The Prank as Art
Filed under: Creative Activism, Definitions, Media Literacy, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?
Filed under: The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art
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Filed under: The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art
Spoiler alert! According to author John Reed, Joey Skaggs’ Metamorphosis: Cockroach Vitamin Pill hoax headlines the Golden Age…
The Golden Age of the Cockroach
by John Reed
February 6, 2013
Every era in art has a new favored subject. The Etruscans looked to Hercules; painters of the Renaissance reenvisioned the Bible; the American Ashcan School rendered sensitive tableaus of poor urban life; and the later half of the 20th century, dominated by the PoMo-ism of downtown NYC, crowned a new king, the cockroach, which was not only an available resource, but a stand-in for the artist—a heroic outcast, thriving in the ruins of civilization.
The oeuvre of the cockroach is best understood as a series of distinct ages that, in turn, comprise a whole. During the Reformation, the cockroach was reconsidered; the Enlightenment percieved the cockroach as potentially “divine”; the Golden Age saw the pinnacle of the discipline; the Silver Age was consumed by celebrity; the Bronze Age refigured the subject as metaphor and victim; the Age of Decline represented the subject in absentia and/or in parts. As far as I can tell, no one has completed, or even attempted, to survey the cockroach’s place in the art world, so consider this seven-part piece that examines an artistic era that scuttled by so quickly, hardly anyone even noticed it. (more…)
Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Challenges, The Prank as Art
For Ai Weiwei, Politics And Arts Always Mix
by NPR Staff
July 25, 2012
Listen to this Story on All Things Considered [7 min 49 sec]
Last week, a Chinese court rejected artist Ai Weiwei’s lawsuit against the tax bureau that had imposed a massive fine on his company.
This marks yet another political struggle for Ai, who is famous abroad for his art and has emerged as a leading Chinese dissident, a voice for individual freedom. A year after being released, Ai is still monitored heavily by officials, although he uses his Twitter feed to continue criticizing China’s government.
Filmmaker Alison Klayman was an intern on NPR’s All Things Considered before she left for China, where she wound up chronicling Ai on video. The result is a documentary — her first film — called Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, part of which chronicles Ai’s crusade to seek justice for an alleged police beating.
Filed under: Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art
The Artiness of Naughtiness
April 1, 2011
Produced by Rob Alexander and hosted by Toby Amies, this 30:00 radio show is now available here for listening.
There are pranksters who have been determined to show us our folly all year round and most have philosophical, political and artistic reason to do so… Toby investigates this reasoning behind pranking – discovering why people will risk consequences as serious as prison to make a point or get a laugh. Sometime the motivation behind a prank is not always only a good laugh at someone else’s expense. It can be a very serious business.
Filed under: Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?
Update, April 3, 2011: You can now listen to this 30:00 radio show here.
The art of the perfect prank
by Toby Amies
BBC News Magazine
30 March 2011
As April Fools jokers hatch their plans, what’s the secret to a perfect prank, asks broadcaster Toby Amies. And how far do the very best tricksters go in preparing their practical jokes?
How far would you go to pull off a prank? The dole queue? In 1987, a young British broadcaster called Chris Morris let off helium into the BBC Bristol studio, causing the newsreader’s stories to reach a higher and higher pitch. Chris lost his job. And started his career in satire.
Would you risk prison? Pranks are often protests, against unfairness or authority or reality. And protest is increasingly risky in the 21st Century.
As the film director Billy Wilder said: “If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you.”
Whether personal or public, the prank has a point to make, but if you’re planning on tricking someone, it’s best to ensure everyone gets the joke. (more…)
Filed under: Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, The Prank as Art
Update, April 3, 2011: You can now listen to this 30:00 radio show here on Joey Skaggs’ website.
This radio show, produced by Rob Alexander, hosted by Toby Amies and featuring Joey Skaggs, among others, aired on BBC Radio Friday, April 1 at 11:30 a.m. UK time. You can listen to it on the BBC Radio site until April 7, 2011.
Friday 1 April, 2011 at 11:30am on BBC Radio 4
Toby Amies discovers how tricksters have turned the poking of fun into an art form.
What have Jonathon Swift, Orson Welles, Marcel Duchamp, Yoko Ono, Malcolm Mclaren, Jeremy Beadle, and Sacha Baron Cohen got in common? Toby Amies discovers how tricksters and pranksters have turned the poking of fun into an art form.
Pranking is such a part of society, we’ve got a specially sanctioned day of misrule in the calendar. Mark Twain described the 1st of April as “the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year”. But for some people April Fool’s day is just not enough; generally opposed to the status quo, they are determined to alter our relationship with reality by forcing us to question its veracity.
There are pranksters who have been determined to show us our folly all year round and most have philosophical, political and artistic reason to do so.
Toby investigates this reasoning behind pranking – discovering why people will risk consequences as serious as prison to make a point or get a laugh. Sometime the motivation behind a prank is not always only a good laugh at someone else’s expense. It can be a very serious business.
Toby draws a wobbly line from the court jester to the hoaxes of Swift and Welles to Yves Klein to the playful Marxism[!] of Debord and the Situationsists, through to the commercial modern pranking industry and the work of Sacha Baron Cohen, Improv Everywhere, Jeremy Beadle and America’s king of the prank, Joey Skaggs.
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, The Prank as Art
Filed under: Creative Activism, Pranksters, The Prank as Art
Tobias Wong, Witty Designer and Conceptual Artist, Dies at 35
by William Grimes
June 2, 2010
Tobias Wong, a designer whose outrageous sendups of luxury goods and witty expropriation of work by other designers blurred the line between conceptual art and design, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 35.
The office of the chief medical examiner in Manhattan ruled the death a suicide.
Mr. Wong first came to the attention of the design press in 2001 when he turned a Philippe Starck Bubble Club chair into a lamp, softly glowing from within. Adding spice to the stunt, “This Is a Lamp” was shown the night before the actual Starck chair was presented to the public for the first time.
A provocateur by nature, Mr. Wong operated at the fringes of the traditional design world, creating objects like a stack of 100 $1 bills, bound in peelable glue like a notepad; a gold-plated McDonalds coffee stirrer (a riff on the company’s plastic version that was apparently popular among drug users before being withdrawn); and an engagement ring with the diamond mounted upside down, so that the wearer could use it to scratch graffiti.
“As time went on his work became more and more ironic, sarcastic and pointed,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture and Design. “He had an enfant terrible style of design that was very fresh in New York. Today you see all sorts of people doing conceptual design, but he was one of the first.” (more…)
Filed under: The Prank as Art
Readers can now follow The Art of the Prank blog on Facebook. Comments are welcome there.
Filed under: Pranksters, The Future of Pranks, The Prank as Art
Jumping the Snark
by Dave Gilson
In an age of Yes Men, flash mobs, birthers, and fake pundits, is the prank dead?
What’s a good prank worth? How about $2 billion? That’s how much Dow Chemical’s stock value dipped in just 23 minutes on the morning of December 3, 2004, after its spokesman went on the BBC to announce that the company would make amends for the 1984 Bhopal toxic-gas disaster “simply because it’s the right thing to do.” (Dow had acquired Union Carbide, the original owner of the Bhopal chemical plant, in 1999.) Within the hour, the flack was exposed as one of the Yes Men, a duo that’s spent the past decade perfecting the art of anti-corporate trickery. The feat cemented their reputation as the world’s preeminent political pranksters (a reputation they recently reaffirmed by pranking the US Chamber of Commerce). It also proved that a punch line can occasionally pack a real punch.
The Bhopal stunt kicks off the pair’s new film, The Yes Men Fix the World, the follow-up to their self-titled 2004 movie. But don’t let the puffed-up title fool you into thinking that the Yes Men believe their hijinks are actually making the world a better place. A better title would have been The Prank Is Dead. (more…)
Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, The Prank as Art
Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture
National Portrait Gallery
March 27 – August 2, 2009
Washington, DC – This groundbreaking exhibition casts new light upon Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), one of the most influential artists of the recent past. This show demonstrates that Duchamp harnessed the power of portraiture and self-portraiture both to secure his reputation as an iconoclast and to establish himself as a major figure in the artworld. (more…)
Filed under: All About Pranks, The Future of Pranks, The Prank as Art
The Art of the Prank Blog
will be two years old!
Note to our contributors, friends and fans:
In celebration, we have moved the entire blog to a cloud server. This will help us accommodate more volume and more traffic. Since we’re making big changes, we decided to change our Web address at the same time. Why not cause the maximum confusion for the most people?
(instead of http://Pranks.com)
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You can continue to count on us to bring you the profound, the profane, and the pathetic, that is — the widest spectrum of artful pranks; culture jamming & reality hacking; creative activism; literary, media & political hoaxes; truth that’s stranger than fiction; prank instructionals; and loads of practical jokes and mischief.
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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, The Prank as Art
A Meeting of Art and Scholarship
Fri–Sun, November 21–23, 2008
Symposium at the ZKM Lecture Hall
from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Every religion, political ideology, philosophy, and scientific theory embodies a set of structured beliefs. These belief systems maintain a symbiotic liaison with the arts. Throughout history, communal beliefs have relied on music, theater, painting, and dance in order to propagate accepted doctrines, and the arts in turn have shaped the articles of faith.
The conference brings together artists and scholars in an unusual forum. The arts addressed deal primarily with media, the major art form that has only come to the fore in recent decades. The scholarship concerns antique matters, such as Sumerian music, early Egyptian medicine, and the omens, codes of law, and creation myths of Mesopotamia. The divergent perspectives of the participants augur well for innovative ideas emerging from this close encounter between scholarship, the arts, and the belief systems of early and modern times.
Participants: Mel Alexenberg / Netanel Anor / Michael Bielicky / Bazon Brock / Yiyi Chen / Michael Cohn / Brian Dillon / Dragan Espenschied / Dmitry Gutov / Jenia Gutova / Wayne Horowitz / Th. J. H. Krispijn / Bo Lawergren / Olia Lialina / Barbara London / Naomi May / Luke Murphy / Muzaffer Ozgules / Marcin Ramocki / Morty Schiff / Irene Sibbing / Joey Skaggs / Peter Weibel / Martin Williams / Jocelyn Wolff / Henry Zemel
Presented by Caeno.org/newagain