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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Art
Child Art Prodigy, Part 2
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Four months ago I posted an entry about Marla Olmstead, a four-year-old child art prodigy whose paintings are selling for thousands of dollars. Tonight I watched a 60 Minutes piece about her, and I've got to say that it was very sad. There seems to be no evidence that Marla is painting these pieces on her own. Her parents claim that she's shy and is unable to paint with anyone but them around (no one but her parents has ever seen her do a painting from start to finish), nor is she able to paint in front of cameras. A hidden camera was installed and what this showed her producing (as her father screamed directions at…
Categories: Art Comments (40)
Ban On Anime
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jan 29, 2005
An email has been going around urging people to sign this petition: To:  George Bush Some people are signing against anime and are calling is to be a "perverse, evil, insiduous form of animation from the dark land of Japan, and is corrupting America's youth at unprecedented rates." Anime is NOT corrupting the youth of America, and since when has America become a country of Christians? Isn't there a SEPARATION of Church and State? Isn't this a ban on our Freedom of Speech? And Freedom of Press? What does anime have to do with brainwashing our youth? Even though I'm not sure what 'signing against anime' is supposed to mean,…
Categories: Art Comments (205)
Duke of Wellington Cone Prank
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 27, 2005
For almost twenty years Glaswegians have enthusiastically upheld a tradition of placing traffic cones on top of a statue of the Duke of Wellington that stands in the city center. You can even buy postcards and t-shirts displaying a cone-wearing Wellington. But now the fun might come to an end on account of art historian Gary Nisbet who claims that the cone prank threatens to seriously damage the 160-year-old statue. He's campaigning to get people who climb up on the statue charged with vandalism. Unfortunately this would make a number of the city councillors vandals. Nisbet's proposal doesn't seem to be going over well…
Categories: Art, Pranks Comments (11)
Face of Christ in Painting
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 17, 2005
I received this email yesterday from an artist requesting my opinion. Feel free to leave your own opinion in the comments: Being an artist, in August of 1996 I painted a picture. It was supposed to be a simple picture of a large cross on a white background. The picture is 24 x 30. The two axis of the cross are 11.5 inches wide. Roughly 28 x 22.5. The cross was made by taking a pallet of mixed colors of paint and with one vertical and one horizontal swipe nothing more. When the paint…
Categories: Art, Religion Comments (68)
Butt Art
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 13, 2005
Stan Murmur has a good thing going. He smears paint on his buttocks, smacks his fanny on a piece of paper, and sells the resulting product for hundreds of dollars. Is it really art? Well, no. It's Butt Art. I think this probably qualifies as something that started out as a bit of a joke, but then somehow turned into a real thing for him.
Categories: Art Comments (13)
Abstract Expressionism as CIA Plot
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 10, 2005
I realize some people feel that Abstract Expressionism needs some kind of an excuse for its existence, but the following purported connection between Abstract Expressionism and the CIA seems just bizarre. It comes from a review of Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War by Frances Stonor Saunders One of the most important and fascinating discussions in Saunders' book is about the fact that CIA and its allies in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) poured vast sums of money into promoting Abstract Expressionist (AE) painting and painters as an antidote to art with a social content. In promoting AE, the CIA fought off the right-wing in Congress. What the CIA…
Categories: Art, Conspiracy Theories Comments (15)
Turner Nudes Survived
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 05, 2005
According to legend all the erotic paintings of the artist JMW Turner were burned in the mid-nineteenth century by the prudish critic John Ruskin. The source of this legend was Ruskin himself, who often boasted that he had burned them to conceal the evidence of Turner's "failure of mind". It turns out Ruskin lied. He couldn't bring himself to burn them. Instead, as researcher Ian Warrell discovered, Ruskin simply misfiled most of the nudes, thereby effectively concealing their existence. Through diligent archival work Warrell realized that "Almost all the hundreds of allegedly missing drawings, which range from close-up detail to blurry colour washes and clearly held a powerful erotic charge for Turner, appear to be safely in the…
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Cremaster Fanatic
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 04, 2005
The artwork of Matthew Barney is highly abstract and conceptual. Even for modern art, it pushes the envelope of weird. For instance, his series of films titled The Cremaster Cycle involves, among other things, "a half-vegetable, half-man creature with a fleet of Jacobin pigeons attached to his gonads." Not exactly the kind of stuff to appeal to a mass audience. And yet he has a fan page, Cremaster Fanatic, similar to the kind of fan pages you find devoted to teen stars such as Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff. But as an article in yesterday's NY Times reveals, the fan site is actually an elaborate deadpan-style joke: Cremaster Fanatic is a fake.…
Categories: Art, Websites Comments (2)
Rock Balancing
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 24, 2004
Bill Dan balances rocks. His balanced rocks look very cool, but I have a hard time believing that they're all just balancing naturally without a little extra help. Actually, he seems quite legitimate... and they're supposed to look like they're defying gravity. That's the whole point. But still. Some of the rocks on his site I look at and say to myself 'there's no way that would possibly stand.' (via j-walk)
Categories: Art Comments (20)
Child Art Prodigy
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 30, 2004
Once upon a time a popular art hoax involved getting critics to praise a work of art, and then revealing that the work was really created by a monkey or a child, thereby proving what poor judgement the critics had. For instance, in the 1960s critics were embarrassed by the cases of Pierre Brassau, the monkey artist, as well as Willie the Painting Worm. But I don't think that kind of hoax would work today because critics seem to be voluntarily lining up to heap praise on works by animals and infants. Paintings by asian elephants are fetching thousands of dollars, and now a 4-year-old girl in New…
Categories: Art Comments (16)
Naomi V. Jelish and other Nonexistent Artists
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 03, 2004
A major new talent can be added to the rollcall of nonexistent artists: Naomi V. Jelish. Naomi is a 13-year-old prodigy. She has a collection of sketches currently on exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London. But Naomi doesn't actually exist. Naomi and her work are the fictional creation of 25-year-old artist Jamie Shovlin (Naomi V. Jelish is an anagram of Jamie Shovlin). Visitors to the exhibit are given no clue that Naomi is fictitious. Other nonexistent artists that I'm aware of are Johann Dieter Wassmann and Pavel Jerdanowitch. (thanks to hollydog in the Hoax Forum for the link)
Categories: Art Comments (5)
Rogue Art at the Met
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 09, 2004
The Met has been displaying the work of a major new artist. Hanging on the wall of its modern art gallery has been a cartoon-style painting of President Bush against a background of shredded dollar bills. A label next to the painting describes it as made out of "acrylic, legal tender and the artist's semen." Charming. Of course, the Met didn't realize it was displaying this work (someone surreptitiously stuck it up on the wall with double-sided tape), but it took them a few days to notice that the rogue painting was hanging there. Three other museums were also unwilling hosts of work by this unknown artist. What I find amusing is the idea of museum visitors standing…
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Fake Vermeer was the Real Thing
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 31, 2004
Once thought to be a fake Vermeer, this painting of a young woman sitting before a keyboard has now been officially reclassified as a real Vermeer. It's going up for sale (the first time a Vermeer has been sold since 1921), so if you've got a couple of million lying around, feel free to make a bid.
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Sun Tunnels for Sale
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 17, 2004
In yet another eBay hoax, Utah's Sun Tunnels were offered for sale a few days ago. In case you haven't heard of them, the Sun Tunnels are a series of large concrete tubes sitting out in the Utah desert. They were designed by the artist Nancy Holt back in the '70s. Unfortunately, the person offering them for sale didn't own them. But that's okay, because no one bid on them anyway, which is a little sad considering that they're pretty cool and were offered for a bargain-basement price. The real owner is the artist Nancy Holt herself.
Categories: Art, eBay Comments (0)
Art Forgery
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 24, 2003 has an interesting History of Art Forgery (via Fiendish Is The Word). Plus, they challenged 20 contemporary artists to create works in the style of past masters, and you can see the results here.
Categories: Art Comments (0)
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