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This is Not a Selfie

  • Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street Pasadena, CA, 91103 United States (map)

Please join us for a walkthrough with exhibition co-curator Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, LACMA.

Social media sites, beginning with Flickr as early as 2004 and soon followed by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have helped to popularize the selfie by encouraging users to tag and share their photos online. Ten years later, Ellen DeGeneres caused a frenzy on social media when she tweeted her now legendary 2014 Oscar selfie with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper (who took the picture), and other stars. Shared a staggering two million times, her post became the most retweeted photograph of all time and confirmed the selfie as a ubiquitous form of contemporary self-representation.

Today, millions of selfies—from the funny and self-deprecating to the private and sexually explicit—are shared with friends and strangers around the world. But is the selfie the same as the fine art genre of photographic self-portraiture? How are these two forms of photographic self-expression different? Why is it important to make the distinction between the two practices?

This is Not a Selfie is touring show organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and comprises 65 photographers exploring and expanding the definition of the self-portrait. Ranging from early 19th-century experiments through contemporary digital techniques, the exhibit includes works by Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, Alfred Stieglitz, Lorna Simpson, and Andy Warhol.

Attendance is limited to 20 members.

Image: Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #5, 1977