In a playful prank on some art viewers, a roughly €10 work of Ikea art was placed in the galleries of the Museum Arnhem in the Netherlands, where visitors bestowed praise on the impostor.
Created by the Amsterdam-based LifeHunters, a self-proclaimed “online TV channel specialized in awesome shit that goes viral,” the video released this week is one of those tricks where somebody replaces something common with something highbrow and then records people’s reactions. (The same group once served McDonald’s as organic food.) It’s highly silly but revealing in how, when you ask people about art, the context propels the same generic, meaningless rambling of artspeak.
In the video, a man named Boris Lange — dressed in a snazzy vest handy for hooking his Warby Parker–esque glasses onto — presents one of Ikea’s new street art products as the work of a supposedly famous Swedish artist named Ike Andrews (don’t kill me; I’m just the messenger here). One viewer responds that “it’s modern, it’s shocking” and “you can clearly see that it concerns a form of symbolism.” Another values it at €2.5 million. At the end, when Lange reveals that it’s from Ikea, everyone shares jollily in the joke, aside from a couple of people who look like they wanted to punch a few Lack tables.
Oddly the real creators of the piece — Nevercrew, aka Swiss artists Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni — are never given credit for their illustration of a whale breaking out of a bottle in a steampunk style, which one museumgoer digs into some free associating to characterize as having “nostalgic attributes.”
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