Art Pranks

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“Hippie Bus Tour to Queens” Remembered 50 Years Later

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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

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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?”

NeSpoon’s Doilies

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Doilies writ large.


Street art with a difference: Artist creates spectacular wall-art doilies
by Paulina Alexandra
TheFirstNews.com
August 16, 2018

A Polish woman is taking the street art world by storm with her astonishing murals of doilies.

NeSpoon in Pont-l’Abbe, France, 2016. NeSpoon.

NeSpoon is nine years-old and paints murals. Actually, NeSpoon is in her thirties and has a teenage daughter but after a decade in the corporate world she wanted a clean state.

She changed her hair, took a name from The Matrix (‘there is no spoon’) and embarked on an international career as a fully-fledged street artist.

The Warsaw native is known all over the world now for her intricate doily designs which she renders in ceramic, material and painted form.

Her enormous murals of the delicate lace-work designs have seen her travel to Georgia, Hong Kong and as far away as the remote Western Australian desert.

Portugal, 2014. NeSpoon.

Berlin, 2017. NeSpoon.

Read the rest of this article here.

“Indecline” Ups the Ante with Naked Trump on a Billboard

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Activists Indecline hoist up naked Trump. Let’s hope this clown doesn’t get away with murder.


Billboard pairs naked Trump clown statue with John Wayne Gacy quote
by Emily Van de Riet
CBS46.com
August 17, 2018

LOS ANGELES, California (Meredith) — A billboard in Los Angeles is stirring up controversy after displaying a statue of President Donald Trump as a naked clown.

The billboard reads, “A clown can get away with murder” in all capital letters. This quote is attributed to serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who infamously dressed up as a clown when he killed his victims.

The American activist group Indecline is responsible for creating the billboard. In a statement to CNN, Indecline said the message of the billboard is that American core values are being lost in the current political climate.

The group also said the use of the John Wayne Gacy quote was inspired by Trump’s own statement at a campaign rally in January 2016. At the Iowa rally, the then-presidential candidate said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Indecline said Trump was correct about the loyalty of his base, and that such unconditional support is part of the problem.

Read the rest of this article here.

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.

Culture Jamming Godfather Gets a Fitting Tribute

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, First Amendment Issues, Legal Issues, Media Literacy, Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

In 1981, Don Joyce launched Over the Edge, a weekly program on KPFA in Berkeley comprised of cut-up tapes and surrealist social commentary. By the time he passed in 2015, he had been a core member of the legendary avant-garde rock band Negativland, engaged in numerous high-profile intellectual property controversies (including tangles with Pepsi and U2), helped popularize the plunderphonics movement (which intersected with hip-hop and helped define internet culture), and coined the phrase “culture jamming.”

A new documentary takes a thoughtful and haunting look at this bold, brilliant, and stubborn creative force.


An Affectionate and Honest Filmic Portrait of Negativland’s Don Joyce
By Paul Riismandel
Radio Survivor
April 8, 2018

Musician, DJ and radio artist Don Joyce passed away nearly three years ago, on July 22, 2015. He left behind a voluminous archive of his KPFA radio program “Over the Edge,” which took off in new, chaotic and creative directions when he welcomed the participation of the experimental band Negativland in 1981, then joining the group.

The documentary “How Radio Isn’t Done” (DVD) sheds light on Joyce and his life, work and his process for recontextualizing the never-ending flow of media messages that flood everyday life. Director Ryan Worsley paints an affectionate, but honest portrait of a man who poured tremendous quantities of inspiration, energy and effort into his community radio program, leaving the impression that it was something he just had to do. Read more.

Banksy Immortalizes Painting That Caused Artist Zehra Dogan’s Arrest & Imprisonment in Turkey

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Banksy’s new mural in collaboration with Borf, aka John Tsombikos, brings jailed Turkish artist Zehra Dogan’s work to New York.


New Banksy NYC mural supports jailed Turkish artist
by Janon Fisher
New York Daily News
March 17, 2018

The mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy created a 70-foot mural on the Houston Bowery Graffiti Wall showing Turkish artist Zehra Dogan trapped behind hashmarks. (FRANK FRANKLIN II/AP)

Mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy can't stay away from the Big Apple.

After tagging the clock face on a West Village bank, he moved east Thursday, with a sidewalk to rooftop display drawing attention to the plight of a jailed artist.

The 70-foot mural on the Houston Bowery Graffiti Wall shows Turkish artist Zehra Dogan trapped behind a set of hashmarks meant to symbolize her prison bars.

Dogan was sentenced to nearly three years in jail for painting a the town of Nasybin laid waste by the Turkish after a battle with Kurdish forces.

She copied the photo from a newspaper then painted it in watercolor, adding Turkish flags to the scene, according to her publicist.

Dogan was arrested after she posted the image on social media.

The timing of the mural marks the one year anniversary of her incarceration.

Her watercolor stretches out across the top of the building where Banksy has painted his mural.

"I really feel for her. I've painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence," Banksy told The New York Times in a statement.

Harvey’s Casting Couch Immortalized

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

Artists Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe bring the Hollywood casting couch out of the shadows, just in time for the Oscars.


Gold Harvey Weinstein Casting Couch Appears Near Oscars Venue
by Emmet McDermott
Hollywood Reporter
March 1, 2018

The piece is the work of Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, the artist behind the infamous naked Donald Trump statues.

A robe-swaddled Harvey Weinstein statue, sitting arms spread on a golden chaise lounge urging pedestrians to sit beside him, appeared in Hollywood on Thursday days before the 90th Academy Awards ceremony.

The sculpture, located on Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, is a collaboration between street artists Plastic Jesus, best known for his annual Oscar season installations that take aim at the dark side of show business, and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, the artist behind the infamous naked Donald Trump statues.

The piece was intentionally crafted to allow passersby to sit beside Weinstein and take photos with him. Clenched in Weinstein’s right hand is an Oscar statue, strategically placed near his groin.

“For many years the exploitation of many hopefuls and established names in the industry was brushed under the carpet with their complaints of harassment and sexual abuse being ignored or worse,” Plastic Jesus tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Hopefully, now in the light of recent allegations against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up its act.”

Plastic Jesus does not give his name but has said that he is a former London photojournalist who moved to L.A. many years ago to explore installation art as a way to tackle sociopolitical issues. His works include last year’s Kanye West crucifixion sculpture, on which he also collaborated with Ginger, and 2015’s coke-snorting Oscar statue. Ginger is a Las Vegas-based artist. His naked Donald Trump statues were installed across multiple cities in 2016.

According to the artists, the life-size Weinstein sculpture took two months to produce. A casting was initially taken from a friend of the artists, and Ginger subsequently molded the face to match Weinstein’s. (more…)

The Art of Getting Even

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Parody, Prank News

Don’t get mad get even. Interlochen Center for the Arts prankees prank back… with a flourish.


Art Prank At Museum Fundraiser Goes Viral
by Beth Milligan
Traverse Ticker
Feb. 27, 2018

Instructors in the Visual Arts department at Interlochen Center for the Arts stole the spotlight at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum A-Ha! Fundraiser this weekend with a prank on one of their colleagues – a stunt that went viral on the Internet.

Mindy Ronayne and Megan Hildebrandt, both Interlochen instructors and members of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum board, snuck a last-minute addition into the fundraiser’s silent auction Saturday. The duo submitted a parody painting inspired by a famous portrait of Gerard Andriesz Bicker, painted by the Dutch artist Bartholomeus Van Der Helst in the 17th century and exhibited at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The head on the parody painting was of Andy Schmitt, director of information technology at Interlochen. The bid card for the painting read:

Portrait of Andrea D. Schmitty: First President of the Grand Traverse Feline Association and sister-in-law of Ann, the wife of lumber baron and Father of Traverse City, Perry Hannah. Andrea was also a successful game hunter and lifelong advocate in the fight to stop the cat skinning trade. Widely known as a tinkering enthusiast.

(more…)

RIP Jim Hosking, 1941-2018

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Filed under: Art Pranks, The History of Pranks

Sad to say, friend and co-conspirator Jim Hosking passed away.

Jim Hosking (l) with Joey Skaggs (r), E. 3rd Street, NY, 1965

Indecline’s “Grave New World”

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

The activist art collective Indecline, which previously goosed U.S. President Donald Trump with controversial naked statues and other photogenic stunts, has created a new piece of fake real estate for him to own.


“Artists Create a Cemetery for the Things Donald Trump Killed in 2017”
By Elena Goukassian
Hyperallergic
January 23, 2018

Late last Friday night at a golf course in rural New Jersey, a group of people wearing ski masks pulled up in a white van disguised as a Time Warner Cable vehicle and proceeded to plant six gravestones, complete with votive candles, miniature American flags, and roses. When the sun came up, they returned to the scene of the crime, documenting their deed.

Commemorating the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration, guerrilla street art collective Indecline - who installed naked Trump statues in public parks throughout the country in 2016 and strung "Ku Klux Klowns" in Richmond's Bryan Park last fall - decided to create a kind of "political report card, in essence, a year in review," an anonymous representative of the group told Hyperallergic in a phone interview.

Titled "Grave New World," the project's gravestones mark the end of concepts like "Decency," which died with Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017 (as the stone crudely says, "We ‘moved on her like a bitch’") and "The Last Snowman," which died the day Trump decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement ("Rest assured he was giving a scientist the finger as he went"). The remaining four stones mark the death of the American Dream with the immigration ban; of "Our Future" with the end of DACA; of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the arrival of Mick Mulvaney; and of "Those Bootstraps They Keep Talking About" with the latest tax bill. The anonymous representative noted that they really had to narrow down the gravestones from "a diverse selection of things Trump fucked up" in the last year. "We would have needed a much larger budget to cover everything." Read more.

“Walk Right!” Revisted

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

The New York Post is just catching up… In December of 1984, Joseph Virgil Skaggs (a.k.a. Joey Skaggs) formed WALK RIGHT! - an ad hoc group of vigilante sidewalk etiquette enforcers who patrolled the streets to make New York a better place to live and walk. Dressed in all black with WALK RIGHT! sweat shirts they enforced a list of sixty six rules for pedestrians they wanted enacted into law.


Tourists, we're begging you: Please learn how to walk in NYC
By Barbara Hoffman
New York Post
December 22, 2017

Welcome to Gridlock Central, otherwise known as New York City during the holidays. It helps to remember that you're not in Kansas anymore - or Manitoba, for that matter. Life will be so much better for yourself and everyone around you if you observe a few basic rules.
In other words, walk this way:

Keep right.
If you're walking more slowly than the natives - and there's a good reason for the phrase "a New York minute" - stay to the right on stairs, escalators and sidewalks, so we can step nimbly by you.

Separate.
Two-by-two worked for Noah's Ark, but not Midtown. If you must hold hands, prepare to break away when we come barreling toward you, desperate to flag that cab. Walking four abreast as a family? Fuhgeddaboutit. Pair off and stay close.

Don't stop short.
Unless, of course, you're about to be run over. But certainly step aside and out of traffic's way to admire that tall building, marvel at a panhandler or snap a selfie. Speaking of which:

Don't text in revolving doors.
Even seasoned New Yorkers can't juggle that. You can wait 30 seconds before tweeting, "Guess where I am?"

(more…)

Watch the Movie the Mainstream Media Does Not Want You To See!

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

ART OF THE PRANK (the movie)
is now available for
Community Screenings
and on
VOD on iTunes, Amazon and more!

READ THE PRESS RELEASE HERE:
The Movie the Mainstream Media Does Not Want Anyone to See
Relight Films releases “Art of the Prank,”
an expose of the weaknesses of the news media.

Bulgarian Superhero Shenanigans

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

Bulgarian vandals are disrespecting Soviet military monuments, and the Russian government wants them to cut it out right now. H/t Naomi.


“Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Painting Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes”
By Staff
Earthly Mission
October 20, 2017

According to a report by the Moscow Times, pranksters in Bulgaria are repainting Soviet-era monuments so that Soviet military heroes look like American Superheroes. Needless to say, the Russians are not too happy about it.

Watch the video and then read more:

Sim Cities

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fact or Fiction?, Illusion and Magic, Prank News, Pranksters

Photographer Gregor Sailer’s new book focuses on incredibly detailed, entirely uninhabited, completely fake urban landscapes.


“These Cities Might Look Real But They’re 100% Fake”
By Laura Mallonee
Wired
October 25, 2017

Junction City has all the trappings of an Iraqi town: a brightly painted mosque; shops adorned with Arabic script; the occasional humvee or tank rumbling by. But you won't find it anywhere near Mosul. It’s a stage set at Fort Irwin, in the middle of California's Mojave Desert, where US troops simulate fighting insurgents.

"It's a lonely place, full of buildings no one will ever live in," says photographer Gregor Sailer. "It's like a ghost city-the wind smashing the doors, blowing through the streets."

Sailer captured Junction City and 21 other fake urban landscapes for his fascinating new book The Potemkin Village. They include a New York-themed town in Sweden built to test cars for road safety; a Russian city with elaborate facades disguising forlorn buildings; and a Dutch hamlet in China that tourists visit for a taste of Europe. "Sometimes they're more real and other times they're more an illusion," Sailer says. "I'm jumping between these two worlds, and that's what makes it exciting for me." Read more.