Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. swords, and Mickey Mouse: sounds like anyone’s idea of a good time but for MSCHF, it’s all in a day’s work. Literally, because the enigmatic Brooklyn-based collective issues a provocative “drop” every single Monday, starting off every week with a different riff on post-capitalist drudgery.
MSCHF turns back towards the art market with The Museum of Forgeries, this Monday’s drop. The result is either heretical or hysterical — maybe a little of both — depending how you feel about Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes.
Specifically, MSCHF purchased an original Andy Warhol illustration, ‘Fairies, 1954’, and found computers that could create 999 perfect copies of the work on matching paper with identical ink. MSCHF then “obliterated” any trace of evidence as to which one is the original, essentially “burying a needle in a needlestack.”
All 1,000 editions of MSCHF’s creation, “Possibly Real Copy Of ‘Fairies’ by Andy Warhol,” are now for sale at $250 a pop through MSCHF’s Museum of Forgeries website. Your purchase includes certificates of authentication and documentation that MSCHF did indeed pay nearly $20k for the OG, which sold for just over $8,000 five years back.
MSCHF posits the entire affair as a multi-pronged jab in the art industry’s bloated gut.
On one hand, you’ve got this upstart collective digesting a genuine artwork from one of the world’s most famous artists and regurgitating it as its own, devaluing an Andy Warhol in the process.
On the other, it evokes questions about how art is consumed: why is this piece of paper with crude scribbles worth five figures? Strip the provenance aside and look at the work as an object and consider how worthless it’d be were it produced by Joe Shmoe instead.
Warhol himself undercut the entire conceit of art as exclusive.
As MSCHF points out, Warhol’s Factory existed to churn out easily-producible artworks in assembly-line fashion. Isn’t it appropriate that one of his works serve as the basis for MSCHF’s mischief?
Amusingly, the collective has opted to co-opt a drawing Warhol executed by hand, rather than a screen-printed Pop Art piece.
MSCHF’s point is multifaceted but it really cuts at society’s thoughtless art consumption and the ways that the ultra-rich place arbitrary value on ink and paper. This is a favorite MSCHF target.
Like any contemporary merch-mad artist, MSCHF has simply removed scarcity from the equation and laid the futile valuation of artwork bare for all to see.