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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Art
Fake Road Signs — Fake road signs have been popping up around Frankston, Australia, amusing some and outraging others. The signs are said to be the work of a "mystery artist." From the Frankston Leader: The mystery Frankston signs have been carefully made to look like official road signs. Drivers have reported seeing them in Cranbourne-Frankston Rd, Langwarrin. Some think they are funny while others - and officials - aren't laughing... Although VicRoads' media department thought the signs were "very…
Posted: Wed May 07, 2008.   Comments (3)

Abortion as Art — Yale undergraduate Aliza Shvarts' senior art project has created a little bit of controversy. She has apparently created "a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages." That's just lovely. (Already posted by whoeverur in the forum, but so bizarre it warrants being on the front page.) Shvarts insists that her project was not designed for "shock value."…
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008.   Comments (15)

The Art of Pierre Brassau — I received an email from Maria in Sweden who reports that when her mother recently passed away she became the owner of a painting by Pierre Brassau, the monkey artist. (See the article about Pierre Brassau in the hoaxipedia. To sum up the story: in 1964 a Swedish reporter placed some paintings drawn by a monkey in an art show, claiming they were the work of an avant-garde French artist, Pierre Brassau. After critics praised the paintings, he revealed the hoax.) Apparently Maria's…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (9)

Hitler Draws Disney — First there was the Hitler Diary hoax. Now we may be witnessing the Hitler Disney hoax. William Hakvaag, director of a Norwegian war museum, claims to have found sketches (shown above) of various Disney characters drawn by Adolf Hitler. He says that he found the paintings hidden inside another painting signed "A. Hitler" that he bought at an auction. Hakvaag feels 100% confident that the drawings are authentic Hitlers. The Telegraph reports: Mr Hakvaag, who said he had performed…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (9)


Quick Links: Feb 14, 2008 — Guy convinces girl he's a vampire-werewolf hybrid An unusual, but apparently effective pickup strategy. The guy was later charged with statutory sexual assault since he was 19 and she was 15. To prove to police that he was a genuine vampire/werewolf, he showed them his canine teeth. The police pointed out to him that "all mammals, including humans, have canine teeth." German museum discovers its Monet is a fake The clues: a retraced signature, it was painted over a drawing that was…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008.   Comments (11)

Rogue Taxidermy — Nate Hill describes himself as a rogue taxidermist. He rummages through trash looking for dead animals: fish, dogs, cats, etc. Whatever he finds, he stitches together to form a bizarre new creature. From a recent AP article about him: "I'm totally self-taught," he said. "To put it simply, what I do is cut up the animals, I sew them together in a different way, and then I submerge them in rubbing alcohol to preserve them." He considers himself a member of a loosely defined group of…
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008.   Comments (8)

Is it art or copying? — Cranky Media Guy sent me an interesting link to an article published last December in the New York Times about the artist Richard Prince. He's described as a pioneer of "appropriation art." What this means is that Prince takes photographs of other photographer's photographs, and then displays them as his own. For instance, he had an exhibit at the Guggenheim about cowboys, which basically consisted of photographs of Marlboro ads. The guy who actually took the images for the Marlboro…
Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008.   Comments (26)

Ernst Bettler — Back in 2000 a graphic design magazine called Dot Dot Dot ran an article about a subversive artist from the 1950s called Ernst Bettler. Design Observer summarizes the article's central tale: In the late 1950s, Bettler was asked to design a series of posters to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfäfferli+Huber. Aware of reports that P+H had been involved in testing prisoners in German concentration camps less than 15 years before, he hesitated, and…
Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008.   Comments (4)

Quick Links: Dec. 22, 2007 — MAVAV Strikes Again The State of New York produced an educational video to warn about the dangers of video games. The video includes a list of "resources" parents can visit to learn more, one of which is the website of "Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence." Obviously the state of New York hasn't been reading this website, since we listed MAVAV as a hoax back in 2004. Chuck Norris Sues Chuck Norris is suing the publisher and author of The Truth About Chuck Norris for…
Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2007.   Comments (5)

Three Art Fakes — There seems to be a flurry of art hoaxes in the news recently. Here's three of them: Fake Faun The Art Institute of Chicago has admitted that a half-man, half-goat ceramic figure, once believed to have been sculpted by Paul Gauguin, is probably a fake. Instead, it was probably made by the Greenhalgh family who made the work in their garden shed. Fake Warhol Brillo Boxes Stockholm's National Museum of Art has stated that 105 "Brillo Boxes" attributed to Andy Warhol were actually…
Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007.   Comments (0)

Flower Portrait Controversy — The last time the famous Flower portrait of Shakespeare (the one showing him wearing a wide white collar) made news was back in 2005, when experts at the National Portrait Gallery declared it a fraud painted sometime during the 19th century. Now a German scholar, Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, is arguing that the National Portrait Gallery experts didn't examine the original painting. She believes that sometime in the past ten years someone stole the original Flower portrait and
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007.   Comments (2)

True Art or Fake Quiz — Mikhail Simkin has a "true art, or fake" quiz on his website, reverent.org. It doesn't test your knowledge of art forgery. Instead, it tests whether you can spot the difference between what critics call true art (which will cost you thousands of dollars to buy) and fake art (produced by a non-artist, which will cost you nothing). I got a 58%. Below are two images from the quiz. One is a Mark Rothko masterpiece. The other is Mikhail Simkin non-art. I think they both look nice, and…
Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007.   Comments (14)

Top of Mt. Everest Sawed Off — A Chinese artist, Xu Zhen, claims to have climbed to the top of Mt. Everest, sawed off the top of it, and brought it back to China where he now has it on display in an art gallery. From the gallery's press release: 8848 is the publicly recognized height of the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. Artist Xu Zhen has sawed off 1.86 meters (his height) from the peak of Mt. Everest, and transported the piece to participate in this exhibition. Audiences may not believe that this is real,…
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007.   Comments (10)

Reichenbach’s version of “September Morn” controversy definitely debunked — Two days ago I noted that I had posted an account of the "September Morn" controversy in the hoaxipedia, and I also said that I had my doubts about the role the publicist Harry Reichenbach played in the controversy. Well, I did some more research, and I've now been able to confirm my doubts. Reichenbach was just spinning a wild yarn. Some background: The story (according to Reichenbach) is that back in 1913 he was working at a New York City art dealer who was trying to sell 2000 copies…
Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2007.   Comments (7)

New in the Hoaxipedia: Two articles about paintings — Elliot's newest contribution in the Hoaxipedia is an entry about the career of the art forger Elmer de Hory. And I also posted an article about something from the world of art: September Morn by Paul Chabas. September Morn shows a young naked girl bathing at the edge of a lake. In the early twentieth century it provoked a huge controversy in America about whether nudity should be allowed in public art. The controversy helped make September Morn one of the most famous (and popular)…
Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007.   Comments (6)

The Comforting Machine — This has nothing to do with hoaxes, but I thought it was interesting, so I'm posting about it anyway. Also, it reminded me of the Compliment Machine, which I posted about just a few days ago. I received an email from Jennifer Baumeister, who tells me that she's an artist from Berlin working on a project called Comfort XxL, the comforting machine. Here's a description of it: The comforting machine is an art project by the German artist Jennifer Baumeister. She asks people from…
Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2007.   Comments (5)

New Last Supper Theory — An Italian scholar, Slavisa Pesci, claims to have uncovered new secret images hidden in Da Vinci's Last Supper by superimposing the painting on to its mirror image. When you do this you can supposedly see a woman holding a child, as well as a goblet in front of Jesus. Personally, I can't see anything at all. It all looks like a blurry mess. But Pesci seems to feel that Da Vinci intended for his painting to be viewed this way. He says, "from some of the details you can infer that we are…
Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2007.   Comments (9)

The Compliment Machine — No form of deception is more ubiquitous in modern life than the cheery platitudes we constantly exchange: "How are you?" "Fine!" or "Have a nice day." Washington DC based artist Tom Greaves has created a work of art designed to hold a mirror up to this culture of shallow, saccharine pleasantries. It's the compliment machine -- a red-and-white striped box that sits on a street corner and delivers compliments all day. As pedestrians pass by, it continuously shouts out words of…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2007.   Comments (13)

72 hours to get ready for a date—it’s ART! — Unlike a lot of people, I actually tend to like modern art. I can understand, however, why people think that some of it isn't really art, though. It seems that the way to become an art world sensation is to come up with what more accurately be called a publicity stunt, do it in a gallery, perhaps, call it A*R*T and find a super rich guy like Charles Saatchi (a patron of the modern art world in Great Britain) to pay you an enormous sum of money for whatever physical manifestation of it…
Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007.   Comments (16)

Modern Art or Childs Art — A popular genre of art hoax involves a collector being conned into praising (and often buying) a work of art that he believes to have been done by a great artist, but which is later revealed to be the work of an animal or a young child. (See Monkey Art Fools Expert.) An example of this hoax is reported by Keith Allen in his autobiography, Grow Up. The Telegraph reports: The esteemed theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn was left with a face the colour of a blank canvas after being told the…
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007.   Comments (8)

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