All About Pranks

This blog has submissions from many known and not so known pranksters, artists, performers, activists and writers. It provides a continuing and growing exploration into the art of the prank; the role of the prankster as artist, activist and social observer; and the contribution of the prank to society.

Blog Posts

Take the Money and Run

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Fraud and Deception, Prank News, Pranksters, Spin, The Prank as Art

Actually the paintings depict a polar bear eating marshmallows in a snow storm.

Danish artist told to repay museum €67,000 after turning in blank canvasses, by Alex Smith, BBC News, September 18, 2023

A Danish artist has been ordered to return nearly 500,000 kroner ($72,000; £58,000) to a museum after giving it two blank canvasses for a project he named Take the Money and Run.

The Kunsten Museum in Aalborg had intended for Jens Haaning to embed the banknotes in two pieces of art in 2021.

Instead, he gave it blank canvasses and then told “The work is that I have taken their money.”

A court has now ordered him to return the cash – but keep some for expenses.

The art project was intended as a statement on salaries in Denmark and Austria. Read the rest of this article here.

Sometimes Art Imitates Art

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Hoaxes vs. Scams, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Flattering fakes.

The Illicit Allure of Art Forgery, by Olivia McEwan, Hyperallergic, September 11, 2023

An anarchic desire to undermine the art world’s institutions lends art forgers a roguish, rebellious identity that is both compelling and unsavory.

LONDON — A certain romanticism surrounds art forgery. Unlike other material goods, such as watches, handbags, or even coins, artworks are unique objects, the value of which is determined by quantitative and qualitative factors. For this reason their trade within art markets relies to a great extent on good faith. The success of commercial galleries and dealers depends on integrity — that what they are selling is what they say. Deliberate deceit, and on a significant scale, is cause for scandal and a career’s end, as in the high-profile case of Knoedler, an art dealership established in 1846 but closed in 2011 following a flurry of lawsuits.

It is arguably especially embarrassing when national museums, staffed by art historical experts who are (on paper at least) driven by the interests of the public as opposed to financial gain, become tangled up in a contested artwork. The Louvre and the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, the National Gallery of London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna have all at some point endorsed the authenticity of works sold by the alleged forger Giuliano Ruffini, charged with gang fraud and money laundering in December 2022…

…the Courtauld Gallery presents an unconventional exhibition, Art and Artifice: Fakes from the Collection, which comprises nothing but forgeries it has acquired during its history. Read the whole article here

The Battle of Burning Disinformation

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fraud and Deception, Hype, Political Challenges, Propaganda and Disinformation, Spin, Urban Legends

A war with never ending ammunition.

Ukraine’s fight against disinformation is creating a new startup sector, by Thomas Macaulay,, September 6, 2023

Counter-disinformation is a growing industry

When Russian troops flooded into Ukraine last year, an army of propagandists followed them. Within hours, Kremlin-backed media were reporting that President Zelenskyy had fled the country. Weeks later, a fake video of Zelenskyy purportedly surrendering went viral. But almost as soon as they emerged, the lies were disproven.

Government campaigns had prepared Ukrainians for digital disinformation. When the crude deepfake appeared, the clip was quickly debunked, removed from social media platforms, and disproven by Zelenskyy in a genuine video.

The incident became a symbol of the wider information war. Analysts had expected Russia’s propaganda weapons to wreak havoc, but Ukraine was learning to disarm them. Those lessons are now fostering a new sector for startups: counter-disinformation.

Like much of Ukrainian society, the country’s tech workers has adopted aspects of military ethos. Some have enlisted in the IT Army of volunteer hackers or applied their skills to defence technologies. Others have joined the information war.

In the latter group are the women who founded Dattalion. A portmanteau of data and battalion, the project provides the world’s largest free and independent open-source database of photo and video footage from the war. All media is classified as official, trusted, or not verified. By preserving and authenticating the material, the platform aims to disprove false narratives and propaganda.

Dattalion’s data collection team leader, Olha Lykova, was an early member of the team. She joined as the fighting reached the outskirts of her hometown of Kyiv.

“We started to collect data from open sources in Ukraine, because there were no international reporters and international press at the time,” Lykova, 25, told TNW in a video call. “In the news, it was not possible to see the reality of what was happening in Ukraine.” Read the rest of this article here.

It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s a… What?

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fraud and Deception, Hoaxes vs. Scams, Propaganda and Disinformation

It’s not Casper the Friendly Ghost!

‘Flying Aliens’ Harassing Village in Peru Are Actually Illegal Miners With Jetpacks, Cops Say, by Nathaniel Janowitz, Vice, August 14, 2023

Authorities announced their theory after visiting the isolated Indigenous community where the attacks took place.

The mysterious attacks began on July 11.

“Strange beings,” locals said, visiting an isolated Indigenous community in rural Peru at night, harassing its inhabitants and attempting to kidnap a 15-year-old girl.

“These gentlemen are aliens. They seem armored like the green goblin from Spider Man. I have shot one twice and it didn’t fall. Instead, it elevated and disappeared,” Jairo Reátegui Ávila, a local leader of the Indigenous Ikitu group living in the northwestern Maynas province, told Peruvian radio station RPP Noticias on August 1. “We’re frightened by what is happening in the community.”

“Their color is silver, their shoes are round in shape and with those, they rise up. They float one meter high and have a red light on their heel,” said Ávila. “Their heads are long, their mask is long, and their eyes are sort of yellowish.” Read the rest of the story here.

“Joey Skaggs: Celebrity Sperm Bank” Film Festival Screenings in August and September 2023

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction, Urban Legends

In 1976, Joey Skaggs’ Celebrity Sperm Bank auction went awry due to a pre-mature withdrawal!

Catch this film, which is oral history film #9 in the ongoing series “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond at
one of two theatrical film festival screenings: August 8 in New York at the ChainNYC Film Festival or September 24 in California at the Burbank International Film Festival.

Schedule and ticket information is here.

Italian Art Pranks Remembered

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

From Modigliani Fakes To Michelangelo The Forger: Italy’s Most Ingenious Art Pranks, by Emanuela Minucci, LA STAMPA, ENGLISH EDITION WORLDCRUNCH, May 06, 2023

TURIN — Summer, 1984. Three sculptures are found in a canal in Livorno, Italy.

Experts and art critics Giulio Carlo Argan and Cesare Brandi agree that the sculptures are the work of famous Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, who had written that he threw some sculptures that didn’t turn out as he’d wanted into the river.

But the sculptures were all fake. It was one of the greatest art hoaxes of all time. The prank of Modigliani’s False Heads is the story of three university students and an artist from Livorno who didn’t know each other, but all had the same idea: on the year of the centenary of Modigliani’s birth, as the city of Livorno dredged a nearby river to find the lost sculptures Modigliani had written about, defied the art world. It was courageous, and reckless.

After the four made the sculptures and threw them into the river at night, they waited for critics and experts to comment on their authenticity and quality. Then, they went on television and revealed the hoax — for the students, a prank, and for the artist, a performance.

Even the art world is not immune to pranks, and some of those who indulged in these hoaxes were later remembered as some of the most important and influential artists of all time.

Michelangelo, the forger
The mastermind of one of the most famous scams in art history was none other than Michelangelo Buonarroti. At just over 20 years old, the Renaissance art genius created a Sleeping Cupid that, through various tricks, looked like a piece of ancient artwork. (more…)

Joey Skaggs Oral History May and June Festival Screenings

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Instructionals, Media Pranks, Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?

Lots of upcoming opportunities to see Joey Skaggs oral history films both in theaters and streaming online.

Details for May and June 2023 film festivals screenings are here.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters, Satire, The Prank as Art

Sarah Rose Sharp of Hyperallergic has created a collection of images to put a smile on your face!

Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic, by Sarah Rose Sharp, Hyperallergic, April 1, 2023

In a casting decision sure to make ripples all over Hollywood, representatives for Prince Harry have confirmed that he will play Vincent van Gogh in an upcoming biopic about the infamous painter. It seems clear now that the ex-royal is not only determined to follow his wife, Meghan Markle, away from life in the British monarchy but into her former profession of acting.

“Prince Harry is thrilled about this opportunity to further raise awareness about mental health issues,” said his talent agent, Guy Guyerson. “He identifies with Vincent van Gogh in so many ways.”

Read the rest here and scroll down to see links to additional concepts. Warning: these may not be available for long.

Here’s a sampling:

Saudi Arabia Announces $1M “Freedom of Expression” Art Award
British Museum Offers Greece “Exclusive NFT” of the Parthenon Marbles
MoMA to Co-Curate Exhibition With NYPD
Mediocre Painting Thought AI-Generated Revealed as Work of Real Artist

Join Us for the NYC 38th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade (2023)

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Political Challenges, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

NYC April Fools' Day Parade jester

The New York April Fools’ Committee Is Proud to Announce:

“Count Down to Complete Idiocy”

New York’s irreverent April Fools’ Day Parade returns, poking fun at the past year’s displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright stupid­ity! For the 38th year, the public is invited to create outrageous floats and dress up as look-alikes in colorful costumes to reflect the folly of the nuttiest politicians, crooked corporate leaders, silly celebrities, and whoever else has been a total fool in the past year.

The public is encouraged to participate, in or out of costume, with or without floats. Floats should be no wider than 10 feet and no longer than 30 feet and can be self-propelled, towed, pushed or pulled. Customized bicycles, tricycles, baby carriages, and helium balloons are welcome.

The theme of the 2023 parade is “Countdown to Complete Idiocy”. Marchers will assemble at Fifth Ave and 59th St at 12 Noon, Saturday, April 1, and proceed downtown to Washington Square Park, site of a big party that will culminate with the climactic crowning of the King of Fools.

See previous parades covered by WNBC TV and Chinese TV.

This year, for the first time, the entire parade will be nationally televised live on Fox News. Color commentary will be provided by Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson with opinions only–no truth and no objectivity. A media and VIP grandstand will be located in front of Trump Tower at Fifth Ave and 57th St. The parade Grand Marshall this year is New York Representative George Santos dressed as Pinocchio. He’ll be followed by Ye (a.k.a. Kanye West) in his motorized golden chariot playing a re-mix of totalitarian national anthems on a pipe organ while unsellable Adidas sneakers are flung at the crowd. Then comes a drag show of newly woke M&M characters showing off their fashion re-branding. (more…)

Quick Facts About New York City’s Annual April Fool’s Day Parade

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

Photo collage from 2018 and 2019 April Fools’ Day Parades
Courtesy Joey Skaggs Archive

Parade Description
Courtesy ChatGPT (

The New York City April Fools’ Day Parade is a satirical parade that has been held annually in New York City since 1986. The parade is organized by American artist and satirist Joey Skaggs, who sought to use the format of the parade to parody social and political issues, as well as the media’s coverage of them.

The parade typically features a variety of tongue-in-cheek floats, costumes and performances that often mock current events and poke fun at politicians, celebrities, and other public figures. It is known for its irreverent and often absurdist humor, as well as its willingness to tackle controversial and taboo subjects.
While the parade is not officially sanctioned by the city, it has become a beloved annual tradition and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It typically draws a large crowd of spectators. Participants are encouraged to show up in costume and join the fun.

The New York April Fools’ Committee is not a formal organization, but rather a loosely organized group of artists, writers, performers, and other creative individuals who come together each year to plan and execute the parade. It is also supported by a network of volunteers and donors who contribute their time and resources to make the event a success.

FL Governor Ron DeSantis and IA Governor Kim Reynolds Canceled by a Snowflake

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

When the “woke” bite back…

In Iowa, DeSantis gets snowflake gift with ‘fascist’ hidden on it, by Ellen E. Clarke, Tampa Bay Times, Mar 11, 2023

The Florida governor posed for a photo with the gift, as did Iowa’s governor.

In Iowa on Friday to promote his new book, Gov. Ron DeSantis posed with a gift from a supposed supporter. The gift, a framed cutout of an intricate snowflake, features the word “fascist.” Read the rest of this article here.

Getting By With a Little Help From AI

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Illusion and Magic, Prank News

Who gets the credit?

Viral “Photographer” Reveals His Images Were AI-Generated, Rhea Nayyar,, Feb 27, 2023

Jos Avery had told his followers he used a Nikon D810 to take his distinctive black-and-white portraits.

Jos Avery was surprised when his portraiture account amassed nearly 30,000 followers in just five months. The self-described photographer primarily posted heavily retouched black-and-white portraits accompanied by fictional stories about the subjects to @averyseasonart. But Avery recently came clean and told the world that his “photos” were actually generated by Midjourney, a text prompt-based artificial intelligence image-generation program. Read the rest of the article here.

Art in Odd Places

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Prank News, The Prank as Art

Art in Odd Places, presenting visual and performance art in unexpected New York City public spaces, has released its call for projects for 2023.

Soap Boxes Photo by Daniel Talonia

Art in Odd Places (AiOP) 2023: DRESS, scheduled for October 13-15, 2023, curated by Gretchen Vitamvas, invites proposals for its eighteenth annual outdoor public visual and performance art festival taking place on select blocks each day along 14th Street, Manhattan.

Past photos:

Chris Kaczmarek, Scaled, Photo by Maxwell Williams 2022

Gretchen Vitamvas, Modern Plague Doctor, Photo by Chloe Evans

Christopher Kaczmarek Photo by JosefPinlac

LA Screening of “Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure” at NEWSFEST 2022

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

NewsFest 2022 Film Festival Screening
Friday, November 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Ave., Room HSS 165
Santa Monica, CA

NewsFest 2022 has nominated and will be screening “Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure” (27:35), the 6th episode in the “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism 1960s to the Present and Beyond” oral history series, as part of the “COME WHAT MAY” section.

The Ethos Film Awards is the NEWSFEST’s partner managing ticket sales here:

“Joey Skaggs: The Early Years” FREE Online Screening November 7-13, 2022

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

NZ Web Fest Film Festival has nominated “Joey Skaggs: The Early Years” (14:57), as BEST SHOW (INTERNATIONAL FACTUAL).

This film is the first episode and pilot for the new oral history series, “Joey Skaggs Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond“.

It’s available to screen FREE from November 7 to 13, 2022.

Register here to receive a free link to watch the film whenever and wherever is convenient during that time period: