Monday, June 20, 2016

It’s either a fake or a damn clever original

Looks like the practical joke of the year will be courtesy of the University of Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery. For one week in November the Gallery will present an exhibition of hand-painted replica masterpieces. This Barbarians-at-the-gate moment comes via Masters student Nate Dunn whose style is long on omg gauche. You can read his outpourings on the ups and downs of getting Replicating Genius off the ground on the exhibition’s blog. As in up, ‘What I love about all these new experiences is that not only do I meet interesting people, but each time I do, a little more of the art world becomes less scary to me’ and down, ‘Emailing venues and applying for spaces ensued, and of all the venues I emailed, I didn’t hear back from a single one’.  

Dunn sees the Gus Fisher exhibition as an opportunity to prove the viability of  ‘a proper museum’ of replicas. The whole project is apparently driven by Dunn’s Masters thesis that is ‘an argument for the creation of a museum of replica paintings’. He’s raising funds for the exhibition on Pledgeme offering rewards like an invitation to ‘a pompous opening night event…’ and a chance to ‘…rub shoulders with other fancy Auckland art supporters.’

The University of Auckland is really being a good sport about all this. You may recall it recently threw its weight behind another fake show featuring ‘life-like’ photographic copies of Rembrandt. This time round there’s some academic rhetoric thrown in as its gallery, the Gus Fisher, claims to ‘foster creative and academic research, encourage curatorial practice…’. And of course who can afford to miss out on the publicity a stunt like this is bound to bring.

Postscript: There is the slightest chance that the whole enterprise is for real and so is itself a fake, as in a fake parody. Oh, oh, if the Replicating genius project is for real, 3D printed copies of various heads will have to roll.