Kazimir Malevich Rejected

Someone calling himself Michael Mikrivaz (his YouTube username) made charcoal reproductions of works by the early-20th-century Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich (whose art now regularly sells for millions of dollars). He then took these sketches to several art academies, claiming they were his own works, and asked for an opinion on his chances of getting in.

Two academies told him that, based on these works, he wouldn't get accepted.

This is an example of what I call the "Spurious Submission" type of hoax. (I've been trying to think of a better term for it for a long time, but nothing has occurred to me.)

The idea is to discredit some gatekeeper of the art or literary world by demonstrating their poor judgement. So the hoaxer takes an acknowledged masterpiece, disguises it a bit, and then submits it to a critic for evaluation. Typically the critic will fall directly into the trap, dismissing the masterpiece as amateurish.

The earliest example of this type of hoax that I've found dates back to circa 1892, when a hoaxer sent disguised copies of a work by John Milton to publishers, most of whom rejected it.

The most famous example occurred in 1982 when Chuck Ross retyped the script of Casablanca, changed its title to "Everybody Comes to Rick's," and submitted it to movie agents as a script supposedly by an unknown writer, "Erik Demos." The majority of the agents promptly rejected it.


Posted on Wed Nov 27, 2013

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