The Art World’s Best April Fool’s Day Jokes, From the Hirshhorn in Orbit to Online Art Futures


Today, as you might have noticed if you read our profile of six superstar artists under six or our morning news checklist featuring major revelations about Nick Cave and Art Basel, is April Fool’s Day, and the art world has responded accordingly. From the Guggenheim Museum announcing a major rooftop expansion to a gallerist’s launch of an online marketplace for art options, every branch of the art world is getting in on the act. Below, find a growing repository of April Fool’s Day 2013’s best art jokes

LACMA‘s blog Unframed borrowed a page from ARTINFO’s April Fool’s Day repertoire, announcing the new exhibition “Pre-K(ontemporary),” which purports to feature the works of “five emerging L.A. artists — Maria, Tyson, Olivia W., Henry, and Olivia G” in the museum’s Boone Children’s Gallery. “This is a new generation of artists,” the exhibition’s special guest curator, “Tyson’s Mom,” writes in the post. “The minimalists reduced art to what they thought of as its most basic fundamentals—the line, the circle, the square. But these young artists have gone a step beyond, to something even more primal — the squiggle.” In reference to the work of her precocious progeny, exhibition artist Tyson, the curator says: “Tyson uses every color available to him to make all of his work brown… It is a bold comment on race in America—and a challenge to fundamental notions of diversity on both the left and the right. All the colors don’t make a rainbow.”

— The Guggenheim Museum announced that it has begun construction on an additional 13 stories atop its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building on Fifth Avenue, re-posting images of a recent design for an expansion floated by Oiio Architecture Office (pictured above) in a Facebook album titled “Announcing Guggenheim Museum Expansion!


— The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden took to Facebook to announce plans for its first curatorial excursion into outer space. In the post accompanying the above image of its distinctive circular building in orbit, the institution proclaimed: “Hirshhorn to Curate Outer Space by 2024.” The full, faux-press release post reads:

The Smithsonian announces a plan to launch the Hirshhorn into low Earth orbit in time for the Museum’s 50th anniversary. Having judged the historic Gordon Bunshaft-designed structure “too freakin’ cool to remain on the ground,” the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents has formed an interdisciplinary task force to conduct feasibility studies.

“It will be necessary to rotate the structure around its central axis to establish artificial gravity,” said a source close to the project. “Next-gen shuttles will probably dock in the Lerner Room,” although alternatives are being considered.

In a rare show of joint support, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation and Dunkin’ Donuts are funding the initiative in its earliest stages. A standardized spelling–fun fact: the shape of the tasty treat was inspired by the Hirshhorn itself!–has yet to be agreed upon

Edward Winkleman took to his blog to announce the launch of “A-Trade: The Online Exchange for Contemporary Art Options,” an website where collectors can buy options for possible future artworks by artists who upload images of a potential future piece. Winkleman explains the avant-garde art investment concept:

Purchasing an Artwork Option gives collectors the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a particular work of art at a set price by an expiration date. This has great benefits for artists, as they need not even make the artwork until the collector decides, but they get a share of the option purchase price, giving them much-needed funding, as well as free time to network at the world’s most prestigious fairs and biennials, essentially building their name recognition through the socializing aspect of the art world rather than having to be back in their studios all the time producing work they’re not sure anyone will buy.

By way of a conclusion, in case any readers hadn’t already caught on, Winkleman writes: “The potential for all parties to spend less time engaged in the hard and risky aspects of creating or collecting art, and more time enjoying the financial rewards to be had, seems limitless to us.”

— Brooklyn-based art blogazine Hyperallergic reports on a trio of new Banksy murals depicting sad clowns that appeared overnight in Greenpoint and North Williamsburg, which it speculates “are part of a larger series of sad clowns that will be unveiled in the next few days in Greenpoint.” One anonymous street art lover quoted in the post seemed disproportionately affected by the images of the jilted jesters:

“Is Banksy depressed,” asked one onlooker, who stood in front of the large sad clown on Wythe, before he started to sob into his hands.

— Hyperallergic’s second attempt at an April Fool’s funny landed much better than the first, with the blog reporting on the Museum of Modern Art‘s new slate of celebrity-focused programming, “Starstruck,” which launches on May 1 with “Shot” (2013), a participatory performance that consists of “Jersey Shore‘s Snooki in a dunk tank, where visitors will be forced to have a shot of Everclear before attempting to dunk the reality TV star.” In addition to a James Franco performance in which he’ll deaccession the museum’s entire collection, a cryptic special exhibition that involves exhuming Michael Jackson‘s body, and Lindsay Lohan roaming the galleries robbing visitors, the series will include “the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby in the MoMA atrium,” an apparent homage to Marni Kotak‘s “The Birth of Baby X,” which is slated for “sometime in July.”


— The High Line Blog reported on the successful first gathering of FeLine Friends of the High Line on Saturday, accompanying their account of the furry festivities with the above image. “A bubble blowing machine, several dozen laser pointers, three 10-foot-long ‘Fun Tunnels,’ and all kinds of cardboard boxes kept the frisky felines entertained from morning till dusk,” the blog reported, before noting a major cat celebrity’s absence. “A rumored visit from Internet sensation Grumpy Cat left the human visitors breathless with excitement. Alas, the notoriously cranky kitty declined the invitation, issuing a terse refusal from her Arizona home.”

Magdalena Sawon, co-owner and co-director of Postmasters Gallery — and one of the victims of ARTINFO‘s April Fool’s pranks — announced that her gallery’s forthcoming relocation from its longtime West 19th Street space will take her to 980 Madison Avenue, the swanky Upper East Side digs of Gagosian, Venus Over Manhattan, et al.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo via Guggenheim/Facebook. Courtesy Oiio Architecture Office.)