It’s humouring to think that in the 1400’s Renaissance was the distinct style of art that was attractive to the human population. Nothing says fine art like a naked body and some angel wings. But in todays society almost anything can be interpreted as art, even the naked selfie.
This year Matty Mo, also known as “The Most Famous Artist”, created an exhibition sure to turn heads. During interviews in regards to his ‘Happy Birthday’ exhibition he relayed some information that has really stuck with me through thinking about this weeks topic of selfies. TMFA said that he had learned over the years artists are remembered during different eras due to the use of the tools of their times to tell the stories of their times. This empowers him to use the internet, being a tool of our time, and its social media components like Snapchat to create empowering and thought provoking art.
On Matty’s birthday he sent out a snap to his public account asking his followers to send him “nudies”, this blew up dramatically as he ended up with over 500 naked photos with the caption ‘Happy Birthday’. These selfies came from people all over the world, in many different forms armpits, penises and breasts both male and female types! An art form that is both empowering and controversial was well received by the public with all the art works being sold for upward of $200USD.
Can we compare todays selfie clothed or not to being considered as fine art? Is it really fair to praise artists like Matty whilst we condemn others such as Kim Kardashian, or mothers that upload imagery of breast feeding? One of the most famous Renaissance painters, Giotto, made enormous art advances by representing the human body realistically in cathedrals all around Italy (History.com). So what has changed in the last 500 years? Most of this naked art came from the church! Why can’t we just accept it?
If painting naked bodies was the tool of the time to tell stories of an important period of history then let’s make the selfie ours. Matty’s gallery piece is certainly a reflection of our generation at this time. We are empowered and enabled by our bodies. We fight for freedom in our choice of sexuality and our right to portray it how we want. Snapchat was never intentionally designed to become a platform for selfie sharing, rather a communication tool to share information about events student to student. Instead us as users have enabled it to become a different platform altogether.
Though we perceive snapchat as an app that shares photos that then disappear this is also a reminder that nothing is really gone forever, all our online personas are recorded kilometres away in tiny little data boxes that are accessible. Or in the case of The Most Famous Artists models, still hanging in a gallery in New York City.