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

“Trump’s Kool-Aid Tasting” Goes to the White House

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

With the mid-term election looming, Joey Skaggs decided it was time to draw more attention to the need for Americans to vote. So Skaggs and volunteers wearing Trump masks and holding signs underscoring Trump’s positions took Skaggs’ mobile Kool-Aid Tasting Stand from where it was on exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Political Art in Washington DC, to the White House.

  • This was a faux pro-Trump parade illustrating and satirizing what Trump represents to the American people.

    More details and photos here:
    https://joeyskaggs.com/works/trumps-kool-aid-tasting

    Honest Political Ad!

    posted by
    Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Political Pranks

    Gil Fulbright, aka Phillip Mamouf-Wifarts, is at it again…


    Watch the video:

    Delusional in DC. Skaggs is Taking Trump’s Kool-Aid to the Streets

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

    Trump’s Kool-Aid Tasting

    October 28, 2018, at 2:00 pm, join Joey Skaggs for “Trump’s Kool-Aid Tasting,” a mobile art event, starting at the new Center for Contemporary Political Art at 916 G Street NW. Trump look-alikes will parade with Skaggs’ “Trump Kool-Aid Stand”.

    This is a faux Pro-Trump parade, illustrating and satirizing what Trump represents to the American People. The performance aims to counter voter apathy and motivate people to turn out for the 2018 midterm election. Signs and Trump masks will be available.

    Details are here.

    Watch the promo video:

    ART OF THE PRANK Movie Screening

    At 5:00 pm, following the art event, there will be a special screening of ART OF THE PRANK back at the Center for Contemporary Political Art followed by a Q&A with Skaggs. Space is limited so an RSVP is required. Please contact us here to reserve a space.

    Cockroaches on the Menu!

    posted by
    Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Fact or Fiction?, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, You Decide

    Roaches are yummy and good for you too! Joey Skaggs’ Metamorphosis: Miracle Roach Hormone Cure hoax remembered…


    The Right Chemistry: Cockroach milk a ‘superfood’?
    by Joe Schwarcz
    Montreal Gazette via The London Free Press
    October 12, 2018

    It’s not a prank, but any suggestion that the crystals represent a viable alternative to dairy milk for people is a very, very big stretch.

    Back in 1981, entomologist Josef Gregor called a press conference to announce a remarkable discovery. He had bred a novel species of cockroach from which he managed to extract a hormone that, when incorporated into a pill, exhibited amazing properties. It cured conditions ranging from acne and allergies to asthma and arthritis! “Roach hormone hailed as miracle drug” crowed headlines. Some 175 newspapers went on to feature testimonials attesting to the wonders of the hormone pills.

    Subsequently, Gregor was invited to appear on various television programs where he described that cockroaches were impervious to radiation and that in addition to its curative properties for a plethora of ailments, his pills would offer protection against radiation exposure. It all sounded great, but there was one tiny little problem. There was no Josef Gregor, and there was no cockroach hormone! Gregor was actually Joey Skaggs, a teacher at New York’s School of Visual Arts, who relished pulling off hoaxes to show how the media could be duped into reporting nonsensical stories because of a failure to fact-check. And that was decades before the current wave of publicity about “fake news!”

    Watch the video

    Recalling the “cockroach hormone” episode, I figured a prankster must have been at work when the headline, “Scientists Think Cockroach Milk Could Be the Next Superfood,” recently scooted across the internet. Obviously, fact-checking was in order. While the headline was typical click-bait, it was actually spawned by legitimate research.

    In 2016, a paper in the Journal of the International Union of Crystallography reported some intriguing research about the unique “Pacific Beetle” cockroach (Diploptera punctate). Why unique? Because it is viviparous, meaning the females give birth to live offspring. The term derives from the Latin “vivus” for “alive,” and “parere,” meaning “to bring forth” or “to bear.”

    Read the rest of this article here.

    The Prank as an Art Form

    posted by
    Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

    A good prank attempts to shed light on issues to change perceptions or awareness by jolting sensibilities. MutualArt pays homage to Joey Skaggs’ April Fools’ Day Parade. In 2017, it became real with Trump’s Golden Throne.


    A Look Behind Some of the Biggest Pranks in Art History
    by Adam Heardman
    MutualArt
    October 8, 2018

    Pretty-much-anonymous street artist Banksy was back in the headlines this weekend thanks to his self-shredding picture. We take a look at other classic art-world pranks that have confounded and delighted through history.

    .

    As a street artist and activist, Banksy’s career has consisted almost exclusively of anti-establishment pranks and stunts. On Friday evening, at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction, the hammer fell on a print of his Balloon Girl image at a price of $1.1 million. Seconds later, an alarm sounded through the room and the print began feeding through the bottom of its own frame, inside which was a hidden shredder, leaving half of the work in ribbons.

    Promptly, the piece’s value doubled. Commodification appears to move as quickly as protest in the contemporary market-place.

    Speculation already abounds as to how far Banksy collaborated with Sotheby’s in setting up the stunt. It certainly seems far-fetched that the auction house’s handlers wouldn’t have noticed the machinery in the frame.

    But the impact of the prank has been huge, bringing Banksy his biggest burst of media-attention since Dismaland closed. His market-value has increased. Haters have been won over. The search for his true identity is back on. All in all, it’s been a successful prank.

    As a space in which publicity, politics, and aesthetics can meet, ‘the prank’ is an established mode within the art world. Here are some of the more prominent and successful examples from art history.

    1. Hogarth and Wilson’s Rembrandt RoastRead this here.

    2. Joey Skaggs’ Fake ‘Fake Parade’

    Prank artist Joey Skaggs

    Joey Skaggs is the maybe the most prolific prankster out there. Over the years, the performance artist and writer has staged the thieving of celebrity sperm, “attempted” to “windsurf across the Pacific”, and exposed Western racism by fooling people into thinking that a Chinese businessman was buying dogs to make into soup.

    Every April Fools’ Day since 1986, Skaggs has held a Parade with floats, banners, streamers extensive press coverage and pertinent contemporary themes. Except that the Parade doesn’t ever actually take place, existing purely within the press-hype. Fake News.

    Until last year, that is. In a neat reversal of his own prank, Skaggs actually did hold a real-life parade on April 1st, 2017 after 31 years of pretending. The march functioned as a protest against Donald Trump’s presidency and was also the largest gathering of Trump-look-alikes in history. The imposters marched to Trump Tower and sat tweeting on golden thrones. Maybe Joey Skaggs’ greatest prank was to make Fake News real.

    3. Stromberg’s StickersRead the rest of this article here.

    Before Banksy

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

    The Hippie Bus Tour To Queens revisited…


    Before Banksy: Art pranksters and provocateurs who Banksy’d us first
    by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta
    ANC news.abs-cbn.com
    October 10, 2018

    As that cynical adage goes, It’s all been done before. But at least in the art world, each prank takes on a wildly different form

    Banky’s latest stunt at a Sotheby’s auction (a self-destructing artwork automated to shred itself after being sold) recalled other art pranksters who played the system with the same wink wink nudge nudge kind of subversion. There’s a joke that’s being played and it’s not on the artist—which means it’s on whoever believes that the numbers on a price tag equate to the value of a work of art. Other pranksters have also poked fun at institutions that house high art (what is high art anyway?), or at spectators of art who don’t know what art is. Here are a few stunning and smug indictments of all of us art heathens.

    Harvey Stromberg’s Stickers

    In 1971, Harvey Stromberg wad described by the New York Times as a “photographer, or a media manipulator, or a self-made chance factor, or a guerilla artist or a fraud. All of the above. None of the above.” This description set the tone for how he was regarded in the art world.

    One prank he famously pulled was a photographic “exhibit” at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) where he made exact-to-scale photographs of utility objects—light switches, alarm buzzers, bricks, and keyholes, among other things. Using double-sided tape, Stromberg stuck these photographs in spaces it was customary to find them. It was described as the “longest-running one-man photo exhibit,” as it took museum personnel all of two years to discover and remove the stickers. The “show” ran hitchless for two years so Stromberg threw in another prank. He decided it was time to officially “open” the exhibit at the MOMA—complete with formal invitations to both guests and media. If MOMA administrators treated the opening nonchalantly, it would encourage other such pranks; if they treated it as a criminal offense, it would cheapen their position as champions of conceptual art.

    Joey Skaggs and “The Hippie Bus Tour to Queens”

    Joey Skaggs and his East Village “hippie” friends would be gawked at as city curiosities by bridge and tunnel people—so he decided to change the narrative and turn the show around. In 1968, he rented a Greyhound bus and took 60 hippies to Queens where they could take snapshots of, and gawk at, normal people going about their typical, suburban preoccupations. “Look, it’s someone mowing the lawn!,” one can imagine one of the passengers saying, or “Look it’s a man washing his car!” or even “Why’s the plumber taking so long at Mrs. Robinson’s house?”

    Read the rest of this article here.

    Meet the Man Who Invented the Roach Hormone Miracle Cure!

    posted by
    Filed under: Art of the Prank - the movie, Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

    ART OF THE PRANK movie Blu-rays with 38 minutes of never before seen Extras and DVDs are now available!

    **Use coupon code “ABRACADABRA” to magically get $5.00 off of each disc purchased.**

    Watch a video promo:

    Banksy Shreds His Own Art at Auction

    posted by
    Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fact or Fiction?, Prank News, Pranksters, You Decide

    Banksy pulls confetti stunt with/at auction house to shock art buyers.


    Banksy painting ‘self-destructs’ moments after being sold for $1.4 million at auction
    CNN
    by Andreas Preuss
    October 6, 2018

    For an artist that’s known for his stunts, this could be Banksy’s most perfect art world prank.

    After the gavel fell Friday at Sotheby’s auction house in London, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was reduced to shreds — another apparent act in the disruptive career of the anonymous British graffiti artist.

    The iconic image of a girl reaching out for a red, heart-shaped balloon, sold for $1.4 million and moments later, a shredder hidden inside the “artist’s frame” started its work, according to a news release from Sotheby’s and the art “self-destructed.”

    Banksy summed up the stunt with this quote on his Instagram account – “Going, going, gone…” and a posted picture showed stunned onlookers as the shredded art emerges from the bottom of the frame. (more…)

    Academic Journalism?

    posted by
    Filed under: Literary Hoaxes, Media Literacy, Prank News, Pranksters, Propaganda and Disinformation

    Three academic scholars prove once again that you can’t trust academic journalism, especially when it comes to “grievance studies”. From Vinay Menon in The Star: “They are self-described liberals. They are merely exposing what many others have claimed in recent years, namely that radicals are polluting certain disciplines from the inside. These “social justice warriors,” the argument goes, are sacrificing objective truth for social constructivism. They are blowing up enlightenment values and the scientific method to advance agendas in the culture wars.”

    h/t Peter, Linda, Susanne


    Universities get schooled on ‘breastaurants’ and ‘fat bodybuilding’
    by Vinay Menon
    The Star
    October 5, 2018

    Oh, the humanities.

    Fake news grabbed academia by the tweedy lapels this week, after three scholars confessed to a brazen hoax. Over the last year, Helen Pluckrose, Peter Boghossian and James A. Lindsay wrote bogus papers, which they submitted to peer-reviewed journals in various fields they now lump together as “grievance studies.”

    James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian (Mike Nayna)

    In one “study,” published in a journal of “feminist geography,” they analyzed “rape culture” in three Portland dog parks: “How do human companions manage, contribute, and respond to violence in dogs?”

    In another, using a contrived thesis inspired by Frankenstein and Lacanian psychoanalysis, they argued artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity due to the underlying “masculinist and imperialist” programming.

    They advocated for introducing a new category — “fat bodybuilding” — to the muscle-biased sport. They called for “queer astrology” to be included in astronomy. They offered a “feminist rewrite” of a chapter from Hitler’s Mein Kampf. They searched for postmodern answers to ridiculous queries such as: why do straight men enjoy eating at “breastaurants” such as Hooters? (more…)

    Pulp Fiction is All We Have

    posted by
    Filed under: Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

    From ElaraPictures on Instagram, a hilarious Mash-up of Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony on September 28 2018 With Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction.


    Watch the video

    “Hippie Bus Tour to Queens” Remembered 50 Years Later

    posted by
    Filed under: All About Pranks, Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Pranksters, Satire

    Fifty years ago, artist/activist Joey Skaggs took sixty hippies on a sight-seeing bus tour to suburban Queens. He called this satirical performance his “cultural exchange tour”.

    Read his story here on Artsy.net

    Here’s a preview…


    When Pranks Become Works of Art
    Artsy.net
    September 19, 2018

    Fifty years ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning—September 22, 1968—I stood welcoming my guests onto a rented Greyhound sightseeing bus on the corner of St. Mark’s and 2nd Avenue in New York City. While the rock band the Group Image loaded their equipment into the luggage area on the side of the bus, writer Paul Krassner quipped hilariously about our upcoming odyssey. The 60-seat Greyhound bus was soon to be completely filled with long-haired, beaded, camera-toting hippies—some friends, some total strangers. The plan was to visit the borough of Queens in an ironic reversal, mocking the tour buses that relentlessly came to Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side to gawk at the hippies. It was my cultural exchange tour. We were excited. We felt like pirates on a galleon. After Howard Smith wrote up my plan in his weekly Village Voice column, artist Yayoi Kusama asked if she could come paint polka dots on a troupe of naked dancers when we stopped at a local head shop on Queens Boulevard, where the Group Image would play.

    I was young, but already known for my provocative art. In 1966, on Easter Sunday, I had dragged a decayed skeleton of Jesus Christ on a 10-foot-tall cross to Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side, to protest man’s inhumanity to man. I took the sculpture out again on Easter in 1967, this time to a Central Park “Be In.” This notoriety may have led to a visit by a neatly dressed, middle-aged black man who rang the buzzer of my loft on East 2nd Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue. He said he had come to buy a ticket for his daughter to ride on my bus to Queens. It seemed highly unlikely, so I told him I wasn’t charging for the sightseeing tour. It was completely free.

    He reached in his pocket, pulled out a $5 bill, and insisted that I take it. I told him I didn’t want it, but he literally forced it on me. He then pulled out a badge and said I was busted for illegally operating a tour guide business without a license.

    Read the rest of this article here.

    Whaling with the Captain Boomer Collective

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

    Belgium based, Captain Boomer Collective, builds installations that border reality with fictional constructs. Their latest stunt is a beached 15-metre sperm whale looks to have managed to swim up the Manzanares River before coming to an abrupt halt by the arches of the Madrid’s oldest bridge. According to The Guardian the Collective says “The beached whale is a gigantic metaphor for the disruption of our ecological system. People feel their bond with nature is disturbed. The game between fiction and reality reinforces this feeling of disturbance.” As part of the installation, “scientists” from the fictional organization, the North Sea Whale Association, take samples of skin, make autopsies and dissections in front of the public and interact with crowds while remaining in character.

    The statue was previously showcased in other European locations such as Paris, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.


    ‘A riddle from the deep’: hyper-real whale found beached in Madrid
    by Sam Jones
    The Guardian
    September 14, 2018

    After sightings in London and Paris, whale is now making waves in Spanish capital

    Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

    Call me Ishmael. Or, better still, Spanish whale.

    Madrid awoke on Friday morning to find that a 15-metre sperm whale had managed to swim up the Manzanares River before coming to an abrupt halt by the arches of the city’s oldest bridge.

    The intrepid mammal turned out to be the hyper-real model – previously sighted as far afield as London, Paris and Antwerp – that a Belgian art collective is using to shock people into thinking about the environment.

    The installation, by the Segovia Bridge, comes complete with a team of actors dressed as rescuers, who hose down the beached creature.

    Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

    Madrid’s city council said the whale, which will remain stranded until Sunday, was intended to act as a catalyst. “It’s meant to get people thinking, through art, about the kind of city they want to live in and what sort of part they can play in looking after the environment,” it said in a statement.

    Captain Boomer, the collective behind the work, said it was aiming for something a little more primordial: “A dumb question from the sea to man. A riddle from the deep … The beached whale is a gigantic metaphor for the disruption of our ecological system. People feel their bond with nature is disturbed. The game between fiction and reality reinforces this feeling of disturbance.”

    Madrileños appeared to be taking the cetacean incursion as a badge of honour. One tongue-in-cheek Twitter user regarded its arrival as further proof of the capital’s excellent water. “A sperm whale has come to die in the Manzanares,” they wrote. “WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?”

    Alan Abel, RIP

    by
    Filed under: Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks

    Better check the coffin!


    Alan Abel, Hoaxer Extraordinaire, Is (on Good Authority) Dead at 94
    by Margalit Fox
    The New York Times
    Sept. 17, 2018

    Credit Larry Stoddard/Associated Press

    Alan Abel, a professional hoaxer who for more than half a century gleefully hoodwinked the American public — not least of all by making himself the subject of an earnest news obituary in The New York Times in 1980 — apparently actually did die, on Friday, at his home in Southbury, Conn. He was 94.

    His daughter, Jenny Abel, said the cause was complications of cancer and heart failure.

    Mr. Abel’s putative 1980 death, orchestrated with his characteristic military precision and involving a dozen accomplices, had been confirmed to The Times by several rigorously rehearsed confederates. One masqueraded as the grieving widow. Another posed as an undertaker, answering fact-checking calls from the newspaper on a dedicated phone line that Mr. Abel had installed, complete with its own directory-information business listing.

    After the obituary was published, Mr. Abel, symbolically rising from the grave, held a gleeful news conference, and a much-abashed Times ran a retraction.

    This time around, Mr. Abel’s death was additionally confirmed by the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Connecticut, which said it had tended to him in his last days, and Carpino Funeral Home in Southbury, which said it was overseeing the arrangements.

    Read the rest of this article here.

    Back-to-School Bulletproof Vests

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

    LA based street artist Plastic Jesus shop-drops back-to-school bullet proof vests.


    Artist Infiltrates Back-to-School Shopping Displays with Bulletproof Vests
    Zachary Small
    Hyperallergic.com
    September 4, 2018

    Plastic Jesus has replaced a handful of shopping displays with child-sized bulletproof vests as a satirization of Trump’s America.

    image courtesy Plastic Jesus

    If you’ve strolled through the clothing sections of a Los Angeles superstore in the past week, then it’s possible that you’ve seen a strange new item on sale. Across the city, the street artist known as Plastic Jesus has planted child-sized bulletproof vests in the displays of popular back-to-school shopping destinations like Target and Macy’s.

    “WAKE THE FUCK UP,” remarked the artist in an email correspondence with Hyperallergic. “We all have the power in us to change society and make the world a better place. It’s no one else’s responsibility, only yours.”

    image courtesy Plastic Jesus

    Plastic Jesus is probably best-known for his exceptional trolling of President Donald Trump in Hollywood back in July 2016. It was then that Plastic Jesus constructed a tiny concrete wall around Trump’s star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, which quickly became a site of public defacement after the reality television host’s win in the presidential election. Just two weeks ago, the city of West Hollywood unanimously voted to remove Trump’s star from the Walk of Fame. (The decision ultimately lies in the hands of the Los Angeles City Council and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, who reportedly have no plans to remove it anytime soon.)

    Porn Hub Caption Writer

    posted by
    Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Not for Kids, Satire
    This post may not be suitable for everyone. Please proceed at your own risk!

    “Deaf people love porn too and it’s my job to make sure they enjoy it on every level.”


    Watch the video:
    PornHub Caption Writer – Mini-Mocks from Comedy Central

    h/t Digg