6 annoying pranks made in the name of Art

1. Faking a rape and murder.

While still in art school, Mendieta invited her fellow students to her apartment where, through a door left ajar, they found her covered in blood. She was recreating a murder scene as reported in the press. It was her response to a brutal rape and murder of a nursing student, Sara Ann Otten on March 1973.
None of the students that went that day to Mendieta’s apartment knew this was a performance.


Untitled (Rape Scene) is the documentation of an action that the artist performed in her apartment in Iowa City, while she was a student at the University of Iowa on the innovative Intermedia art course run by the German artist Hans Breder (born 1935). It was created in response to a brutal and highly publicised rape and murder of a nursing student, Sara Ann Otten, by another student in March 1973. The following month Mendieta invited her fellow students to her apartment where, through a door left purposefully ajar, they found her in the position recorded in this photograph, which recreated the scene as reported in the press. Some time later, Mendieta recalled that her audience ‘all sat down, and started talking about it. I didn’t move. I stayed in position about an hour. It really jolted them.’ (Quoted in Ana Mendieta, p.127, note 11.) In 1980, she commented that the rape had ‘moved and frightened’ her, elaborating: ‘I think all my work has been like that – a personal response to a situation … I can’t see being theoretical about an issue like that.’ (Quoted in Ana Mendieta, p.90.) On another occasion she explained that she had created this work ‘as a reaction against the idea of violence against women’ (quoted in Viso 2004, p.256, note 58).

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m204/staringnun/AnaMendietaRapeScene1973MoffitStreetLowaCityLowa_zps7ad2c911.jpg EDITED: That image is absolutely NSFW. Keep images like that behind a link instead of making them display in the pitch. – TheSoundDefense

2. King Mob steals Christmas.

The art group King Mob stormed Selfridges’, a London store. A man dressed up as Santa Claus, along with some helpers, started to give away the department store’s toys to the children. But soon came the police, and the little ones witnessed how one Santa’s helper was placed under arrest, while the rest ran away. But the worst part was when they had to give back their “gifts”.

The action was accompanied by a one page manifesto, which headline ran: “Christmas, it was meant to be great but it’s horrible”. One of the participants was Malcolm McLaren, the Sex Pistols manager.

Title: Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century.
Author: Greil Marcus

The group threw a potlach in Selfridges’, with a man dressed as Santa Claus giving away the department store’s toys to throngs of happy children. 

Title: England’s dreaming.
Author: Jon Savage.

This action was accompanied by an anonymous one page, broad sheet manifesto(…) McLaren was one of the twenty five. 



3. Wanking and talking dirty in an art gallery (Sample entry)

Vito Acconci performed his Seedbed in New York’s Sonnabend Gallery during January 1971. With this performance, the artist gave a literal meaning to the term “jerk-off artist”.
All the visitors who entered the gallery didn’t find anything at first sight. Maybe they noticed a wooden ramp on the floor. Suddenly, a voice whispered through the gallery speakers things like “I’m doing this with you now. I’m moving toward you. Leaning toward you”. It was clear that the man speaking was as horny as a Disney ex-tween idol. Then, he was more specific and said things like: “you’re on my left, you’re moving away but I’m pushing my body against you, into the corner”. Now it was clear that he was seeing the visitor through the wooden ramp on the floor.
To dispel doubts, he insisted in claiming that he was “masturbating: I have to continue all day—cover the floor with sperm, seed the floor”. By now, the visitor probably have run away in case the man hidden would come out to wax the floor. Yes, Vito Acconci was below the wooden ramp, masturbating and projecting his sexual fantasies to everyone who came near. Like any respectable seventies New Yorker pervert would do.
His handcrafted performance lasted a whole day. Seedbed was one the most notorious art pieces in his carrier. What would take you to jail, it took him to the art pantheon.

Vito Acconci – Seedbed


In January 1971, Acconci performed Seedbed intermittently at New York’s Sonnabend Gallery. On days he performed, visitors entered to find the gallery empty except for a low wooden ramp. Below the ramp, out of sight, Acconci masturbated, basing his sexual fantasies on the movement of visitors above him. He narrated these fantasies aloud, his voice projected through speakers into the gallery.

4. Faking the George Bush’s website.


In April 1999, the art group ®Tmark published GWBush.com, a fake website of Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush. His real website is GeorgeWBush.com. Bush’s lawyers sent them a threatening letter.
This encouraged the art activists, so they published a second version of GWBush.com, with much more content. This time the Bush campaign complained to the Federal Elections Commission.
These attacks appeared in the media. When a reporter question him about the site, Bush’s televised response was: “There ought to be limits to freedom.” This infamous line is still remembered.


When asked at a news conference in May what he thought about the site, Bush let loose, saying it was produced by a “garbage man” and suggesting that “there ought to be limits to freedom”–a line Bush’s online critics have vowed to never let the world forget.

5. Illegally releasing a new Beck CD.

Another action by ®Tmark. They released a “new” Beck CD, titled Deconstructing Beck.
But Beck didn’t like it. In fact it wasn’t really his work. Deconstructing Beck was a bunch of allegedly illegal samplings of Beck songs, produced by Illegal Art, who sold the CD by mail.
Brian McPherson, Beck’s attorney, send them an email in which he stated that: “You will be hearing from me, Universal Music Group, BMG Music Publishing and Geffen Records very shortly”.


Back in 1998, when the U2/Negativland imbroglio was still fresh in memory and sampling in music was still a hotly debated matter, the Illegal Art label released Deconstructing Beck, a compilation of culture-jamming remix artists running Beck’s music through the wringer. The purpose was to call attention to a sticking point in the debate over sampling in music


6. Stealing the gallery owner’s car and joyriding.

Artists Patricia Silva and Eric Clinton Anderson while visiting an art gallery, noticed that the gallery owner’s Volvo was parked inside, with the keys in the ignition. They took it as a kind of ‘do as you please’ and they spontaneously decided to go for a ride.
But Gavin Brown, the owner of the car and the gallery, thought somebody stole his car and didn’t know who… until the artists tweeted and posted on Facebook their art joyride.


Anderson explains that “We didn’t know much about the show beyond the usual ‘do as you please’ side.” Silva adds, “The absence of authority made it feel so fresh.” How fresh? They spontaneously decided to go for a drive. “We were really impressed at the boldness of the artist and gallery for having such an anarchic level of interactivity. So we jumped in, pulled out, and took the Volvo up the West Side Highway. Hell yeah!”