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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Art
Batman’s Greatest Boner — A series of scans has appeared on the scans_daily LiveJournal blog, apparently from an early Batman comic (Batman #66). It details a 'boner' made by the Joker, and his subsequent efforts to force Batman 'into a boner'. The word boner is repeated so often that it seems like it has to be a joke, especially when you read lines such as "Gotham City will rue the day it mentioned the word Boner!" Perhaps someone photoshopped the word 'boner' into an issue of Batman. But I don't think so. I…
Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2005.   Comments (49)

Child Art Prodigy, Part 2 — 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…
Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2005.   Comments (40)

Ban On Anime — 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…
Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2005.   Comments (205)

Duke of Wellington Cone Prank — 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…
Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2005.   Comments (11)


Face of Christ in Painting — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005.   Comments (68)

Butt Art — 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.
Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005.   Comments (13)

Abstract Expressionism as CIA Plot — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005.   Comments (15)

Turner Nudes Survived — 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…
Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005.   Comments (0)

Cremaster Fanatic — 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…
Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005.   Comments (2)

Rock Balancing — 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)
Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2004.   Comments (20)

Child Art Prodigy — 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…
Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004.   Comments (16)

Naomi V. Jelish and other Nonexistent Artists — 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…
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2004.   Comments (5)

Rogue Art at the Met — 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…
Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2004.   Comments (0)

Fake Vermeer was the Real Thing — 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.
Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2004.   Comments (0)

Sun Tunnels for Sale — 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.…
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2004.   Comments (0)

Art Forgery — MyStudios.com 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.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003.   Comments (0)

Johann Dieter Wassmann — I've already linked to the website of the art of Johann Dieter Wassmann, but The Age has a full article about this fictitious artist.
Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2003.   Comments (0)

Origami Boulders — Origami Boulder: The Japanese art of folding paper used to make round rocks
Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2003.   Comments (1)

Bleeding Napoleon, The Art of Johann Dieter Wassmann — Check out this site dedicated to the art of Johann Dieter Wassmann, a university lecturer/sewerage engineer/artist who lived and worked in Germany from 1841-1898. It's incredibly elaborate, including his life history and samples of his work. And nowhere on the site does it suggest that the entire thing is a hoax, that Johann Dieter Wassmann never existed. You only find this out if you click on the link at the bottom of the page that says 'Next Show: Melbourne International Arts…
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2003.   Comments (1)

Van Gogh Caught on Film — Dutch filmmakers who claimed to have a roll of film showing Vincent Van Gogh walking by admit it was all a hoax.
Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2003.   Comments (0)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.