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

John Wilcock, RIP

by
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Literacy

Lost another friend from long ago…

Update: Nice link from Rich Gedney of an article by Michael O’Connell in It’s All Journalism about John Wilcock (includes a 2017 audio interview):
It’s All Journalism: Underground Press Pioneer John Wilcock, 91, Dies


John Wilcock, Pioneer of the Underground Press, Dies at 91
by Robert D. McFadden
The New York Times
September 13, 2018

John Wilcock, a British journalist and travel writer who played a major role in the emergence of the alternative press at The Village Voice, The East Village Other and the Underground Press Syndicate, died on Thursday at a care facility in Ojai, Calif. He was 91.

He died after several strokes, said his biographer, Ethan Persoff.

In the 1960s and early ’70s, a freewheeling age of psychedelic drugs and antiwar protests, Mr. Wilcock led two lives. He was both the author of many “$5 a day” travel books and a driving force behind underground publications that, spurning traditional journalism, attacked political, social and cultural norms with bawdy language and comic-book imagery, all of it financed by sexually explicit advertising.

In a 1973 profile, The New York Times called Mr. Wilcock “an influential man nobody knows,” an “oracle of the nitty-gritty of inexpensive, traditional tourism” and “an apostle and chronicler of the radical underground” — although, the article noted, he looked “a bit too scruffy for a best-selling travel writer and far too straight for an underground celebrity.”

Mr. Wilcock had worked for news organizations in Britain, Canada and the United States, including The Times, and was the first news editor of The Village Voice before he helped found The East Village Other in 1965. The paper was named for Carl Jung’s definition of “the other” as “one who is outside society.”

The Other, known as EVO to its devotees, was one of the nation’s first underground newspapers. Published biweekly in New York until it folded in 1972, it had a circulation of 60,000 at its peak.

Read the rest of the article here.

Trump’s Military Parade Revisited

posted by
Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Pranksters, Satire

Don’t postpone it, just cancel Trump’s Military Parade. It’s already been done!

Saving U.S. taxpayers at least $92 million and a lot of embarrassment, artist Joey Skaggs’ 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade featured Donald Trump’s Military Extravaganza, with the world’s largest display of American military might ever! Trump pedaled a 9 foot nuclear missile craddled in a sling shot mounted on a tricycle. Masked Donald Trump look-alikes followed with a HUGE arsenal of toy weapons. They were joined by North Korean “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin look-alikes as they marched down Fifth Avenue and took a knee in front of Trump Tower.

Parade coverage on WNBC (Watch the video):

NeSpoon’s Doilies

posted by
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

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

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.

Tom Bob’s Street Art

posted by
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?

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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

posted by
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.

posted by
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.