Artist and Former MIT Professor Robs Banks Claiming It’s His Art

Joseph Gibbons robs bank as artwork
Joseph Gibbons robs a bank as an artwork. Photo NYPD.

We’ve heard of starving artists going to all sorts of extremes, but this may take the cake. Artist Joseph Gibbons has resorted to robbing banks to make ends meet, and he calls it art, according to a story in the New York Post. The paper calls him a “wacky former MIT professor” who “took cinema verite (sic) to a whole new level by robbing a Manhattan bank and recording the heist.” (Maybe he should look into moving to Queens? See New Queens Building Offering Artists Insane Deal on Studio Space.)

Gibbons videotaped himself liberating $1,000 from a Capital One branch at Bowery and Grand Street in Chinatown on New Year’s Eve. He handed the teller a note demanding a donation for his church, the Post reports.

Gibbons’s semi-autobiographical video Confessions of a Sociopath was shown in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, “Day for Night.” (Watch an excerpt on YouTube.) “Patient is currently on probation, having been convicted of several counts of theft,” says a voiceover in an excerpt. According to the Whitney’s website, the piece “presents a summary examination of the artist’s professed self-destructive tendencies.” In it, “Gibbons documents himself shooting heroin, shoplifting, being counseled by a parole officer, and being analyzed on a psychiatrist’s couch.”

In addition to the Whitney, Gibbons has screened films at the Museum of Modern Art. He won a 2001 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has received awards and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities.


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