Watch a woman wreck $200,000 worth of art while taking selfie

Commentary: An exhibition reviewed as the perfect place to take a selfie sees a disaster unfold in painful slow motion.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The exhibit before the selfie-inspired demolition. 

14th Factory

The advance review tempted fate.

The Los Angeles Times said of the Hypercaine exhibition laid on by Hong Kong-based artist Simon Birch and other international collaborators: "Oh, the selfies you'll make at L.A.'s 14th Factory, where the art is so social."

Perhaps one particular visitor was especially moved by the Times' entreaty.

For, as surveillance footage shows, she went to sit down with her back to one of the pieces, ready for her closeup. 

She seemed to lose her balance momentarily. She leaned back a little too much. Sadly, she leaned into one piece that then created a domino effect that demolished a whole row of the exhibit. 

The crowns that had been perched on pedestals fell to the ground. There's modern symbolism there somewhere, surely.

A spokeswoman for the 14th Factory, where the exhibition was held. told me: "It happened around two weeks ago in a room in our 150,000-square-feet installation in Lincoln Heights."

She said three sculptures were permanently damaged and others to varying degrees. She put the approximate damage cost at $200,000. The 14th Factory wouldn't be drawn on whether the damage was covered by insurance but said the nonprofit wasn't behind the emergence of the video.

The exhibit is only in the organization's temporary space until the end of the month, so the incident might attract some to see if they can successfully take selfies without destroying anything.

This isn't, however, the first time selfie-taking has badly affected art. 

Last year, a man climbed a 126-year-old statue in Lisbon, Portugal. in order to immortalize himself via his cell phone. He brought the statue down with him.

Then there was the painful incident earlier this year when a selfie-taker at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden ended up smashing an artistic pumpkin

Of course we want to ensure that everyone sees where we are at all times of the day and night. It might be worth, though, paying very special attention when you're around valuable things.