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London's Hayward Gallery will soon be hosting an exhibition of invisible art. It's the kind of art where you basically have to take the artist's word for it that there's something there.

Included will be works such as Warhol's Invisible Sculpture, "which consists of an empty plinth, on which he had once briefly stepped." Also, 1000 Hours of Staring, which is "a blank piece of paper at which artist Tom Friedman has stared repeatedly over the space of five years."

I wonder how copyright pertains to invisible art. Can you sue someone for copying your blank canvas? Link:

Below are some examples of invisible art.

1000 Hours of Staring by Tom Friedman (purest of treats)

7 Days of Death/At the Grave/People Looking Down, by Bruno Jakob (kunsthausbaselland)

Invisible Sculpture by Warhol (artnet)
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Wed May 23, 2012
Comments (4)

This image (which appears on a lot of humor and weird picture sites around the web) is often captioned, "Why boys need parents." And try as I might, that's the only information I can find out about it. Where it came from and who created it, I have no idea.

I'm not even sure whether this is a photograph or a painting, though I suspect it's a painting. The low resolution makes it difficult to tell, and I can't find any higher-res copies. It's the boy's legs, in particular, that make me suspect it's a painting. They look slightly unrealistic.

So I'm posting this here in the hope that someone, at some point, might come along who knows something about the source of this image.

Update: Thanks to pazuzu for quickly identifying the source of this painting. (Yes, I was right. It's a painting!) It's an oil on canvas by Ron Francis titled "Skateboarding". Francis writes: "This image was inspired by a childhood memory. The suburb was somewhere around the north side of Sydney harbour and I was the boy on the skateboard."
Categories: Art, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon May 07, 2012
Comments (2)
Montreal-based artist Maskull Lasserre has designed shoes that make footprints in the ground as you walk along, instead of shoe prints. He's got a human-footprint shoe, but also a bigfoot-print shoe. He's quoted as saying:

'Living now in the city, I found a strange kind of loneliness seeing only human shoe prints in the puddles and snow. 'This project was my way of introducing a sort of mysterious possibility to the urban landscape, for those who happened upon it. 'But I admit that I just couldn't resist making a Bigfoot track.'

It doesn't seem that the shoes are available for purchase because each shoe is hand-carved. He shows them at art exhibitions, but he does sometimes wear them around himself. (link:

Categories: Art, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 18, 2012
Comments (0)
The Chicago Tribune tells the story of the detective work conducted by conservator Barry Bauman that led to his exposure of a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln as a fraud. Lincoln (and, by association, his wife) is one of those historical figures who's like a magnet for hoaxes. Other hoax magnets would include George Washington and Hitler.

Anatomy of a fake Lincoln
Chicago Tribune

...The original portrait, painted perhaps in the mid-1860s, is of a still-anonymous woman. She wore a crucifix around her neck — Mary wasn't Catholic and never would have worn one, so it had been painted out — and had a floral brooch over which was painted the Lincoln brooch.

Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 18, 2012
Comments (1)
Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano (great name... can that be the name she was born with?) has created a series of works that comment on the media obsession with photoshopping models to look thin and flawless. She's taken famous classical nudes and made them thinner. So Botticelli's Venus gets slimmed down for the beach, as does Francesco Hayez's Venus. The New York Daily News quotes her as saying:

Art is always in search of the perfect physical form. It has evolved through history, from the classical proportions of ancient Greece to the prosperous beauty of the Renaissance, to the spindly look of models like Twiggy and the athletic look of our own time.

Categories: Art, Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 06, 2012
Comments (1)
If you've got a spare $285,000, you can buy a piece of a famous art hoax: one of the fake Modigliani sculptures found in the city of Livorno in 1984. It's up for sale on eBay. I've noticed it up there for a couple of weeks, so evidently people aren't rushing to bid on it, even though it comes with free shipping.

The backstory, briefly: There was a legend in the Italian town of Livorno that when Modigliani left there in 1906, at the age of twenty-one, he dumped a bunch of sculptures in a canal in a fit of depression. So in 1984, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, the town decided to dredge the canal to see if any Modigliani sculptures were still down there. To their surprise, they found three sculpted heads, in Modigliani's style. But their excitement was shortlived, because a few weeks later the heads were revealed to be a hoax. Two separate groups were responsible. Three university students had made one of the heads, and a dockworker, Angelo Froglia, had made the other two. Fuller versions of the story here and here.

The head now on sale is one of the two made by Froglia. The eBay seller says it was bought from Froglia's companion after death. The other two Modigliani heads are owned by the City of Livorno.

This auction confirms my long-felt belief that to really have a Museum of Hoaxes, stocked with genuine artifacts from the history of hoaxing, would require a boatload of cash.
Categories: Art, eBay
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 17, 2012
Comments (0)
Questions have been raised about the authenticity of a valuable and historically important painting, Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross. And the debate about the painting is tangled up in a controversy about the so-called Eureka Flag, which is believed to be the precursor to Australia's current national flag.

Story in Brief: The Eureka Flag rose to prominence in the mid-20th Century, at which time it became a symbol of Australian nationalism. But questions lingered about its authenticity as a precursor to the current flag. Then, in 1996, the 'Swearing Allegiance' painting was discovered in someone's attic. It was said to have been painted by a Quebec artist-adventurer, Charles Doudiet, in the mid-nineteenth century, and it showed a scene from the Eureka Rebellion of 1854, in which Doudiet was said to have participated. More importantly, it showed the Eureka Flag. Thus, if the painting was real, the flag's history was also genuine.

But recently an anonymous source contacted The Sunday Age alleging the painting was a fake. A tip from an anonymous source doesn't seem like much to go on. But apparently there's almost no information about this Charles Doudiet, even though he supposedly was a pivotal figure in the Eureka rebellion. Also, the painting was never forensics tested. The Ballarat Gallery, which owns the painting, has promised it's going to look into the matter. Links: The Sunday Age, Vancouver Sun.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 12, 2012
Comments (1)
Here are some pictures, courtesy of Nettie and Smerk, of the Cardiff Giant enjoying the sights in Perth. (Nettie sent me the pictures about three weeks ago, but Thanksgiving and the moon hoax distracted me. At least, that's the excuse for my slowness that I'm going with.)

So where should the Cardiff Giant go next? Any volunteers to host him? I'm hoping it might be possible to send him somewhere in the general neighborhood of Australia. Japan, maybe? I'll wait a week for responses, and in the meantime I'll also see if I can find any volunteers through non-MoH channels.
Categories: Art, Exploration/Travel, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 16, 2011
Comments (6)
I use Google news alerts to find out whenever various keywords I'm interested in appear in news stories or on websites. One of these keywords is "Cardiff Giant". This particular keyword search doesn't usually generate many results. Perhaps one or two a week. But on friday night my patience was rewarded when I got a google news alert about the creation of a new site:

The site is the creation of a Pasadena-based artist who chooses to remain anonymous, using the alias "Cardiff1869". Inspired by the Cardiff Giant of 1869 (which I posted about just a few days ago), he (or perhaps she) is creating a limited series of small-scale replicas of the Cardiff Giant. And he's leaving these miniature giants at various public locations around Pasadena. He explains:

These Cardiff1869 art installations are meant to be found at random by lucky passers-by (known as “Finders” on this web site) who then become a special part of the Cardiff1869 Free Art Project by discovering their own little “Cardiff Giant”.

The primary goal/intent of the Cardiff1869 Project is to allow people to experience the unique joy and wonder of discovering a free and anonymous gift of hand sculpted art, and to allow them the rare opportunity to ponder its mysterious origins and significance, just as the public did back in 1869 when the original Cardiff Giant was discovered.

In the past, I've actually searched quite extensively to find out if anyone had ever created small replicas of the Cardiff Giant, because while it would be impractical for me to keep a full-scale, ten-foot stone giant in my house, I very much wanted to have a smaller version of the giant to call my own. So to find out that little Cardiff Giants were being placed around Pasadena, which is only 2 hours away from where I live, seemed too good to be true.

I briefly wondered whether it was all a hoax. I also wondered whether it would be cheating to purposefully look for the statues. So I emailed Cardiff1869 who assured me that, "Purposefully looking for an installation is common in Street Art. No worries. There is a large sub-culture of Street Art fans who are always on the lookout for new works by their favorite artists - especially the 3D/Sculpture type 'Street Installations' they can actually take and keep."

So early the next morning I dragged my wife out of bed (she was quite willing to humor me and go along, which is one of the reasons I'm so lucky she married me), and we headed up to Pasadena to search for Cardiff Giants.

According to the Cardiff1869 site, six giants had been placed, and four of them had already been found. That left only 2. We quickly confirmed that one of these was also gone, and then spent a fruitless hour-and-a-half searching for the other one, which was supposed to be somewhere on Magnolia St.

I was feeling pretty downbeat, thinking I wasn't going to find a giant. But then my wife and I checked the Cardiff1869 site again and discovered that, just that morning, two more giants had been placed. We must have looked like contestants from the show Amazing Race as we sped toward the new locations. I jumped out of the car at an intersection and sprinted across the road to the WWI Veterans Memorial where one of them was placed. It was still there, placed on a piece of slate surrounded by a circle of stones!


Within half an hour we had located the second one, which was placed on the Colorado St. Bridge. Here I am, moments after finding it. Note that I wore my Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum t-shirt for the hunt, since Marvin's Museum has a Cardiff Giant replica on display. (Kind of nerdy, I know, but I was having fun.)


So I'm now the proud guardian of two little Cardiff Giants. Here's a photo of one of them meeting some of the other residents of the Museum of Hoaxes.


Cardiff1869 tells me that one of the giants — the one on Magnolia St. that I searched for but couldn't find — is still there waiting to be found! Plus, he'll soon be placing more giants. So if you live in the LA area and you're interested in a treasure hunt to find a Cardiff Giant, now's your chance. Keep watching his site to find out the new locations. I had great fun searching for the giants, and I want to thank Cardiff1869 for taking the time to put together such a great project!

So what am I going to do with my giants? One of them I'd like to send on a round-the-world tour — like a traveling gnome adventure. A while back Nettie tried to organize a MoH traveling gnome project, but I completely botched the project. She sent me the gnome, Bumpkin, which I then passed on to a friend of mine here in San Diego who was doing a driving tour of the midwest. Unfortunately my friend lost Bumpkin's legs somewhere in the midwest. So that ended Bumpkin's adventures. I've felt responsible for killing Bumpkin ever since.

So anyway, to partially make up for that previous disaster, I'm happy to send you the Cardiff Giant first, Nettie, if you're interested. And anyone else who wants to participate in the Cardiff Giant's world tour, let me know. We'll put together an itinerary for him.

As for the second cardiff giant — I plan eventually to relocate him somewhere. When I find him a new home, I'll post the details.
Categories: Art, Exploration/Travel
Posted by Alex on Sun Oct 09, 2011
Comments (9)
ms cardiff giant
Syracuse-based artist Ty Marshal has created a replica of the Cardiff Giant, according to its original size specifications (ten-feet tall). His replica is going to be buried in Syracuse's Lipe Art Park and then unearthed on October 16, the anniversary of the date on which the Giant was first "found" on William Newell's farm back in 1869.

After being unearthed, Marshal's giant will remain on display in the park, under a tent, for one week. Visitors will be allowed to view it for 25 cents. Then, using a horse and cart, the Giant will be transported to the Atrium in Syracuse's City Hall Commons where it will be displayed until the end of October. Visitors will also be able to buy Cardiff Giant-themed merchandise: soap, chocolate, wine, and coffee. (As a long-time collector of hoax-themed merchandise, I HAVE to get all of that stuff!)

You can find more details about Marshal's project on his website:

There's actually a long history of recreating the Cardiff Giant. Back in the 1870s quite a few showmen paid artists to recreate the Giant, which they then displayed, as a way to cash in on the popular interest in the phenomenon. The most famous of these replicas was displayed by P.T. Barnum in New York City, and (much to the annoyance of the owners of the real giant) attracted more visitors than the actual giant, which was simultaneously on display a few blocks away.

In 1976, a service club in Cardiff, New York created a "Mrs. Cardiff Giant", which they buried and then unearthed. You can see it (note the breasts) in the slightly blurry picture below.

ms cardiff giant

Currently there are four Cardiff Giants on display (not counting Marshal's new one): at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown (this is the real giant), the Fort Museum in Fort Dodge, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit, and the Circus Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Categories: Art, Celebrations, History
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 29, 2011
Comments (2)
From the Salt Lake Tribune:

According to charging documents, the couple agreed to sell another man six Andy Warhol art pieces for $100,000 in February 2008. The man was told that the subject of the art was Mathew Baldwin, purportedly one of the brothers in the family of actors. The pieces were signed and dated 1996.
After giving the couple a down payment of $25,000, the man took the art to an appraiser in California. The appraiser informed the man the art was fake because there was no Mathew in the famous Baldwin family. He also pointed out that the signatures were forged because Warhol died in 1987, charging documents state.

The fact that the buyer didn't bother to check if there really was such a person as "Mathew Baldwin" before forking over $25,000 to the couple makes him almost dumber than they are.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Comments (6)
Another film about a famous hoaxer is in the works. Julian Temple plans to make a movie about the art forger Elmyr de Hory. From reuters:

The British filmmaker will take on the story of art faker Elmyr de Hory, who created and sold forgeries of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Matisse to collectors around the world between the 1940s and 1960s.
De Hory, a Hungarian native, told his story to the equally notorious hoax biographer Clifford Irving (played by Richard Gere in "The Hoax" in 2007) for the book "Fake!" Additionally, Orson Welles made a documentary about him, "F For Fake."
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Comments (3)
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