I’d heard briefly about the National #Selfie Portrait Gallery prior to having read both Chelsey’s and Kim’s discussion of the exhibit which was held last month at the Moving Image Art Fair in London.
As discussed in the interview link, project curators Marina Galperina and Kyle Chayka talk about their opinions regarding the selfie. They state that “the selfie is not a unique art form,” and that similarly, self “obsession” is not a new construct. Rather, the selfie can be understood as an evolved self-portrait perpetuated (but not created) by the instantaneous image-producing technology which permits it. In mentioning some of the varied approaches favored by the 19 featured artists, the curators discuss a wide variety — some satirical, while others more self aware. Asked if their work can be understood as “a sort of satire of the self-absorption and self-obsession of humans,” Galperina and Chayka state both “yes and no.” The project’s goal is not rooted in a kind of abject paranoia surrounding the selfie, nor is its claim to suggest that “all selfies are art.” Rather it seems, it is to investigate and conceptualize our understanding of the selfie, which often appears subject to a particularly heavy brand of criticism.