On Art Museums // Mona Lisa Selfie / by Louis Holstein

In 2016 Ashley and I were herded into New York City's MoMA with what felt like thousands of other people. It was a Friday night. This is an important detail because on Friday nights the MoMA is free. So there we were (with my grandmother as well, but that's another comedic tale for another time) with all the other cheapos. As we wandered through one of my all-time favorite Art Museums, we grew increasingly disturbed by a number of phones out. With each turn of the corner, there were more phones and cameras out. Before long it became apparent that people weren't merely taking pictures of the art, they were taking pictures of the art. They were pictures to document that they were there. They visited the MoMA. "Forget about the art! Just take my picture!"

I was burdened. It was a lesson on how we process art; we don't. Forget about viewing art for the sake of dialogue and gaining a new perspective, let's just take pictures with the art because it's trendy to have your picture taken in an art museum. It says, "I'm cultured." This can also just be a giant lesson of Louis judging others, but after I saw Mona Lisa Selfie I realized I'm not that far off. May it be a lesson to all of us: put down the phone, especially in an art museum. There is so much to gain from these cultural sanctuaries, let's not lose that behind our phones.