The Worst Ideas. Updates every Monday!

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Tag: art

TITLE: The secret to making THE BEST ART MUSEUM possible and acquiring a collection for less than 1% the normal price of famous art. The secret ingredient: ART FORGERY.

The issue:

It’s difficult to fully appreciate certain types of art from just a photo, especially large pieces or three-dimensional works like statues.

For example:

Unfortunately, these famous works are spread throughout the world, and are not all easy to access (especially if you’re on a budget).

Proposal:

Let’s start a new art museum called “THE BEST ART MUSEUM.”

This is no idle boast—the museum really will contain the best art in the world, for one simple reason: all the art in the museum is a FAKE.

Actually, let’s revise that: “fake” has a negative connotation, but really, who can even tell the difference between an original work and a high-quality forgery? (See Figure 1.)

So let’s say that each piece in this museum is an extremely accurate copy of a famous work.

Fig. 1: Which of these two incredibly accurately drawn M.C. Escher works is the original, and which is the copy? Only the most detail-oriented art historian will be able to tell. And sometimes there isn’t even a distinction: if 100 numbered prints were made from a carved wood block, is there anything that really separates those 100 “official” prints from a 101st print made by museum staff decades later? (Answer: yes, millions of dollars.)

Since the vast majority of art is old enough to be out of copyright, there are no legal hurdles, either!

Additionally, we know that a skillfully-made forgery can fool even well-informed art scholars, so there should be no doubt that the works are every bit as valid from an art-appreciation standpoint as the originals.

This has five huge advantages:

  1. By obtaining only copies of expensive artwork, we free up an enormous amount of money (copies will be cheaper than the originals).
  2. Impossible-to-obtain works of art can be “acquired” in this fashion. (No matter how much money a museum has, the original Sistine Chapel ceiling cannot be purchased.)
  3. Works can be thematically arranged without regard to budget / availability of an artwork.
  4. Duplicate (triplicate?) copies of a work can be placed in multiple locations. So Michelangelo’s David can appear in both the “statues of dudes” and the “Renaissance sculpture” galleries.
  5. Security and insurance can be reduced; there is no need to insure a painting for hundreds of millions of dollars if it can be easily re-created.

Additionally, since none of the pieces in the museum are one-of-a-kind, they can also be offered for sale: the museum can serve as an enormous art showroom. So an art aficionado who really likes a specific painting can just take it right off the wall and purchase it at the gift shop.

Fig. 2: Modern art and abstract impressionism would be a great topic for this museum, except that most of the pieces from 20th century will be copyrighted for the next 100+ years. The museum will need to focus primarily on art from before the 1920s.

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Fig. 3: Abstract art would be extremely easy to replicate; an art student could easily copy several famous out-of-copyright pieces during a summer internship.

PROS: Obtaining famous works of art for a museum no longer requires daring art heists.

CONS: You will have to endure many negative reviews of your museum in high-society publications.

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Rearrange your no-doubt-extensive home art gallery according to these curation principles.

Background:

Art galleries are generally arranged by either genre (for example, “portraits” or “landscapes”) or a period in history (e.g. “Renaissance Italy, 1350–1500”).

The issue:

This traditional organizational scheme results in dozens of similar works in close proximity, which leads to the following problem: after a person has seen ten masterpiece portraits of Venetian nobles, an eleventh one is not going to make an impression.

All the pieces all start to look the same!

Proposal:

As an alternative to period- or genre-based organization, artwork may be grouped together by either:

  1. Color (Example: a gallery of only red paintings, from various artistic periods.)
  2. Very specific subject matter (Example: a gallery of only paintings of horses, from across thousands of years.)

art-by-color-or-subject

Fig 1: In this example, the paintings are all mostly red, but the left painting is a work of abstract art, the middle one is a French Impressionist painting, and the right one is a piece of propaganda art. As you can no doubt clearly tell from these masterful illustrations.

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Fig 2: An example of what this might look like with art from different eras that just happen to have a reddish hue. These would all go in a gallery together, despite the unrelated subjects and time periods.

   collection_horse

Fig 3: An example of similar subject matter over thousands of years.

Conclusion:

By varying the art style, viewers of these fine pieces of art will take longer to become acclimated to a specific technique and era, so they will continue to appreciate each new piece on its own rather than becoming instantly bored with it (having already seen 15 similar paintings).

art-by-period-and-genre

Fig 4: As seen here, sometimes this organizational scheme would not actually change anything. For example, these landscape paintings all have approximately the same subject matter and coloration, so they wouldn’t be separated out by a color / subject classification scheme, and will be grouped together no matter what.

PROS: None! You should rearrange your art museum like this—right now!

CONS: It’s so good that it will probably put curators out of business, since they’ll have nothing left to do once the paintings are arranged in this fashion.

Your lack of art appreciation has brought shame to the land. Redeem yourself with this one weird sponsorship trick.

The issue:

The fine arts constantly struggle for funding, perhaps due to their general inability to compete with modern sources of entertainment.

Proposal:

In art museums, commercial sponsorship could take the form of (non-destructive) modification to the works of art themselves. For example, the Mona Lisa could be holding an iPhone (an idea which has been done before: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=mona+lisa+iphone), or one could spot a Radio Shack in the nightmarish hellscape of Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Mad_meg.jpg).

For flat artwork, sponsorship images could easily be added by using a glass overlay with the desired promotional material painted on. See below for details:

art-sponsor-layout

Fig 1: A clear overlay (perhaps a piece of glass, or an animation cel) would be slid over the piece of artwork in question. In this example, “The Scream” is modified to be chomping on a delicious hamburger. Perhaps this particular overlay would be a McDonalds ad, which might encourage Burger King to buy a competing overlay for another famous painting at the same museum.

side-view-art-sponsor

Fig 2: Side view of the above image: A is the clear overlay, B is the painting.

One weird secret that sphinxes don't want YOU to know!!! Theseus hates this riddle!

One weird secret that sphinxes don’t want YOU to know!!! Theseus hates this riddle!

Conclusion:

This is a great idea and you (assuming you are a museum director or curator) should apply it right away!

PROS: Saves fine art from destruction, brings more visitors to art museums.

CONS: Could make regular non-sponsored museums seem boring in comparison.