The World of the Prank

The artist as social provocateur and activist incorporates humor, satire, irony, political commentary and/or direct action to provoke critical thinking. Pranks challenge convention and the status quo and expose prejudices and biases.

Blog Posts

Tom Bob’s Street Art

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Illusion and Magic

Artist Tom Bob takes everyday functional urban pipes, meters and hardware and turns them into creative and amusing works of art. Thanks Don.


Early Hoax?

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Fact or Fiction?, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane. It’s…


The Painting “Madonna of the UFO”
FlorenceInferno.com
June 9, 2014

The “Madonna of the UFO” or “Madonna of the flying saucer” is a painting located in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence in the Hall of Hercules. Also called “Madonna and Child with the Infant St John”, the painting has been the topic of much debate between art experts and ufologists. While the painting depicts the Nativity with the infant St. John in the foreground, in the background one can see a man curiously watching an unidentified flying object (UFO).

THE AUTHOR OF THE MADONNA OF THE UFO
The painting is of unknown origin, but it probably dates from as early as the sixteenth century. The caption under the picture attributes authorship to either Sebastiano Mainardi or Jacopo del Sellaio; conversely, some scholars attribute it to Filippo Lippi, also known as “Maestro del Tondo Miller,” after the title of one of his last works.

Moreover, we only know that the work comes from the forgotten convent of Sant’Orsola in the district of San Lorenzo in Florence.

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PAINTING
The painting is round, is one meter in diameter, and is adorned with a precious golden frame; it is located in the Hall of Hercules on the second floor of the Palazzo Vecchio, which takes its name from the coffered ceiling depicting the Twelve Labours of Hercules.

The circular painting bears the usual iconographic motif of the Renaissance: in the foreground the Virgin is seen kneeling with folded hands and leaning toward the baby, who is lying on a hem of her garment.

While the baby Jesus is reaching his hand toward his mother, St. John is attempting to support him. Behind the head of the Madonna, an ellipsoidal object can be seen in the sky, one that is very similar to modern depictions of UFOs. There is also a man painted in the background, a shepherd, with his hand on his forehead and his head turned toward the sky. Next to him is a dog that is also looking in the direction of the flying object.

Read the rest of this article here

Read more about this at Historic Mysteries.

Better Than Breaking Your Ankle in a Pothole

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

Chicago Artist Jim Bachor has a solution for road maintenance.


Artist Who Filled New York Pothole with Trump’s Face Sees Artwork Removed by City
by Zachary Small
hyperallergic.com
August 8, 2018

Some people have a face for movies. Others have a face for potholes.

In Chicago, Jim Bachor is known for beautifying the city’s dilapidated streets by filling its concrete craters with beautifully crafted mosaics of flower bouquets. There, passersby are so enthusiastic about Bachor’s street art that he has all but gained official approval from authorities to continue his work. In 2014, the city’s Transportation Department even told the Chicago Tribune that “Mr. Bachor and his art are proof that even the coldest, harshest winter can not darken the spirits of Chicagoans.”

images by Jim Bachor

But Chicago is not New York. Our streets are danker. Our potholes are bigger. And our Department of Transportation is crueler. (Shout out to the MTA!) Appropriately, then, Bachor decided to debut a new series of mosaics for this concrete bunghole where dreams are made up called “Vermin of New York.” The compilation includes dead rats, cockroaches, and pigeons — oh! — and President Donald Trump’s face.

image by Jim Bachor

“I assume most New Yorkers hate him,” Bachor replied to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

Some people have a face for movies. Some people have a face for television. some people have a face for radio. Others, apparently, have a face for potholes.

Speaking with the New York Post, Bachor added that “it could be seen in both ways — one that you’re honoring our president or that you get to drive over Trump.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Trump’s National Guard

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

Russia sends it’s finest to guard Trump’s Hollywood star. Thanks Linda and Harold.


‘Russian’ soldiers stand guard at Trump’s Walk of Fame star
by Melkorka Licea
NY Post
July 28, 2018

Two ‘Russian’ guards have been standing careful watch over President Trump’s shattered star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The satirical Soviets were first spotted Wednesday, after the star was shattered by Austin Clay, who turned himself in and is facing felony vandalism charges.

9gag.com

“Well played, California,” @thepaperword chimed in.

Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel aired footage of the stone-faced duo on his Thursday show.

“That’s what comrades do for other comrades,” he quipped.

Trump has been dogged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and most recently, criticized by his deferential treatment of strongman Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit.

“I wonder if trump actually ‘gets’ the satire here, or the irony,” wondered @dennisp101155.

Clay is the second person to wreck the star since Trump became president. Cops busted a man who took a pickax and a sledgehammer to the star last October.

The most recent vandalism sparked a series of protests and demonstrations, and even a knock-down brawl Thursday night.

Anonymous Art Donor at Colorado Capitol

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

Seems no one wants to pay for a Trump portrait. Thanks Jim.


Prankster puts Putin’s portrait in Trump’s place in Colorado
AP
July 28, 2018

The Colorado Capitol’s wall of presidential portraits is missing one — President Donald Trump.

KUSA-TV reports the group that collects private donations for the portraits hasn’t received a single dollar needed to hang Trump’s picture.

But on Thursday, a prankster placed a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin on an easel below the blank space on the wall where Trump’s portrait would go.

Putin’s portrait was removed by a tour guide, but not before state Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, tweeted a picture.

The presidential portraits cost about $10,000 and are paid for through donations.

Jay Seller of the Colorado Citizens for Culture, the group that collects the donations, says it took about four months to collect the money for the portraits of former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Prickly Putin Penis Parable Presented on Wall Street

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

Say that three times fast. It’s a mouthful. Thanks Erin


Pussy Riot Stages Protest at World Cup Final

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

Pussy Riot World Cup field invasion protests Russian dictatorship.


Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final
by James Ellingworth
AP
June 15, 2018

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian protest group Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for four people who ran onto the field and disrupted the World Cup final.

The punk band says in a statement posted on their Twitter feed Sunday that the disruption was a protest.

The four people who charged onto the field in the 52nd minute simultaneously in what appeared to be old-fashioned police uniforms were tackled to the ground by stewards. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed a male protester, helping a steward to detain him.

Before being hauled away, one woman managed to reach the center of the field and share a double high-five with France forward Kylian Mbappe, who had a shot saved a minute earlier.

“Hello everyone from the Luzhniki field, it’s great here,” the group said on Twitter , and released a statement calling for the freeing of political prisoners, an end to “illegal arrests” of protesters and to “allow political competition” in Russia.

Their statement also referenced the case of Oleg Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror acts. He denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

The balaclava-clad women of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock group, rose to global prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 that sent two members to prison for nearly two years. Putin was watching the game alongside his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The protest was briefly shown on international TV broadcasts, even though FIFA policy is usually to cut away from field invasions.

Trump Gets a Sign From Above

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

Don’t look down Mr. Trump.


Trump To Be Greeted In England By 650-Foot Crop Circle With A Very Rude Message
by Ed Mazza
Huffington Post
July 12, 2018

Massive message should be visible from the left window of the president’s chopper on Friday.

President Donald Trump may not want to look out the window as he passes over the English countryside later this week.

An artist has turned part of a field at Moat Farm in Stoke Mandeville into a 650-foot crop circle with “Fuck Trump” written in Russian, according to local newspaper Bucks Herald.

The Herald said the crop circle should be visible from the president’s chopper as he flies to a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, the premier’s country home.

Read the rest of this article here.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, Nope… It’s Trump Baby Balloon

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

Fun interview with Leo Murray, creator of the Trump Baby Balloon that will fly over London’s Parliament building to greet President Trump in London on July 13, 2018. Although, Trumps’ handlers plan to keep him far away.


‘Trump Baby’: Meet the Mind Behind the Inflatable Infant Set to Greet Trump on London Trip
by Chantal Da Silva and Chiara Brambilla
Newsweek
July 10, 2018

When London activist Leo Murray first came up with the idea to put a 20-foot “Trump Baby” blimp in the sky in time for President Donald Trump’s trip to Britain this week, he never could have anticipated just how well the plan would take off.


Trump baby / Leo Murray

Within weeks, an online fundraiser aiming to generate £5,000 to help fly the giant balloon reached more than £28,500 in donations. The blimp, which depicts Trump as an angry smartphone-wielding infant, will be floating outside the Palace of Westminster on Friday.

Watch the interview with Leo Murray here:
http://www.newsweek.com/b3b85d32-9593-4a25-87f6-8dcd2a591673

“This has wildly exceeded my expectations,” Murray, 41, told Newsweek. The British activist said his Trump Baby balloon has not only “captured something of the essence of the president’s character,” but has also managed to encapsulate an important moment in Trump’s presidency. (more…)

Duping the Dopes

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

Update July 12, 2018: Roy Moore admits Sacha Baron Cohen tricked him too and threatens to defend his so-called honor.


Sacha Baron Cohen is back.


Sarah Palin Says Sacha Baron Cohen Tricked Her Into a Fake Interview for His New Show
by Alix Langone
Time
July 10, 2018

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took to Facebook Tuesday to let Sacha Baron Cohen know exactly how angry she feels about being duped for his new prank TV series.

Palin, who sat down with her daughter for an interview with Cohen, is outraged that the comedian, along with Showtime and CBS Corp., pretended to tap her for a “legit Showtime historical documentary.”

“Yup – we were duped. Ya got me, Sacha. Feel better now?”

Cohen, of Borat and Ali G fame, prank interviewed Palin for his upcoming show Who Is America?, which premieres on Showtime Sunday, July 15 at midnight, but will regularly air at 10 p.m ET.

Promo:

Palin posted. “I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime.”

He reportedly filmed numerous interviews with well-known politicians and public figures for the prank series, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convinced to sign a “waterboard kit” on camera.

Read the rest of this article here.

Cold as I.C.E.

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Political Pranks

Art Collective Indecline and cartoonist Rob Rogers writ large.


Bay Area Protests Trump’s Child Detention Policy with Billboard and Projection
Hyperallergic
by Benjamin Sutton
June 21, 2018

A clandestine modification of a junk removal billboard and a nighttime projection of a political cartoon called out the president’s family separation policy.

Is the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advertising its brutal practice of separating migrant families? If you were driving along Interstate 80 in California’s East Bay last night or early this morning, you might have seen what appeared to be a billboard for ICE flaunting its inhumane expertise — “We make kids disappear” — alongside the Munchian image of a shocked and screaming child.

The ignoble advertisement is in fact the work of satiric and shadowy public art collective Indecline, whose members scaled the billboard (which formerly promoted 1-800-Got-Junk?’s ability to “make junk disappear”) in the night and transformed it into a provocative indictment of ICE. At the time this article was published, a spokesperson for Indecline said that the modified billboard was still in place.

Read more here.

Dick Tuck, RIP

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

An ode to a political prankster
by Tom Lawrence
Black Hills Pioneer
June 12, 2018

Even his name, Dick Tuck, which rhymes with Puck, was perfect.

Because Dick Tuck was a Puckish presence in national politics for decades, using wit and wile as weapons in political battles. The Democratic trickster died May 28 at 93 … unless this was another of his pranks. I really wouldn’t put it past him.

Tuck’s primary target was another Tricky Dick, aka Richard Nixon. From Nixon’s bid for a Senate seat in 1950 until his presidential re-election campaign in 1972, Tuck was a thorn in Nixon’s flesh, poking and prodding him with stunts, pranks and mischief.

Why? Tuck had a deep dislike for Nixon, and not just because they were polar opposites politically. He felt Nixon was unethical and unprincipled — a good read, it turned out — and Tuck was determined to do whatever he could to hamper his rise.

It rarely worked, however. Nixon won the Senate race in 1950, defeating Democratic incumbent Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom he labeled “the Pink Lady,” unfairly and inaccurately accusing her of being soft on communism.

Tuck launched his political career during that race when a college professor who knew he was interested in politics asked him to aid the Nixon campaign. He forgot to ask which party his student favored.

Amazingly enough, Tuck was allowed to organize a Nixon rally. He booked the largest hall he could find and did not publicize the event. He then introduced Nixon with a long, rambling speech that ended by telling the scant few people in the audience that the candidate would discuss the International Monetary Fund.

After the shambles of an event was over, Nixon went to the young organizer and said, “Dick Tuck, you’ve done your last advance.”

If only he had known what was in store for him. (more…)

Here’s a Chilling Thought

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

He has confided that he dreams of being added to Mount Rushmore. Maybe this will have to do…


Environmentalist group wants to carve Trump’s face in glacier
by Max Jaeger
New York Post
May 1, 2018

They want to melt the president in effigy.

A Finnish group is raising money to carve President Trump’s face into a glacier and then live stream it as it thaws — all to raise awareness about global warming.

Watch the Project Trumpmore official trailer:

“There are still people who ponder whether it’s (global warming) a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting,” Nicolas Prieto of the Melting Ice association said in a statement.

“Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes.”

The group — which calls the project “Trumpmore” in a nod to Mount Rushmore — is trying to raise just south of $500,000 to create the 115-foot-tall carving, which would have roughly the same dimensions as the sculptures adorning Rushmore.

Melting Ice thinks the actual construction would take a team of Finnish and Mongolian sculptors about four weeks to complete. Then they aim to train a live stream on the carving to watch it melt. (more…)

Taxidermied Anteater Fools Photography Contest Judges

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Hoaxes vs. Scams, Prank News, You Decide

Well, it was alive at some point…


Wildlife photo competition disqualifies ‘stuffed anteater’ image
by Jonathan Amos
BBC Science Correspondent
27 April 2018

A winning entry in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has been disqualified for featuring a taxidermy specimen.

The image, known as The Night Raider, shows an anteater moving towards a termite mound in a Brazilian reserve.

Mr Cabral said flashes and a long exposure were needed to capture the scene

London’s Natural History Museum, which runs the competition, says the use of stuffed animals breaches its rules.

The photographer, Marcio Cabral, denies he faked the scene and claims there is a witness who was with him on the day.

Other photographers and tourists were in the park at the same time and therefore “it would be very unlikely anyone wouldn’t see a stuffed animal being transported and placed carefully in this position”, he told BBC News.

But Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of judges for Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY), was stern in her criticism.

“This disqualification should remind entrants that any transgression of the rules and spirit of the competition will eventually be found out,” she said.

The taxidermy specimen is held at a visitors’ centre at an entrance to the park

The Night Raider picture won the Animals In Their Environment category in the 2017 WPY awards. It was taken in Emas National Park. (more…)

Larry Harvey, Co-founder of Burning Man, RIP

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

Burning Man’s co-founder dead at 70: How his event changed the world
by Chris Taylor
Mashable
April 28, 2018

Larry Harvey, the co-founder of the Burning Man festival who grew it from an event on a San Francisco beach to a desert arts festival of global significance, died Saturday. He was 70.

Harvey had been hospitalized after a stroke on April 4, and had remained in critical condition. “Though we all hoped he would recover, he passed peacefully this morning at 8:24am in San Francisco, with members of his family at his side,” wrote Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell in the organization’s official announcement.

Harvey’s story has already passed into countercultural legend. A former landscape gardener and carpenter, he and his friend Jerry James decided to burn a large wooden figure of a man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986.

The Burning Man event, repeated annually, began to draw exponentially increasing numbers of attendees — so many that Harvey and friends needed a new location where it could grow relatively unchecked by authorities. In 1990 they found one in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, and the week-long extravaganza of Burning Man began.

Much of the event’s energy in those early years was provided by the Cacophony Society, a culture-jamming collective of California artists. But it was Harvey who became the face and the driving force behind Burning Man’s expansion. After a particularly anarchic version of the festival in 1996, in which one participant ran his car over a number of people in tents, Harvey oversaw Burning Man’s transformation into Black Rock City — a temporary urban environment with roads, gas lamps and an army of volunteers. Read the rest of this article here.