Q

Do 'gallery selfies' ruin the experience of museums?

Q talks to 2 bloggers on whether photo-taking should be allowed in art galleries.

In light of London's National Gallery changing its rules to allow visitors to take photographs inside its walls, Q asks whether photo-taking should be allowed in art galleries. Does taking selfies -- such as the one Beyonce and Jay Z recently took in front of the Mona Lisa -- compromise the purpose of museums?

Jian talks to blogger Michael Savage, author of Grumpy Art Historian, who says that the National Gallery's policy change is "really a terrible shame."

Savage says that the rise of people snapping photos of themselves in galleries has affected the way people engage and appreciate works of art. In particular, he argues that people have moved away from getting outside themselves to experience the highs of human culture to focusing inwards.

"It doesn't become about, 'Hey, look at this Rembrandt.' It becomes, 'Hey, look at me with this Rembrandt,'" he says. "'Look at this Rembrandt as sort of a wallpaper in the background, so that I can show that I've been there.' But it's taking away the experience of looking and engaging."

John Wyver, author of the arts media blog Illuminations, disagrees. He says that art belongs to taxpayers and that they should be able to use it as they wish.
 
"The paintings in those galleries belong to us, they're part of the nation's heritage," he says. "We own them and we ought to be able to look at them for free and use them in all sorts of ways -- and taking photographs of the is absolutely part of the rights that we should have."

To selfie or not to selfie: Do you think that people should be able to take selfies in art galleries? Have you taken one? Do you think it ruins the experience? 

Here's the Mona Lisa selfie Jay Z posted on his Instagram account two weeks ago: 

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