For Sale: A Real Warhol Print, Hidden Among 999 Forgeries | Smart News

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Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF (short for “mischief”) sold 999 fake Warhol drawings and 1 real print. All works are billed as identical, making it impossible for consumers to know for sure whether they have the “authentic” impression.
Courtesy of MSCHF

Pop Art icon Andy Warhol rose to prominence in the 1960s by creating sculptures that mimicked mass products sold in regular grocery stores. Playful and controversial, works such as Brillo box (1964) and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Boxes (1971) questioned conventional notions of how art should be identified and valued.

Over 50 years later, Warhol’s enthusiasm for mass production of art, along with his often irreverent attitude towards the establishment, inspired a similar project pushing the boundaries of Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF ( abbreviation of “mischief”).

According to CNN’s Oscar Holland, the team of around 20 artists programmed a robotic arm to create 999 copies of an old Warhol print. Title Fairies (1954), the whimsical line drawing depicts three naked fairies playing with a skipping rope.

For sale: a real Warhol print, hidden among 999 fakes

Andy Warhol, Fairies, 1954

Courtesy of MSCHF

The collective then placed the 1,000 versions of Fairies– a print created by Warhol and 999 identical robot generated counterfeits – on sale for $ 250 each. On Monday, the works were listed as out of print on the collective’s museum of counterfeit website.

Theoretically, buyers should have a hard time discerning whether they received the real deal or one of the 999 fakes. MSCHF claims it doesn’t know which Warhol lookalike is “genuine”. The collective destroyed all records indicating which coin was which and subjected the 2021 prints to a process of “degradation” to thwart the chemical analysis, reports Daniel Cassady for the Art journal. Each work now bears the same title: Maybe a real copy of Fairies by Andy Warhol (2021).

Christie’s sold the original Fairies print for $ 8,125 in 2016 (about $ 9,285 today). Now Michelle Shen notes for United States today, the sketch is worth about $ 20,000. If the 1,000 prints offered by MSCHF sold for their posted price of $ 250, then the collective should collect the much higher sum of $ 250,000.

On its website, the MSCHF describes the project as a critique of “capital-A Art World”, which, according to the group, is “far more concerned with authenticity than aesthetics”.

“By forging Fairies en masse, we erase the trail of provenance of the work of art, ”continues the collective. “… By burying a needle in a pile of needles, we are making the original as much a fake as any of our replicas.” “

For sale: a real Warhol print, hidden among 999 fakes

MSCHF used a robot to create almost exact replicas of Andy Warhol’s print in 1954 Fares.

Courtesy of MSCHF

Speaking to CNN, co-creative director Kevin Wiesner notes that this project, like many of the collective’s previous stunts, is meant to provoke. MSCHF gained notoriety earlier this year when sportswear giant Nike sued the collective for copyright infringement on its “Satan shoes,” a line of sneakers containing actual drops of human blood.

“It’s always great fun making pieces that can simultaneously spit in the face of the art world and do what they’re trying to do, which is to use art as a vehicle for investment. , only better, “Wiesner told CNN.

He adds, “A Warhol piece is completely unrealistic for most people, even if it’s close to getting it. … In a way, we democratize it by allowing everyone to have what could be a Warhol.

The idea of ​​“authenticity” in art has its roots in the 16th century, when the rise of printing allowed the mass reproduction of original works of art. “The print … removed the trace of the artist’s hand from the finished work of art,” Jason Farago wrote for BBC Culture in 2014. “So the value had to come from somewhere else: from a intellectual or even spiritual inspiration, not craftsmanship. “

Today, the battle between authenticity and aesthetics is perhaps best represented by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are essentially digital files that function as permanent records of originality and ownership. Earlier this year, Christie’s sold an NFT of a digital collage of Beeple for $ 69.3 million, the third highest auction price achieved by a living artist.

[I]It’s the certification that really matters to buyers, not the certified thing.

Title Daily: the first 5,000 days, the collage includes images that one would be hard-pressed to call aesthetic: some, in fact, are “downright misogynistic,” Ben Davis wrote for Artnet news in March. “Nothing [are] likely to age well. Another NFT featuring the Nyan Cat meme – which “already exists in millions of identical copies,” according to Blake Gopnik of the Art journal– sold in February for approximately $ 580,000.

“Aesthetically, most NFT artwork is hardly more convincing than empty space,” Gopnik argued in February. “[I]It’s the certification that really matters to buyers, not the certified thing.

Warhol, for his part, pushed back the concept of authenticity by embracing mechanics, removing all personal traces of the artist in favor of reproducing mass-produced objects like soup cans and Brillo cans.

“He incorporated the idea that great artists don’t produce their own works on their own, which at some point later in history would have been as verboten as counterfeiting,” Wiesner said. Artnet news‘Taylor Dafoe. “For us, Museum of Forgeries is about using duplication as a means of destroying art.”

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