The selfie has claimed another victim, with The New York Times reporting on a careless self-photographer who may have done as much as $200,000 in damage to a Los Angeles art installation. The woman in question got a little too close to a series of podiums set up by British artist Simon Birch (displaying a series of crowns), and managed to knock them over in what ended up looking like a very expensive game of dominoes.
We do need to keep a few caveats in mind here, though. First, while Birch has said the accident was entirely authentic, the Times raises the possibility that the event was staged. And second, that $200,000 figure is presumably based on the sale price of the piece rather than actual, physical damage. (See also: this selfie-gone-wrong in Washington, which was rated at $800,000 in damage despite the fact that it was easily and quickly repaired.)
In any case, Birch didn’t seem especially mad about the damage; according to the Times, the artist said he won’t be encouraging the gallery to put up signs asking people to be careful around his art. “Crowns are fragile things,” Birch said. “They are symbols of power. Perhaps it’s ironic and meaningful that they fell.” (No word on whether he has anything as artistically pithy to say about podiums, too.)
UPDATE, 7/20/2017: Birch has released a lengthy statement on the incident, emphasizing that it was an accident and that he holds no ill will towards the woman who caused it. In fact, he credits social media like the woman’s selfie with making The 14th Factory a success. He says:
The young student, a Chinese girl studying at a local university, was horrified and upset when the pedestals fell. We took down her details but decided not to take action as it was clearly an accident and she is a student. Plus, we are a non-profit so it’s not like we could afford to sue her anyway.
He adds that not all the crowns were damaged in the fall, and while a couple of them are permanently damaged, most are either fine, fixed, or in the process of being fixed now. He concludes, “Oh, and the crowns weren’t insured—we couldn’t afford it but we fixed most of them. Onwards and upwards!”