5 Real Art Projects That Quickly Turned Into Crimes
For some artists, getting the public riled up is just as much fun as putting paint on their dingaling and using it to draw a landscape, also known as a dongscape. (We've been out of the art scene for a while ... can you tell?)
For the guys on this list, it's not enough to make people mad -- they're not happy until their art straight-up murders someone.
Artists Encase Woman In A Block Of Plaster; Everybody Gets Arrested
Recently, a group of artists sealed a woman in a giant chunk of plaster. She nearly died, because the human body has not yet evolved to survive life in what's basically a goddamned coffin. So why the hell even do this, you ask? Because art. Doy.
Seriously, for reasons we cannot determine other than "art for art's sake," five Dutch street artists staged an exhibit where a woman crawled into a cardboard box, which was then covered in thick layer upon thick layer of gypsum plaster. Her only tool of survival was a breathing straw and a tiny, tiny hole.
And not a shred of glory.
We'll never know what grand statement on existence this stunt was supposed to have made, because "little tiny hole" was amazingly not the foolproof problem-solving tool the artists had banked on. For one thing, every single person involved forgot that plaster hardens. Quickly. Also, it turns out that over a foot of plaster is incredibly heavy and weighs down on cardboard something fierce, meaning that tiny little hole quickly gave out and the girl inside became unable to receive the oxygen necessary for an existence-filled life.
It's like something the mafia would do whenever they feel inspired.
The result was five panicked artists, one extremely panicked subject, and a group of firefighters becoming the real artists here by channeling their inner Michelangelo:
"I call it Ode To Not Getting Paid Enough For This Shit."
Luckily, the girl survived her time in the plaster pond with no major injuries. Unluckily, all the artists were arrested for endangerment, including the girl who agreed to be endangered. Because while blaming the victim is normally fucking stupid, it's perfectly acceptable when dispensing justice for justice's sake.
Ex-MIT Lecturer Films Himself Robbing A Bank
Joseph Gibbons is a performance artist who specializes in autobiographical confessionalism, using "his own life as source material, a laboratory for self-observation and experimentation." In short, he becomes his own exhibit ... one that's been uninterested in keeping its nose clean for a long time.
By his own admission, Gibbons got himself addicted to illicit drugs simply so he would have something interesting to film. He also began dabbling in voyeurism, because nobody gives a shit about Portrait Of The Artist As A Young, Law-Abiding Boy Scout. But, recently, Gibbons unveiled his masterpiece -- robbing a damn bank in broad daylight. At around 2 p.m. on New Year's Eve, he entered a Citizens Bank in Manhattan and demanded money "for the church." But there is no church, only Gibbons. Oh, and Gibbons' camcorder, which was rolling the whole time. Yes, he filmed his own bank heist, because while he made $1,000 that day, his goal was never easy money -- it was to film interesting material for his next movie.
Not surprisingly, somebody this proud of his crime was rather lackadaisical about hiding it -- he was caught and arrested a week later, and one of his first actions was to brag to his cellmate that he hadn't filmed a robbery -- he had filmed art. As for his colleagues at MIT (where he used to lecture), they seem to be taking it as a "That Wacky Joe" kind of moment, with one saying, "I don't think he meant anything by it other than he was just trying to get some good footage. I think he was genuinely working on a film and he just went a little too far with it."
It's like when Daniel Day-Lewis got into character for Lincoln by starting an actual war.
Oh, well, in that case let him keep the $1,000, along with the $3,000 he got from the Rhode Island Citizens Bank he held up in November, presumably as a rehearsal for his big New York City debut. We're sure he'll use the money for something wholesome.
Artists Use Holy Water To Resurrect And Exorcise Vladimir Lenin
Die-hard Communist Russia groupies still insist that, someday, the Reds shall rise again. This is why, 80 years after ascending to that great breadline in the sky, Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin is still lying in a Moscow mausoleum. Believers refuse to bury him, for that would also mean burying the Communist dream.
"I didn't mistakenly appropriate Che Guevara's face for nothing, you know!"
Underground Russian art group Blue Rider rejects this idea, believing that clinging to a failed past serves only to stunt the future's growth. So, in January, during Epiphany (the day Orthodox Christians celebrate Jesus' baptism), two Blue Riders named Oleg Basov and Yevgeny Avilov launched their latest project, "The Exorcist: Desecration Of The Mausoleum":
Chanting "arise and be gone," the two men marched right up to the mausoleum and doused it in nice, cold holy water. The intent was to prove that Lenin was never coming back, since if reviving him the Jesus way couldn't do the trick, it probably means he's dead forever. The cops didn't care, since symbolic exorcism looks an awful lot like trespassing and vandalism to the naked eye, and hauled them off to the cooler immediately.
They made bail by dipping into a burlap sack with a giant ruble sign drawn in front.
The judge sentenced Basov and Avilov to 10 days in jail for "petty hooliganism," which is the most adorable splotch on a criminal record we've ever heard.
Artist Tricks Customers Into Assembling Illegal Weapons
Dutch artist Art van Triest specializes in puzzles. On its own, that doesn't sound like anything -- nobody's claiming their kid's Dora The Explorer puzzle means anything other than 15 minutes of quiet mommy-drinking time, after all. But Art the Artist goes way beyond simple cardboard cut-ups -- he collects real-life, totally illegal weaponry and slices them apart, challenging his patrons to put them back together again, an act that could absolutely get everybody involved extensive prison time.
Which, to be fair, would also happen if you ripped up the Mona Lisa
and then taped her back together.
See, the Netherlands really isn't keen on weaponry, whether they blow someone's head off in the streets or blow their mind in a fancy gallery. The country has very strict gun laws. So what does Van Triest do? He procures an illegal pistol, machete, and Kalashnikov rifle (traveling to Germany for the latter, since his own country was all out for some reason), uses a water jet cutter to slice them into dozens of puzzle pieces, and then puts them on display for the world to see.
That's no way to treat your little friend.
And not just to see, but to touch and play with. In fact, Van Triest considers piecing the murder puzzles together to be the most important part of the work, despite their being probably the simplest puzzles ever created. Also, despite how doing so makes the patrons dirty criminals, since they're now technically in possession of a weapon. This constant risk of arrest is worth it to Van Triest, who wishes to "create work that embodies a kind of friction, an object that is at once a toy and a weapon." As for the patrons who might be more leery of prison time than he, Van Triest simply "challenge to think about and interact with objects they would rather avoid in everyday life."
Like orange jumpsuits.
Autonomous Robot Scours The Dark Web, Buys A Fake Passport And Ecstasy
For the uninitiated, the Dark Web refers to websites that Chrome, Firefox, and That Other One can't reach. To surf the Dark Web, you'll need a special browser and lots of bail money, because a large chunk of what's down there is horribly illegal, oh, just about everywhere.
"I can already smell the panda burgers."
With that in mind, the Swiss art collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik designed a special bot called the Random Darknet Shopper and programmed it to spend up to 100 bitcoins per week at a particular Dark Web shopping site. The bot had full autonomy over what it bought. And, while there were certainly a ton of illegal items for sale, the site sported plenty of perfectly legal inventory too.
But fuck a family-friendly shopping spree -- the Darknet Shopper went truly dark, buying up counterfeit jeans, a baseball cap with a hidden camera inside, a counterfeit handbag, bootleg cigarettes, a fake passport, and 10 ecstasy pills wrapped inside a condom.
Amazingly, the group considered building a robo-pirate a success, as their project was designed to "shed light on the fringes of society and to pose fundamental contemporary questions," like how far should electronic autonomy go? And who should be held accountable when a machine breaks the law? If Mega Man goes haywire and blows all his zenny on heroin and snuff films, do they simply shut him down, or do they throw Dr. Light into the pokey as well?
The answer, at least in Switzerland, is ... nope. See, the Swiss are incredibly, almost ludicrously permissive when it comes to the arts. You can do just about anything you want there and, as long as it's "in the public interest," the authorities will look the other way. So nobody got in trouble, and the exhibit, "The Darknet: From Memes To Onionland," ran as scheduled (though the police did confiscate the ill-gotten booty one day after the exhibit closed).
Wouldn't want your robot to get cancer, you know.
So, if you want to party like a rock star, head to Switzerland and store your stash in an art gallery. No one will say a word. Just double-check your condoms before turning out the lights.
Be sure to also check out 5 Mind-Blowing Works of Art (That You Aren't Allowed to See) and 7 Bizarre Easter Eggs Hidden in Great Works of Art.