Genius, simply genius.
Many a visitor to New York’s Museum of Modern Art has probably thought, “I could do that.” A British graffiti artist who goes by the name “Banksy” went one step further, by smuggling in his own picture of a soup can and hanging it on a wall, where it stayed for more than three days earlier this month before anybody noticed.
The prank was part of a coordinated plan to infiltrate four of New York’s top museums on a single day. The largest piece, which he smuggled into the Brooklyn Museum, was a 2 foot by 1.5 foot (61cm by 46 cm) oil painting of a colonial-era admiral, to which the artist had added a can of spray paint in his hand and anti-war graffiti in the background.
The other two targets were the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, where he hung a glass-encased beetle with fighter jet wings and missiles attached to its body — another comment on war, Banksy told Reuters on Thursday. “It was just an outsider’s view of the modern American bug, bristling with listening devices and military hardware,” he said.
An art Web site called www.woostercollective.com has posted pictures of the artist — wearing an Inspector Clouseau-style overcoat, a hat and a fake beard and nose — hanging up his work at the four museums and describing how he did it.
Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location in Britain, Banksy said he conducted all four operations on March 13, helped by accomplices who filmed him and provided distractions where necessary. “They staged a gay tiff (lovers’ quarrel), shouting very loudly and obnoxiously,” said the artist, declining to give his real name or any personal details beyond his occupation as a professional painter and decorator.
It is not the first time he has staged such stunts. Last year he smuggled work into the Louvre in Paris and London’s Tate, attracting attention in the British media.
Prankster Smuggles Art Into Top Museums [Reuters]