Selfie pop-up exhibit makes students a part of the gallery

The selfie pop-up exhibit was a unique and fun experience for students and faculty to pop in and view this new trend that has taken on self-expression and art for students who contributed to the exhibit.

The atmosphere was casual with chatting, a taco bar and indie rock music playing in the background of the art gallery at the Cesar Chavez Student Center as students and faculty arrived to see the the Selfie Portrait Art Gallery on Thursday, April 3. This was the opening reception for the pop-up exhibition that will be in the student center until April 9.

Against the bright white walls, the personal portraits oozed with the self-reflection and egotism of our generation as attendants partook in their own selfie-taking.

 Dante Moreci taking a picture of the wall of selfies at the Art Gallery at SF State on the opening night of the Selfie exhibit Thursday, April 3. Photo by Jenny Sokolova / Xpress

Curators Ines Diot and Carolyn Ho were on hand welcoming students with a polaroid camera for them to take a selfie of themselves to add to the wall. Diot, an art history and women in gender studies major, said the idea came to her while discussing selfie culture with a friend.

After that Ho posted online and in hallways for entries to get the word out for anyone interested in being a part of the exhibition.

A selfie is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” according to Oxford Dictionaries, who added the word to their list in 2013 and named it the word of the year.

In contrast to modeling such a simple idea, the gallery’s exhibit took on many different variations of the selfie. One wall contained photographs from student’s personal cameras, on another wall hung paintings or drawings of selfies by students and on a third wall ran a video of students taking a selfie video, in which a video camera is simply pointed toward ones face.

Miguel Guerrero, an environmental studies major, came out to the exhibit because he works in the student center and has three pieces, both personal and artistic, in the exhibit. Guerrero said he enjoys the installment due to its “fun” nature, and the fact that the idea is relevant to today’s world.

 Jessie Turner takes a picture of Maddy O’Donnell next to her selfie at the Art Gallery at SF State on the opening night of the Selfie exhibit Thursday, April 3. Photo by Jenny Sokolova / Xpress

Selfies can take on an artistic twist instead of the classic “pose and click” in front of the mirror that is seen all across Instagram accounts these days. According to Guerrero, he has a selfie in the exhibit of himself visiting an antique store where his reflection showed through two mirrors. He said he took the selfie because he liked the reflection and the vintage feel to it, as well as his camera being hidden in the photograph.

Putting together the pop-up exhibit was a lot of work because a few artists dropped out last minute, according to Ho. “The staff especially (helped). Andrea Mode, Kevin Umana and I stayed up until 10:30 p.m. the night before preparing the show layout, installation and lighting. (Even) the depot staff were indispensable, five hours before opening,” said Ho.

As the night progressed on, small crowds of students were coming and going enjoying the food and the exhibit of their peers’ artistic and silly selfies on the walls.

Liana Derus, an environmental studies major, said “portraitures (are) in control of portrait in how you want to be presented and empowering not shallow.” She came out because of the flyers she saw in the Student Center and received a Facebook invite.

 Kevin Umana puts a Polaroid on the “selfie wall” at the Art Gallery at SF State on the opening night of the “SELFIE” exhibit Thursday, April 3. Photo by Jenny Sokolova / Xpress

“Everyone is doing it these days,” said Brian Sharber, a communications studies major. In fact, Sharber said that after coming to the exhibit he is motivated to start taking selfies.

Having this pop-up exhibit is about the cultures of students at SF State and how they want to present themselves to the public, according to Diot.

 The trend of selfies doesn’t seem like it’ll be going away. “As long as photos exist, selfies will exist. Portraits (are a) part of art,” said Guerrero.

Because of the mass production of camera phones and webcams, taking a selfie has since become an easy and near second nature task, according to Diot. 

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