Every so often I get a press release that makes me groan. The one below made me groan even louder than normal. People sneak things into museums all the time – the Louvre claim they get at least one person a week doing this. Banksy famously did it around 2005 with a great deal of style and when the idea seemed a bit fresher. Even I did it in Tate Modern back in 2003 with an Adam Neate painting when I took it on a tour of London landmarks. Sneaking things into a museum and putting them up is not difficult and has probably been going on for as long as there have been museums. As Banksy pointed out back in 2005 Museum’s are more concerned with people taking paintings out (as I found out when I tried to take my Adam Neate painting down after its short visit)!
Whatever, this is not really a criticism of what the artist has done – its more about the hyperbole of “For Immediate Release” PR nonsense such as the text below. And if you want to know what the’controversial’ ‘bold art movement’ of ‘fine art graffiti’ apparently looks like click here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Controversial Graffiti Artist Strikes the Guggenheim
Upper East Side, New York, NY. August 2, 2009 – In an odd twist to the museum heist story, the opposite scene took place at the Guggenheim this weekend. Instead of priceless artwork being stolen, a piece of art was added to the museum’s permanent collection in the form of a gift by the artist known as Mat Benote.
The incident occurred during the museum’s normal business hours. Without notice from security cameras, museum guards or the thousands of patrons in attendance, the controversial artist managed to install his artwork in one of the finest museums in the world. This bold art movement is what the artist describes as Fine Art Graffiti.
“I want to illustrate that graffiti can be a positive influence in a community when applied properly, and as an art form, has as much right to be displayed in a museum as any other form of art.”
This is not a new occurrence for the artist. His works have already appeared in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “But the question must be asked, is this artistic expression, or just a new form of vandalism?”