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Selfie sculpture as public art inflames selfie-haters

A Texas town installs a sculpture of two girls engaged in the common but sometimes divisive activity of taking a selfie. It's not a sign of the end times, but you wouldn't know it from the reaction.

selfie sculpture
Yea, nay or meh?
Sugar Land Parks and Recreation

I know you're still upset over that time you had to dodge a dozen selfie sticks while walking through Times Square. I get how annoying it is to see random strangers duck-facing at their phones while you're out having dinner. You might stroll along the public plaza in Sugar Land, Texas, and scream in frustration when you see the new sculpture the town just put in. But it's OK. It's art.

The bronze sculpture shows two young women standing together and taking a selfie with a smartphone in front of City Hall. They're stylishly dressed with tall boots. They're smiling. They're happy. The city describes selfie-taking as an activity that is "common in the plaza." If only every selfie-taker were so interested in civics, then Instagram would be filled with shots taken in front of government buildings.

The Internet, that great selfie-enabler, has something to say about this selfie statue. A Twitter user calls it "proof our country has gone to hell." Other users call it "ridiculous" and say it makes them feel "sad" or "embarrassed for everyone." Twitter user goo goo doll shared a photo of the statue covered in strips of tape with words including "naive," "trashy," "shallow" and "rude" written on them.

Not everyone is upset, disappointed or angry about the sculpture. Some people are amused at the thought of future archaeologists discovering this sign of our times. Plenty of smartphone photographers are sharing fun pictures of themselves with the sculpture along with the #selfiestatue hashtag.

The sculpture, which was unveiled at the end of May, didn't just appear out of nowhere like a 3D photo bomb. Two citizen committees approved it and then it got the go-ahead from Sugar Land's city council. The plaza also received a sculpture of a guitar player, which doesn't seem to be attracting any Internet ire, though he may very well be playing a spirited rendition of Rebecca Black's viral but much maligned song "Friday."

The selfie statue is a donation from a group called the Legacy Foundation, an organization committed to establishing "cultural arts amenities" for Sugar Land.

Seen purely as artwork, the sculpture appears to be a well-rendered, life-like bronze. It's actually very polite. It just stands there, out of the way. There's no selfie stick, no uncontrollable giggling or endless Facebook posts. This is our world today and you can't fault a sculptor for wanting to show it or a city for signing on to host it. Long live the selfie sculpture of Sugar Land, Texas.