Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Museums set up selfie points (but there's a trick)

Museums set up selfie points (but there's a trick)By Director Ferruccio Gard

The rampant selfiemania in museums has become a public menace. Yes, because the infamous, intrusive selfie stick (now banned almost everywhere) can cause serious damage to artworks. And because selfiemaniacs are often loud and, as they try to find the right pose, bump into a poor soul who just wants to admire a painting or a sculpture in peace. As a consequence, some museums – such as the Belvedere Museum in Vienna – have provided special… ‘selfie points’. But there’s a trick – and, honestly, you can see it. At the Belvedere, most visitors make a beeline to take a selfie with Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss” (over 100 million euros in value). Next to the room that houses the painting, there is another room with a life-size replica of Klimt’s masterpiece. There is also a signpost with one arrow pointing to the “Original KISS” (and a strict ban on photographs) and another arrow pointing to a “KISS Selfie Point”, where you can go crazy with your camera, smartphone, and so on. The idea has been so successful that the number of visitors has increased. According to the museum’s director, “it’s a different way to learn about and appreciate art.” And many people seem to like the replica – and a good selfie – more than the original. A selfie-taking room with replicas of original paintings has been set up also at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, while in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, there is an entire museum – Art in Island – specifically designed for taking selfies next to reproductions of famous works of art. In Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum, in partnership with Twitter, launched a Museum Week, during which people can interact, share content and post selfies on social networks. A great success, of course. On the other hand, Alberto Seabra Carvalho, Director of Lisbon’s National Museum of Ancient Art, is probably kicking himself after a Brazilian tourist knocked over and seriously damaged an 18th-century wooden statue while trying to take a selfie. Something tells me that there will soon be selfie points in Portugal, too. And what about the Bel paese? No news yet. But we don’t really need selfie points, do we? Who’s better than Italians at respecting rules and observing good manners?