Laugh Out Loud at 20 of the Summer’s Wackiest Art News Stories

Artful burns and nude selfie photo ops were a mainstay.

Controversial performance artist Milo Moiré took selfies with tourists for her latest work. Photo courtesy of Milo Moiré.

Though it may seem fairly dead during the dog days of summer (is every Tweet from Donald Trump worth a headline?), as always, the art world (or the universe just slightly beyond) continues to deliver a steady stream of absurd and wacky news. Need proof? Here’s a sampling of all the strange art-related stories that have been reported over the last few months. (For a look at the year-end round-up of such stories for 2014, click here.)

Controversial performance artist Milo Moiré took selfies with tourists for her latest work. Photo courtesy of Milo Moiré.

Controversial performance artist Milo Moiré took selfies with tourists for her latest work. Photo courtesy of Milo Moiré.

1. It’s definitely been the summer of Milo Moiré, who has certainly had more than her fair share of attention due to her nude performances and selfie opps at Art Basel and the Eiffel Tower. During the latter, Moiré was arrested and detained overnight on charges of public indecency.

2. Turner Prize-winning artist David Shrigley designed a mascot for a UK football club, and the fans were not exactly thrilled. The disturbed-looking sun-like creature, which is called Kingsley, was described by the Telegraph as “Lisa Simpson if she had been tortured and then melted. And then addicted to crystal meth.”

3. Five words: The Great Wall of Vagina. British artist Jamie McCartney is looking for women volunteers from every country on earth to contribute a cast of their genitalia to his next sculpture. “It’s not vulgar,” his website insists. “It’s vulva!”

Sunburn art.

Sunburn art.

4. A word of advice: don’t create interesting patterns when applying your sunscreen. A great Instagram shot of your sunburn art just isn’t worth the skin cancer, no matter how many likes it gets.

5. Japan has a virgin problem, so much so that special nude figure drawing classes have been established to help the virgin men find love. For middle-aged men who have never had sex with a woman, the drawing sessions can help prepare them for the sight of the naked female body, so they are more at ease when the chance to be intimate finally presents itself.

6. Snorri Ásmundsson is a man in search of a corpse. The Icelandic artist is soliciting dying people to agree to take part in a performance art video piece, in which he will dance with their remains. Ásmundsson could likely find a body in Mexico or China, but insisted to Morgunblaðið that “I’m not that kind of morally corrupt. I want to do this piece in collaboration with the dead.”

7. A bold art thief brazenly walked out of a London art gallery with a statue worth £40,000 (about $63,000) by Elisabeth Frink rolled up in his newspaper. The Telegraph reports that the so-called “gentleman thief” is thought to have made off with a bronze valued at £100,000 (about $157,000) by Francois Pompon from a London art fair by tucking it under his jacket just days later.

The Dildo ISIS flag at the London Pride Parade. Photo: Paul Coombs.

The Dildo ISIS flag at the London Pride Parade.
Photo: Paul Coombs.

8. We thought it was pretty wacky when Paul Coombs took an ISIS flag, replaced its logo with stylized dildos, and flew it in London’s Pride Parade. But wackier still is that CNN actually reported on Coombs‘s creation as if someone was actually waving a real ISIS flag.

9. Public art and design collective Hungry Castle literally put Nicolas Cage in a cage when it crafted a giant black-and-white-striped bouncy castle with a giant, creepy-looking portrait of the actor on one of the walls. The art installation, clearly as bizarre as the man himself, debuted at an Australian music festival, but there is already talk of a world tour.

10. Courtroom artists are generally pretty overlooked, but New York’s Jane Rosenberg found herself in headlines after an unflattering drawing she made of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got panned on social media and even spawned new memes comparing the drawing to Sméagol, The Scream, and the poorly restored Ecce Homo among other less-than-flattering pop cultural references. (Meanwhile, the “deflategate” football that landed Brady at court fetched $43,739.99 on the auction block at Lelands last month.)

Alexander Remnev on a Moscow rooftop. Photo: Alexander Remnev.

Alexander Remnev on a Moscow rooftop.
Photo: Alexander Remnev.

11. So many young Russians have been seriously injuring or even killing themselves in their quest for the perfect selfie that the government actually felt compelled to start an official selfie-safety campaign. Told to avoid climbing dangerous buildings and train tracks, teens promptly began posing with Lenin monuments, also with destructive results.

12. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you realize that there’s an annual event in which eight teams of artists compete in synchronized swimming—or their artistic, less-regimented interpretation of the sport. Performance art at its finest—and perhaps zaniest.

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Angel (2008).

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Angel (2008).

13. The Internet couldn’t quite handle it when Sun Yuan and Peng Yu‘s Angel was installed in Beijing last month. The hyper-realistic fiberglass sculpture, of an elderly, featherless angel sprawled on the ground, tipped off a rash of news articles claiming that an honest-to-god angel had fallen out of the sky. Calm down you guys. It’s just (bad) art.

14. An Australian performance artist named Stelarc implanted a third ear on his arm, in the hopes of letting the whole Internet listen in on his every moment through a wireless microphone. It took Stelarc ten years to find a team of plastic surgeons willing to create the unnatural ear. We can’t imagine why.

Stelarc's third ear. Photo: Stelarc.

Stelarc’s third ear.
Photo: Stelarc.

15. A seven-year-old boy gave his mother quite a scare when he managed to get his leg stuck inside a public artwork on display in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Artist John Clement was a good sport about the whole thing. He loves when people interact with his work, “but it is not a playground structure,” he told artnet News.

16. A personal, portable air conditioner might sound like a great way to beat the summer heat, but Satisfixation LLC‘s project the Mobile Personal Suburbanification Device proves that it would also be pretty antisocial. Creator Gregory James has taken to New York city streets in what looks like a hazmat suit hooked up to an AC unit and generator. He calls the get-up a commentary on our society’s “social dysfunction and over-reliance in technology.”

17. Amid the nationwide outrage and head scratching over Rachel Dolezal, the artist and white NAACP leader who lied about being black, it became clear that one of her paintings appears to copy an 1840 work by J.M.W. Turner. Dolezal’s situation was complicated enough without throwing bizarre accusations of plagiarism into the mix.

Rachel Dolezal with her Turner-sque painting. Photo: Shawntelle Moncy, courtesy the Easterner.

Rachel Dolezal with her Turner-sque painting. Photo: Shawntelle Moncy, courtesy the Easterner.

18. Alleged mobster Vincent Asaro took issue with the inclusion of a Goodfellas poster in an exhibition at the Brooklyn federal courthouse. Currently on trial there for his suspected involvement the 1978 Lufthansa heist, which was depicted in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film, Asaro feared that jurors might be negatively influenced by the poster.

19. We couldn’t help including this item from just before Memorial Day on Australian artist Leon Ewing, who shared an interesting idea about how we might inspire the next generation of great artists: dose them with marijuana. Ewing equates the drug with the mood-stabilizing medications often prescribed to children, and believes that “educational marijuana” just might stimulate creativity in children.

20. What list of wacky art news could be complete without our good friend Luke Brugnara, the disgraced real estate mogul and art collector? He was finally convicted in May for failing to pay for $11 million worth of art, but is currently looking to appeal. The trial was beset with hijinks: Brugnara broke out of jailappeared in court shoeless, and threatened the judge and jury. At his June sentencing hearing, Brugnara was carried kicking and screaming from the courtroom.

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