Art Pranks

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The Legendary Hollyweed Sign

Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

Los Angeles has an obnoxious habit of neglectfully erasing its own history. Before Hugh Hefner helped restore it in 1978, the city’s iconic Hollywood Sign had fallen into disrepair. It was during this low point that a few tenacious pranksters (and recreational drug enthusiasts) decided to temporarily alter it.

In the words of redditor bmwnut, “I do wonder where they put a 45 foot letter on which to practice.”

“In 1976, pot-head pranksters made ‘HOLLYWEED’ out of the iconic Hollywood sign”
By Rusty Blazenhoff
Dangerous Minds
February 27, 2015

On January 1, 1976, Tinseltown’s iconic sign read “Hollyweed” after art student Danny Finegood and 3 of his college pals used $50 worth of dark fabric to transform the famous Hollywood landmark temporarily. They had practiced it first on a scale model Finegood had crafted.Hollyweed

It was more than a simple practical joke, Finegood considered it a statement on the relaxed California marijuana law that went into effect that day.

Read more here.

What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts

Sal Cataldi, founder and president of Cataldi PR, reminisces for MediaBistro about early influences on his impressionable brain…

What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!
by Sal Cataldi
Media Bistro
August 25, 2014

What makes you want to be what you want to be when you grow up?

Joey Skaggs (right) in his Celebrity Sperm Bank hoax, 1976

Like many a person with eclectic interests (writing, music, art, travel and, yes, cash) and the fuzzy liberal arts degree to prove it, I ventured off into the world of periadulthood with nary a clue as to what I would do to house and feed myself, much less the wonderful children I would be fortunate enough to have.

My professional calling didn’t arrive until my late mid-20s, after a few years spent bumming around the animation and video businesses, playing in rock bands and writing record reviews for freebie vinyl. That’s when I stumbled into the broad world that goes by the narrow moniker of “public relations.” Read the rest of this article here.

Art Car: Collaboration in Chalk

Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Philip Romano invites bystanders to create art on his car:

“The Artmobile”
by Dan Lewis
Now I Know
August 18, 2014

“The license plate tells 90% of the story. It reads ‘DRAWONME.’ The other 10%? That’s alluded to by the three or four pieces of sidewalk chalk left on the roof of the car — by no means a coincidence.


“The car is owned by a 20-something Westchester resident named Philip Romano. He coated his 2004 Hyundai Elantra with chalkboard paint and then drove it around to strategic locations, making sure to provide the utensils of not-quite-graffiti. In the summer of 2013, for example, he parked it in front of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see if true art enthusiasts would take the license plate literally. It proved popular – one report claimed that the line went ‘around the block.'” Read more here.

image: DRAWONME Tumblr

Statue Selfies: If Marble Could Tweet

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Reddit user Jazus ur lookin well starts new selfie trend:




Sneak Peek at Burning Man ’14

Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism

What’s the fourth most populated city in Nevada?

It depends on when you ask. Number one is Vegas, followed by Reno and Carson City. There’s a long drop to number four, which, for one week each summer, is Black Rock City, home of the famous, infamous, otherworldly festival Burning Man.

The gathering is known for mammoth, eye-catching public artworks. HuffPo provides an exclusive sneak preview of the wonders in store this August 25th.

Hayam Sun Temple by Josh Haywood

Hayam Sun Temple by Josh Haywood


Sculpture of two figures embracing by Matt Schultz

Sculpture of two figures embracing by Matt Schultz


Squared by Charles Gadeken

Squared by Charles Gadeken

Clet Abraham Graffiti Artist

Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Tim Jackson: The artist Clet Abraham has a innovative approach to graffiti – apparently not legal.

Watch the video:

via Travel Junkies

Banksy’s Parting Gift

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Parody

Banksy’s Nazi-Doctored Painting Raises $615,000 Online
by Katya Kazakina
November 1, 2013

Banksy Banality.425

A whimsical painting by elusive British artist Banksy sold for $615,000 at on online auction yesterday.

Housing Works, which provides support for homeless patients living with HIV/AIDS, said it received the painting around 11 a.m. Tuesday, when a woman walked into its thrift shop near Gramercy Park to drop off what was then an anonymous donation.

“She said the painting is worth a lot of money and that someone will contact us about it,” said Rebecca Edmondson, director of public relations at Housing Works. (more…)

Fake Banksy Art Sells to Fake Art Collectors

Filed under: Art Pranks, Parody

From Marcy LaViollette:

Artist Holds Fake Banksy sale, Sells Out in an Hour
by Andy Cush
October 21, 2013

Banky’s Central Park art sale presented an unusual opportunity: works of art worth thousands of dollars, on sale to the public for $60 a pop. For those of us who didn’t get in on the action (the sale was unannounced and only eight paintings sold), watching the action play out on YouTube was positively maddening. It was tempting to go out and look for more even though the artist explicitly stated the stunt was a one-off.

That’s where artists Dave Cicirelli and Lance Pilgrim came in. A week after Banksy’s fire sale, Cicirelli and a group of collaborators took to the street, setting up a nearly identical stand in the same location and selling “fake Banksys” –imitation works of art that were explicitly labeled as such–also for $60 each. Forty of the bogus works, which even came with notarized “certificates of inauthenticity,” sold out in an hour.

“We wouldn’t have sold any, if not for the media hype around Banksy,” Cicirelli told ANIMAL. “That was kind of the point—we wanted to complete his statement about the nature of hype and the value of art. Banksy’s stunts have created a haze of uncertainty around everything, and we created ‘Fake Banksy’ within that haze.”

Cicirelli is no stranger to stunts like these: in September, he published a book about using Facebook to fictionalize his own life, and he says he’ll invest the money the team netted into upcoming projects.

“Also,” he adds, “I’m buying a Banksy.”

Related Link:

  • Cicirelli Fake “Walk-about” Plays Out On Facebook
  • Banksy Keeps on Trucking

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

    Some recent highlights from

    October 22, Queens:

    No turn unstoned. A 1/36 scale replica of the great Sphinx of Giza made from smashed cinderblocks. You’re advised not to drink the replica Arab spring water.


    October 20, Upper West Side:



    Kraken Rum Edible Autopsy

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Parody

    Eating a marzipan kraken corpse, riddled with delicious candy maggots
    by Cory Doctorow
    October 18, 2013


    Miss Cakehead sez, “The Kraken Rum Edible Autopsy saw guests feast on the (rum cake) corpse of a recently captured Kraken in the shadow of the now derelict Redsand Forts found nine miles off the UK coast. The remains of the creature will be displayed at Feed The Beast – an extreme pop up cake shop opening in London next week – with guests having the chance to feast on the (marzipan) maggot riddled flesh themselves.”


    Read more here and here.

    Calling Out Banksy

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Parody, Satire

    New Yorkers Are Calling Out Banksy
    by Nina Strochlic
    The Daily Beast
    October 18, 2013

    Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD, an anonymous New York artist’s collective, and a community of graffiti writers make strange bedfellows. But the disparate groups have one thing in common: they’re calling out beloved street artist Banksy as he prowls New York City on a 30-day tagging quest.


    Steve (not his real name) is the founder of TrustoCorp, an anonymous New York-based guerilla art group known for its subversive signs and other pieces meant to highlight “the hilarity and hypocrisy of human behavior.”

    And that’s just what he set out to do on Monday, when he installed two street signs in New York City pointing out the irony of Banksy as a world-famous multimillionaire maintaining the persona of a rebellious street artist. Each sign cited a parody sponsor by “CitiBanksy” and “Banksy of America,” and featured twists on the elusive tagger’s own work. (more…)

    Banksy Carries On

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

    From Deborah, Michael, & Toni:

    Banksy’s month long New York show “Better Out Than In” continues. Here’s work found in the streets from October 11-14, 2013.

    October 14, 2013, Queens


    Says Banksy:

    Some people criticize me for using sources that are a bit low brow (this quote is from ‘Gladiator’) but you know what? “I’m just going to use that hostility to make me stronger, not weaker” as Kelly Rowland said on the X Factor.

    October 13, 2013, Banksy originals sold for $60 each in Central Park


    Want to know who bought them and how much they were worth? Read about it here.

    October 12, 2013, Concrete Confessional (more…)

    Banksy’s in NYC: Better Out Than In

    Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Satire

    From Marcy LaViollette: Banksy has taken up residency on the streets of NYC for the month of October, 2013

    From Banksy’s Better Out Than In Website:

    October 6 – No posts today due to shocking footage found on YouTube:

    October 5

    A New York delivery truck converted into a mobile garden (includes rainbow, waterfall and butterflies) will visit a different location every evening from dusk.


    Images found around town (some have already been tagged over) from October 2nd & 3rd: (more…)

    Giant Crisco Can Helps Ease the Pain in Detroit

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Satire

    Submitted by Danny Rollingstone on the AOTP Facebook page:

    Update: City Trashes Crisco Can Artist Installed At Fist To ‘Ease Bankruptcy Pain’
    by Bill McGraw
    July 29, 2013

    Update, Monday, Aug. 4: BuzzFeed names the Crisco can among the best street art for 2013.


    In what he said was a gesture of sympathy to a bankrupt city, a Detroit artist jumped out of his pickup truck early Tuesday at Woodward and Jefferson and deposited an oversized replica of a Crisco can at the base of the Joe Louis fist.

    That is art in an Andy Warhol sort of way, even though most of the commuters roaring past at 7:15 a.m. did not appear to be aware that they had witnessed a real live installation, even if it was off-the-wall to the point of obscurity. And it’s also uncertain if other passersby will get the humor and irony behind the can, whose top bore a striking resemblance to the wavy, white, greasy substance in a real Crisco container.

    Update, 1:47 p.m.: City officials say they plan to remove the Crisco can because they see it as “abandoned property.” It was gone by 2 p.m. (more…)

    Onze helden zijn terug! Our heroes are back! [English & Dutch]

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    Filed under: Art Pranks, Publicity Stunts

    From Erin:

    This flashmob recreates Rembrandt’s Night Watch, one of the most famous paintings in the world.

    The slogan ‘Our Heroes are Back’ is used to announce that, after an absence of one decade, all major pieces in the Rijksmuseum’s collection are back where they belong. This is what happens when they suddenly emerge in an unsuspecting shopping mall somewhere in The Netherlands.

    13 april gaat het Rijksmuseum open en komen Het melkmeisje, Jan Steen, De Nachtwacht en alle andere helden weer terug. Dit is wat er gebeurt als ze plotseling opduiken in een nietsvermoedend winkelcentrum. Ga naar