How to Sneak an Art Exhibit Inside a Museum

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Filed under: Art Pranks, How to Pull Off a Prank, The History of Pranks

From Deceptology


How to sneak an art exhibit inside a museum

This sneaky art prank relied on the optical illusion of
trompe l’oell photographs that were not seen as art.
(Such as a keyhole that was not a keyhole.)

Here’s how artist Harvey Stromberg deceived the Museum of Modern Art, as written in New York Magazine in June 1971:

“With the help of a friend, but with no assistance from the museum, Harvey Stromberg put on his exhibition himself. A New York artist, he describes his work as “photo-sculpture.” To prepare the exhibition, he spent some weeks in the museum, disguised as a student with a notebook under his arm, peering nearsightedly at pictures while at the same time measuring and photographing museum equipment: light switches, locks, air vents, buzzers, segments of the floor and bricks in the garden wall. These photographs he printed actual size, covered the backs with adhesive, and one day he sauntered through the museum adding 300 trompe l’oell photographs (“photosculpture”) of museum equipment to its walls and floors. (The floor pieces were a mistake: “I didn’t realize that when they buffed the floors they would buff them right off.” says Stromberg.)”

Read more here.