The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Art
Monkey Art Fools Expert — Status: Art hoax Dr. Katja Schneider, director of the State Art Museum in Moritzburg, has been embarrassed by mistaking a painting done by Banghi, a 31-year-old female chimp, for a work by the late Ernst Wilhelm Nay: The director of the State Art Museum of Moritzburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Katja Schneider, suggested the painting was by the Guggenheim Prize-winning artist Ernst Wilhelm Nay. "It looks like an Ernst Wilhelm Nay. He was famous for using such blotches of colour," Dr Schneider…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (18)

Cooling Down With David — Status: Fake Maybe some city really did sponsor the urban art project depicted below. But I doubt it. It definitely looks photoshopped to me. There must be an original David-free version of this picture floating around somewhere. Update: The fountain is real. It's the Crown Fountain designed by artist Jaume Plensa in Chicago's Millennium Park. But the image of David is fake. The Millennium Park website explains: The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a…
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2005.   Comments (8)

The Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare — Status: Art Fake (i.e. it's not Shakespeare) The National Portrait Gallery has reported that the Grafton portrait, long thought to depict Shakespeare as a young man, doesn't depict him at all. They don't know who the guy in the painting is. The portrait apparently served as the inspiration for the portrayal of Shakespeare in the movie Shakespeare in Love. So the Grafton portrait will now join the Flower portrait (revealed to be a nineteenth-century fake earlier this year) in the…
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005.   Comments (10)

MIDI or Virtuoso? — Reverent.org has an interesting quiz that challenges you to tell the difference between music played by a computer and music played by a human virtuoso. Most people will probably find it pretty easy. I, however, scored only 63%. I mistook Rachmaninov for a computer (among other errors).
Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005.   Comments (8)


Holy Grail Found in Da Vinci’s Last Supper — Status: True (in my opinion) Here's a bit of a mystery. I received an email from someone called Prastil who wrote, "Check this hoax out: DaVinciGrail.com." The site he directed me to claims that the holy grail has finally been discovered in Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper. For centuries people have wondered why Da Vinci omitted the grail from his painting, given that the grail is one of the central elements of the Last Supper story. Its absence has spawned a variety of theories,…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (123)

Thieves Steal Fake Paintings — A couple of days ago thieves stole three Edvard Munch paintings from the Hotel Continental in Oslo. But unfortunately for the thieves, all the paintings they stole were fakes. The hotel had the real paintings in a vault. This confirms a pet theory of mine: that most of the time, when you see a famous painting hanging in a museum or gallery, it's a fake. It's simply too risky to hang the priceless originals out in public, either because they could get stolen or damaged. For instance, I'm…
Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2005.   Comments (39)

Senior Ceiling Mural Prank — This is pretty cool. Instead of doing a typical obnoxious prank, a senior class in Vermont painted a celestial mural on the ceiling of the main lobby of the school. Normally the rule with pranks is that, to be judged successful, they should annoy, shock, irritate, or poke fun at someone. But I think that surprising people is just as valid a reaction. And what's more surprising than a random act of art? The class of 2005 painted a large celestial mural on a ceiling in the main lobby of…
Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2005.   Comments (28)

Art Cats — Artists work in all different kinds of mediums. Some work in oil. Others in stone. Dave Powell's medium is cats. He breeds cats and then displays them as art in plastic containers. He tries to breed for mutations such as polydactylism. He seems a little sensitive that people won't think his cat-in-a-box displays qualify as art, but he argues that they are since anything created with 'artistic intent' is art. I actually disagree. I think that art is whatever art critics define as art.…
Posted: Mon May 23, 2005.   Comments (16)

Cave Art: Banksy Strikes Again — The self-proclaimed 'art terrorist' Banksy made headlines back in March for sneaking his own work into various New York art galleries. Now he's done it again. He managed to sneak some faux prehistoric rock art into the British Museum. The rock art depicted a caveman pushing a shopping trolley. It hung in the British Museum for two days before being detected. The British Museum has now loaned the rock art back to Banksy who is displaying it at his own show in London. But they expect to…
Posted: Fri May 20, 2005.   Comments (8)

Trompe l’oeil Murals — Some photos of the mural paintings of Eric Grohe have been doing the rounds. The coolest ones, I think, are the ones where people are standing and looking at the paintings, and you can't quite tell if the people are part of the painting or not.
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (9)

High Heels — More strange images from my inbox. These shoes look like some kind of art project. I don't think it would be possible to walk in them.
Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2005.   Comments (67)

Key Scratch Artist — Mark McGowan is an artist, and his canvas is other people's cars. His paintbrush is a key. He goes around town scratching his 'artwork' on random people's cars. At least, that's what he claimed. Now he's admitted the whole thing is a hoax: An artist who claimed to have vandalised nearly 50 cars in the name of art has admitted it was a stunt. Mark McGowan, 37, said he had taken pictures of himself scratching vehicles' paintwork in Glasgow and London as part of a project. But the London…
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2005.   Comments (10)

Michelangelo’s Laocoon — It's already well known that Michelangelo dabbled in art forgery. That's not disputed. For instance, there's his famous forgery of the Sleeping Cupid. However, Lynn Catterson of Columbia University thinks that a much more high-profile forgery should be attributed to him. She believes that Michelangelo forged The Laocoon, which has long been regarded as one of the most important pieces of ancient Greek sculpture in existence. She points out that Michelangelo was present when The Laocoon…
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (19)

Adventure Art — Some guy (I can't find his name) has put together a huge and fascinating collection of examples of 'adventure art'. Many of the examples he describes are basically elaborate pranks. Some of the stuff is completely insane. Many of the stunts seem to end with the artist's arrest. I haven't had the time to read all of it, but here are a few samples that caught my eye:The Austrian artist group produced "Nellanutella" as part of their contribution for the Venice Biennale. The artists…
Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005.   Comments (31)

The Carlisle Cursing Stone — In 2001 artist Gordon Young placed a block of sculpted granite in Carlisle's Tullie House Museum. The granite is inscribed with an ancient curse against local highwaymen and robbers. But some people in the city feel that ever since the 'cursing stone' was placed there, bad luck has plagued the city. "Livestock herds around the city on the border with Scotland were wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease, there has been a devastating flood, factories have closed, a boy was murdered in a…
Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2005.   Comments (11)

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)

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