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The self-portrait used to be a big deal. You had to be capable of some artistic expression, be it painting or drawing or photography, in order to pull one off. But in the digital age, everything has been democratized — especially the selfie. Fire up the cell phone, stick your arm out, pucker up a duck face, throw the gang sign with your other hand and you're done. Don't like how it turned out? Go ahead and fire off a score more, post 'em all on Instagram and let your friends choose the best. But does a trace of artistic expression still lurk behind the simple vanity and convenience? That's what Selfie STL intends to find out. Philip Hitchcock of PHD Gallery invited 50 prominent St. Louisans to knock off a selfie and send it to him for exhibition purposes. There were no limits placed on their entries, other than that the image be taken by cell phone (or at least look like it was). Respondents include gallery owner/artist Philip Slein, Charles Bryson (director of the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency), photographer Emily Stremming and drag queen Eva Destruction. Selfie STL opens with a free reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at PHD Gallery (2300 Cherokee Street; 314-664-6644 or www.phdstl.com). The show remains up through Saturday, July 19, and the gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Thursdays-Sundays, 12-4 p.m. Starts: June 8. Continues through July 19, 2014

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