive exhibits. One exhibit creates the illusion that you’re standing atop a skyscraper; others include a two-sided mirror room for the classic bathroom selfie, a photo-op with super-sized food items, and even a Game of Thrones-inspired Iron Throne made of selfie sticks instead of swords. Speaking of selfie sticks, there are plans to set a new Guinness Book of World Records record for the world’s longest one.

The museum also offers cautionary tales about increasingly common selfie-related deaths and accidents in a “narcissist” exhibit. (There’s a reason Russia had to introduce official selfie safety guidelines.)

An astronaut taking a selfie. Courtesy of the Museum of Selfies.

An astronaut taking a selfie. Courtesy of the Museum of Selfies.

“Whether you love them or hate them, you won’t see selfies the same way again,” insists the museum, which has decorated its website with images of iconic portraits like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Gustav Klimt’s The Woman in Gold photoshopped so that their subjects are each holding a smartphone.

“Over a million selfies are uploaded to social media every day. Whether you think they’re the most amazing thing ever or the low point of human culture, selfies have a firmly cemented place in our modern society, but also have roots going back to the most ancient and primal aspects of our species,” notes the museum’s FAQ. “That seems worthy of a museum, no?”

Vincent van Gogh's self portrait reimagined as a portrait of a man taking a selfie. Courtesy of the Museum of Selfies.

Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait reimagined as a portrait of a man taking a selfie. Courtesy of the Museum of Selfies.

Timed tickets, priced at $25, should eliminate overcrowding from “selfie-seeking hoards.” A visit is expected to last between 60 and 90 minutes. It goes without saying that selfie sticks are, of course, totally welcome.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people taking selfies at museums—the challenge is when people become obsessed with staring at their screens as opposed to experiencing life,” said Honton to Moneyish. “So we’re trying to make sure we have it balanced. Can we make a fun, accessible art exhibit that is fun, but it also has this other layer that educates?”

The Museum of Selfies is located at 211 N Brand Boulevard, Glendale, California, and will be open April 1–May 31, 2018.

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