TV Program Plants Fake Masterpieces across UK Museums

It's a challenge to our increasingly shorter attention spans.

Photo courtesy of National Museum Cardiff.
Photo courtesy of National Museum Cardiff.

A new television show called Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge is planting fake masterpieces among some of Britain’s most prestigious art collections and rewarding visitors who can spot these impostors.

The competition is a means of encouraging museum-goers to slow down and delve into the details of the artwork, while adding an entertaining element to the process.

The initiative, which began on July 2 and will end on August 1, is taking place in museums throughout the UK, including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh; the National Museum in Cardiff; London’s Guildhall Art Gallery; Manchester Art Gallery; the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral; and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

Photo courtesy of National Museums Liverpool.

Photo courtesy of the National Museums Liverpool.

Keen-eyed visitors who successfully spot the fake paintings will be entered as contestants to win the prize of Britain’s top fake art spotter. Ten finalists will be featured on the television program, and the winner will receive a commissioned copy of a British masterpiece valued up to £5,000, Quartz reports.

This competition aims to stimulate contemplation and patience at a time of degenerating attention spans, as people become increasingly dominated by the fast pace of digital technology.

Harvard Professor Jennifer L. Roberts told Harvard Magazine that the human perception of time has evolved to fit the times we live in. Patience is rare because thanks to digital technology, having to wait for something has also become rare, she added.

Impressionist and Modern art galleries courtesy of National Museum Cardiff.

Impressionist and Modern art galleries. Photo courtesy of National Museum Cardiff.

Today, it is more likely to see museum visitors dedicate a couple of seconds and an Instagram picture to each work of art, than it is to see them sitting on museum benches in contemplation of a single piece.


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