The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Art
Trust him - they’re really there! — Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created "nano sculptures" so small that they can't be seen with the eye. You need a scanning electron microscope to view them. So how do you know the sculptures really exist and that he's not just showing you an image on a screen? You don't. That's why he's titled his works "Trust." In that sense, it's kinda like the old Brazilian Invisible Fish gag. [mnn.com]
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014.   Comments (0)

Artist makes millions selling invisible art — CBC Radio's satirical This is That show recently ran a segment about artist Lana Newstrom, who is supposedly making millions by selling invisible art. The show quotes Newstrom as saying, "Art is about imagination and that is what my work demands of the people interacting with it. You have to imagine a painting or sculpture is in front of you." The show's web page for the segment included a photo of art enthusiasts staring at blank walls in a gallery, apparently admiring Newstrom's paintings and sculptures. The image was actually a doctored version of a photo taken by Adriano… Continue…
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014.   Comments (0)

Van Gogh’s ear on display — The ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany has been displaying a living replica of Van Gogh's ear. It was created by artist Diemut Strebe, working together with scientists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Strebe took cells from one of Van Gogh's descendants and grew them into an ear replica, using a 3-D printer to create the shape. [wsj.com] This recalls Hugh Troy's prank from 1935 in which he molded some dried beef into the shape of an ear, mounted it in a velvet-lined box, and surreptitiously put it up on display in the Museum of Modern Art during an exhibition of Van… Continue…
Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014.   Comments (2)

My First Tattoo — On Tuesday, a sign went up in a shop window in the town of Whitstable alerting residents that Britain's "first tattoo parlour for kids" would soon be opening there. The website for this new business, myfirsttattoo.eu, showed a kid-friendly Hello Kitty tattoo. Surely this can't be happening in Whitstable! It's a joke right! pic.twitter.com/XKvFe36WfT— Deborah Roberts (@robertsontwit) June 3, 2014 Locals were shocked. But the sign was quickly revealed to be a hoax created by artist Sadie Hennessy who told the Daily Mail that, "I'm not doing it to make a fool out of people, I'm just… Continue…
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2014.   Comments (0)


Chicago Minstrel Show Hoax — Chicago news outlets recently received a press release from one "Harry Slater," who claimed to be an AP English teacher and "dean of dramatic and movement arts" at Community High School District 94 in West Chicago. The release said that the school's Glee Club was going to be staging a charity minstrel show in order to "start a conversation about racial representation and stereotypes." Proceeds from the show would be donated to the school's Multicultural Sensitivity Club. But when the…
Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013.   Comments (0)

Bigfoot on the toilet — For the Bigfoot collector who already has everything... but this. Or for someone who has a Bigfoot-themed bathroom. Available on etsy. It comes as a print of an "original oil and digital painting." Though it would be better if it were a velvet painting.
Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013.   Comments (0)

Hyperrealistic iPad portrait of Morgan Freeman — This isn't a photo. It's a painting. Or so claims UK artist Kyle Lambert who says he made it using a fingerpainting iPad app called Procreate. He's posted a video showing the creation of the painting from start to finish. Lambert based the painting on an existing photo (below) of Morgan Freeman. This has led skeptics (of which there are many) to suggest that Lambert simply traced over the photo, which doesn't take a lot of skill. But Lambert denies this. He sent an email to Gizmodo…
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013.   Comments (2)

Kazimir Malevich Rejected — Someone calling himself Michael Mikrivaz (his YouTube username) made charcoal reproductions of works by the early-20th-century Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich (whose art now regularly sells for millions of dollars). He then took these sketches to several art academies, claiming they were his own works, and asked for an opinion on his chances of getting in. Two academies told him that, based on these works, he wouldn't get accepted. This is an example of what I call the
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013.   Comments (0)

Canine Artist Sells Work on eBay — Canine artist "Jack" is selling a work titled "Half-Chewed Cole Haan Wingtip" on eBay. So far bidding has reached $368, with 1 day of bidding remaining. This description is offered of the artist: Jack has been active for some time in the world of artistic defacement popularized by prominent figures such as Banksy. However, only recently have his works received critical acclaim through public notoriety and the rise of social media. He is a two-year-old Dalmatian mix who started his…
Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013.   Comments (0)

Another million-dollar art fraud — Never fails to amaze that there are super-rich people out there willing to shell out millions of dollars for "newly discovered" works by famous artists, even when the providence is so shaky. In this case, they were told the paintings came from an anonymous private collector referred to as "Secret Santa" or "Mr. X." Of course, now the artwork of Pei-Shen Qian, who's alleged to be the actual painter, should go up dramatically in value. Struggling Immigrant Artist Tied to $80 Million New…
Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2013.   Comments (1)

Fake Crystal Skulls — The latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News has an article that reviews the history of how the crystal "Aztec" skulls that began showing up in the mid-19th century were eventually found to be fake. The take home is that the following pieces of evidence led researchers to conclude the skulls were modern forgeries: The skulls didn't come from documented archaeological sites. The skulls' teeth were suspiciously linear and perfect, whereas the teeth in other Aztec art reflected the…
Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2013.   Comments (1)

Miniature Amityville Horror house — Artist Tracey Snelling has created an installation which she calls Last House on the Left. It consists of 4 miniature houses from horror films (The Birds, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the Amityville Horror. It's the Amityville Horror Dutch Colonial that caught my eye. If I ever did have a brick-and-mortar hoax museum, it would make a great addition! Snelling's miniature houses feature sound effects as well as tiny LCDs that play clips from the films when you look through…
Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013.   Comments (0)

Banksy Arrest Hoax — A press release posted yesterday on PRLog.com announced that not only had Banksy been arrested (on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting), but that his identity had been revealed—his real name supposedly being "Paul William Horner." The press release was a hoax, but a number of media outlets ran with the story before cottoning on to the deception. A humor site, IYWIB.com, appears to be behind the hoax. How a Fake Press Release Convinced the Internet Banksy…
Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013.   Comments (3)

The Fake Beggar of Gothenburg — Over in Gothenburg, Sweden, locals were puzzled by a homeless person begging for money at the train station, who, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a doll. Police thought it might be some kind of fraud (i.e. a homeless people using a mannequin to beg for him). But it turned out to be the work of a 13-year-old kid, Adam, who created it as "something fun" for a school art project. Brings to mind Alan Abel's Omar the Beggar hoax. The english-language article didn't have a picture…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013.   Comments (0)

Are the Bush bathroom paintings a hoax? — A week ago, news broke that a hacker (calling himself 'Guccifer') had broken into George W. Bush's email account. The hacker sent some of the emails and photos he found there to the Smoking Gun, which promptly published them. Three of the leaked photos showed works of art, apparently by Bush. Two of the works were self-portraits in the bathroom — Bush taking a shower and a bath. The third showed Bush working on a more traditional scene of a seaside chapel. It's the bathroom…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2013.   Comments (0)

A Case of Art Plagiarism — Art fraud typically involves the copying or imitation of famous artists. For instance, Han van Meegeren made millions by claiming that his paintings were actually newly discovered works by Vermeer. But the recent case of Rashidi Barrett shows that it's also possible to make money by copying the work of relatively obscure artists. Rashidi Barrett (image posted on his website) Barrett's work generated positive buzz when he began showing it in Norfolk, Virginia around 2011. He used his…
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013.   Comments (2)

An Exhibition of Invisible Art — London's Hayward Gallery will soon be hosting an exhibition of invisible art. It's the kind of art where you basically have to take the artist's word for it that there's something there. Included will be works such as Warhol's Invisible Sculpture, "which consists of an empty plinth, on which he had once briefly stepped." Also, 1000 Hours of Staring, which is "a blank piece of paper at which artist Tom Friedman has stared repeatedly over the space of five years." I wonder how…
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012.   Comments (4)

“Why Boys Need Parents!” Is this a photograph or a painting? — This image (which appears on a lot of humor and weird picture sites around the web) is often captioned, "Why boys need parents." And try as I might, that's the only information I can find out about it. Where it came from and who created it, I have no idea. I'm not even sure whether this is a photograph or a painting, though I suspect it's a painting. The low resolution makes it difficult to tell, and I can't find any higher-res copies. It's the boy's legs, in particular, that make me…
Posted: Mon May 07, 2012.   Comments (2)

Canadian artist makes Bigfoot track shoes — Montreal-based artist Maskull Lasserre has designed shoes that make footprints in the ground as you walk along, instead of shoe prints. He's got a human-footprint shoe, but also a bigfoot-print shoe. He's quoted as saying: 'Living now in the city, I found a strange kind of loneliness seeing only human shoe prints in the puddles and snow. 'This project was my way of introducing a sort of mysterious possibility to the urban landscape, for those who happened upon it. 'But I admit that I…
Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012.   Comments (0)

How a fake Mary Todd Lincoln portrait was exposed — The Chicago Tribune tells the story of the detective work conducted by conservator Barry Bauman that led to his exposure of a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln as a fraud. Lincoln (and, by association, his wife) is one of those historical figures who's like a magnet for hoaxes. Other hoax magnets would include George Washington and Hitler. Anatomy of a fake Lincoln Chicago Tribune ...The original portrait, painted perhaps in the mid-1860s, is of a still-anonymous woman. She wore a crucifix…
Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012.   Comments (1)

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