In the gallery of Joseph Beuys photographs at Dia:Beacon, I decide to take a selfie. Being around so much art has that effect on me. I sit on the floor in front of one of the many photos on display. They are not hanging on the walls but sitting on the gallery floor.
A young museum guardian immediately spots what I’m up to and comes hurrying my way. She arrives and stands over me, arms akimbo, glaring down, as if this were sufficient transmission.
“Hi there!” I say, then add: “You want to photobomb my selfie?”
“You can’t do that!” she snaps.
“What, no selfies in the museum?” I stand up and dust myself off.
“No! No sitting on the floor!”
“There’s a rule against sitting on the floor? Why?”
“Why? Why?! Because we have benches throughout the museum for that!”
“I didn’t see any benches. Unless you mean the platform for the Richard Serra maquettes.” I jerk my thumb in the direction of another gallery.
“That’s not funny!”
“What if I told you I was a student of Zen?”
“That’s not funny either!” She’s practically shouting now. “There’s no sitting around here! PERIOD!”
Her teaching reminds me of the teaching of my old teacher: “Do not become too interested in Zen.”