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The Hoax That Fooled Art Critics Into Thinking A Painting By A Monkey Was Real Avant-Garde Art

Mark McGowan

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The Hoax That Fooled Art Critics Into Thinking A Painting By A Monkey Was Real Avant-Garde Art

I love a good hoax. The type that fools a whole bunch of bellends and leaves you with a smug look on your face.

Well this particular hoax is bound to have gotten those shithouse art types who you know have no actual interest in art. You know those people who suddenly took a turn once they went to uni and seem to find the 'real meaning' behind abstract lashings of paint on a piece of paper.

The hoax comes from a journalist called Åke "Dacke" Axelsson, who came up with the idea of presenting some paintings as abstract art by a French artist named Pierre Brassau in 1964.

Pierre Brassau was in fact non-existent and all the paintings were made by a 4-year-old chimp called Peter. The chimp was simply given some brushes and some paint and was let loose to do what he wished.


The idea behind it was to see if critics could actually tell the difference between real avant-garde modern art and what was effectively a load of random shit with paint (which could be argued as the same thing).

It worked. They couldn't tell the difference.

"Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with a delicacy of a ballet dancer," Rolf Anderberg, an art critic said.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me happy.

Topics: Art, monkey

Mark McGowan
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