Selfie culture: The rise of the Instamuseum

Visitors delight in the Museum of Ice Cream
A visitor delights in the Museum of Ice Cream Credit: Patricia Chang

During the 1966 Venice Biennale, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama stood outside the Italian pavilion and set up shop. Her rogue, uninvited installation work consisted of 1,500 stainless steel spheres, each about the size of a basketball. Dressed some days in a golden kimono, and others in a red bodysuit, she would sell the mirrored balls to members of the public for $2 each – calling them “Your Narcissism”.

Walking downstairs in the Hayward Gallery to see Kusama’s balls, known as Narcissus Garden, sprawling across a room, one can’t help but wonder what she would make of her viewers in 2018: admiring their reflection and wielding smartphones, capturing the sea of silver to upload on the profiles of...

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