Hoax Museum Blog: Art

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: Wed Aug 01, 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)

Best of the Forum – 15th June 07 — Artist fools punters into buying tins of cheap plaster… (David B.) Tins of Italian artist Piero Manzoni’s excrement, sold as art to collectors for thousands of pounds, have been in the news recently, as it seems that they may contain nothing more than plaster. A spokeswoman at the Tate museum in London insisted that the revelation did not invalidate the tin as a work of art. “Keeping the viewer in suspense is part of the work’s subversive humour,” she said. The world’s most famous…
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007.   Comments (2)

Quick Links: Honesty, Graffiti, Hindu Goddess, and Mozart — Brits flunk honesty test A credit-card protection firm, Affinion International, conducted an experiment in which they left items such as mobile phones, key, and wallets in city centres (Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, and Manchester). All the items were clearly marked with the owner's contact number, but most were never returned. Not surprising. Obscene messages end graffiti experiment Officials in Louisville tried to give graffiti artists a legal place to practice their…
Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2007.   Comments (5)

Giant Italian Skeleton — The photos show a giant skeleton lying on display in a town square, recalling that photo of a giant skeleton supposedly unearthed in Saudi Arabia that circulated around a few years ago. (It was actually an image from a Worth1000 photoshop contest.) In this case, the giant skeleton is not a product of photoshop. It's a real skeleton, in the sense that it's something that one can really go and see. However, it's not real in the sense of being an actual archeological artifact. It's a…
Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007.   Comments (2)

Dead Fairy — This website shows a ‘dead fairy’, along with the story of how it was found in the Derbyshire countryside. It claims that the police and a local ‘paranormal expert’ had examined the fairy, and that the barrow it was found in contained over 20 bodies. The site also features an update posted on April 1st, which explains that no, it is not a real fairy, and that it is a piece of art. According to one of the people who wrote to us about this story, some people refuse to believe it’s not…
Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2007.   Comments (14)

Havidol — Havidol.com is a pharmaceutical website touting a solution to Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD). Havidol (avafynetyme HCI) comes in both tablet and suppository form, and should be taken indefinitely. The site is very well made and, frankly, looks more professional than some legitimate websites. Whilst the names of the drug are the first sign that this site shouldn't be taken seriously, there are other signs scattered throughout the site. For…
Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007.   Comments (6)

Computer Programme Debunks Pianist — English pianist Joyce Hatto had risen to some prominence over the year preceding her death. Whilst she never played in public, recordings of her performances of works by artists such as Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninov and Dukas, produced by her husband from a private studio, had her hailed as an unknown genius. However, an iTunes programme that compares recordings with an online database has thrown her abilities into doubt. A critic for the classical music magazine Gramophone was…
Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007.   Comments (10)

Quick Links: Statue of Jesus Shoots Sparks, etc. — Statue of Jesus Shoots Sparks Visitors to the Liverpool Academy of Art have claimed that a sculpture of Jesus has shot sparks from its eyes. 'Cleansing of the Temple' by Brian Burgess is a steel and bronze statue. Some visitors have also apparently gone into a trance whilst kneeling at the base of the sculpture. The artist says: "I worked on the piece for about a year but I never saw any sparks apart from those coming from the welding torch." Forum thread here. (Thanks, Madmouse.)
Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007.   Comments (7)

Quick Links: Holy Spatula, etc. — Holy Spatula A spatula used to flip a pancake that supposedly had the image of Jesus on it is now up for sale on ebay. The pancake itself was eaten. The seller says: ”Look closely at the middle photo, and you can see that it bears some mysterious symbols, possibly some kind of sacred message. I'm no religious scholar, but I'm sure this had some kind of spiritual significance.” Art as Prank A ‘Your Ad Here’ illuminated sign on the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles proved to be the…
Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007.   Comments (13)

Quick Links: Pac-Man Hits the Road, etc. — Pac-Man Hits The Road Wright County sheriff Gary Miller was amused to see that, where Highway 55 has painted ovals on the road to show drivers how far apart they should be, some anonymous artist had added a Pac-Man. Man Made to Wear 'I AM A LIAR' Sign Having lied to the police about having been abducted, Craig Breuwet was made to walk up and down a busy street wearing a sign stating 'I AM A LIAR', rather than facing trial. Fake $1,000 Water Bills A suburban NY village, frustrated at…
Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006.   Comments (6)

Underwater Basket Weaving — I can't remember why I searched for "Underwater Basket Weaving" on wikipedia, but when I did I was surprised to discover that it's a real craft. I had frequently heard the phrase used in college as a joke to mean an easy class, and it always made me imagine people submerged in a swimming pool trying to weave a basket. I never thought it was something real. But turns out it is real. Wikipedia defines it as: a process of making wicker baskets which involves dipping reeds or stalks of…
Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006.   Comments (25)

Elevator Illusion — The floor of this elevator, in Taiwan, is painted to look as if there is no floor, just the lift shaft. As someone who's terrified of heights, I would need to be crowbarred into this lift. There's not a chance of me voluntarily travelling in it - it would freak me out too much. Yes, I'm a wuss. (Thanks, Charybdis.)
Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2006.   Comments (22)

Quick Links: Banyan Tree Gets Police Protection, etc. — Banyan Tree Gets Police Protection A century-old banyan tree in Jakarta has been given police protection after a group of youths attacked it to prove it had no mystical powers. Parents Kidnap Bride-To-Be The day before her wedding, Julianna Redd's parents told her they were taking her on a shopping trip. Instead, they drove her 240 miles to Colorado and held her there until after the wedding was supposed to take place. 3D Studies of the Mona Lisa New 3D studies of the Mona Lisa have…
Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Itsy Bitsy Imposter, etc. — Itsy Bitsy Imposter Paul Vance, co-writer of the song 'Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini' was slightly startled to read his own obituary - the result of an imposter. Robot Art Goes On Display A Portugese artist has devised a robot that creates its own paintings. Teddy Bear Causes 2,500 Trout Deaths A teddy bear that fell into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain, and suffocated a large number of trout in New Hampshire. A written…
Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006.   Comments (15)

Microscopic Art — Alex from Colombia forwarded me these pictures of microscopic art. The pictures come with this caption: Willard is a resident of Birmingham, England. The show is in Manchester. He has a learning disability, Dyslexia, but has talented hands. He makes the sculptures out of dust particles, sugar crystals, etc. He works only around midnight, and can do some of the work only between heartbeats. Yes, it's all true. The artist's full name is Willard Wigan. You can check out his website.
Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006.   Comments (17)

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