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You Can Now Take Photos at MoMA PS1

by Jillian Steinhauer on October 31, 2013

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Remember when you couldn’t take pictures at MoMA PS1? You’d try to surreptitiously snag a shot of a great artwork, but the guards would catch you, and they’d chide, “no photos.”

Well those days are over! The museum has quietly gone and changed its photo policy.

The new policy allows visitors to take pictures in the galleries, although there are conditions: only small cameras (we’re not entirely sure how this is defined — do they just mean literally small ones?) and cell phones are OK. The new language reads:

Photography is allowed in the museum. Visitors can use small cameras and cellphone cameras. Flash photography, videography, tripods, and photography for professional purposes are not allowed.

Asked why the museum decided to make this change, MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach told Hyperallergic:

Cameras are ubiquitous in daily life because of cell phones and other devices. More pictures are taken than are on display. Today, taking pictures is a participatory way of visiting exhibitions, and we embrace this creative and proactive viewing practice.

So it sounds like the museum is attempting to promote sharing and their presence on social media without losing the ability to manage and control high-quality images. (To their credit, PS1 often deals with artworks that come with strict photography rules themselves.) But as cell phone cameras become increasingly sophisticated, I’m not sure this policy will continue to work the way it’s meant to. It’ll be interesting to see what changes they make next, and how soon. For now, Instagram away.

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