Selfie-Takers are Causing ‘Untold Damage’ to Priceless Art in Galleries

selfies damage art galleries selfie-takers art

Selfie-taking visitors are causing untold damage to priceless art in galleries, according to a new report.

In an article from ArtNet, specialist insurer Hiscox claims that selfie-takers have become a threat to paintings, objects, and installations in prominent art institutions across the globe.

ArtNet reports that around 50% of Hiscox’s art underwriting is attributed to accidental damage being done to art in museums — and a startlingly large percentage of that is unintentionally caused by selfie-talkers.

The specialist art insurer says there is a trend of selfie-taking visitors in museums damaging valuable artwork by walking backward into them.

The publications describes how fine art is “vulnerable to the touch of a fingerprint,” let alone a physical “bumper-to-bumper” encounter with humans.

As ArtNet notes, Hiscox is bound to gain more business from the rise of accidental damage incurred to paintings, objects, and art installations by self-takers.

However, precious art must endure so that it can be seen by generations to come.

‘A Pandemic of Selfies’

Hiscox’s head of art and private clients Robert Read tells ArtNet that this phenomenon which he calls “a pandemic of selfies” is being felt across museums and art institutions across the world.

In 2017, a woman shooting a selfie lost her balance at an art exhibition in Los Angeles. The incident caused a reported $200,000 worth of damage to the artworks and three of the sculptures were permanently damaged

The woman was visiting The 14th Factory, a collaborative art experience organized by the Hong Kong-based British artist Simon Birch.

In a 35-second surveillance video, the woman can be seen preparing to shoot her selfie with the artwork. The woman loses her balance and falls backwards into the sculpture.

The woman’s fall causes a domino effect which damages several other sculptures in its wake.

In 2015. when the selfie stick craze swept the nation, major museums across the U.S. reacted by banning the device in order to protect both visitors and artworks. These included prominent institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and The Smithsonian.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.