Monday, May 04, 2009

Fake Banksy Infiltrates Celebrity Dinner

Will the 'real' Banksy please stand up?

An elaborate hoax involving a former chairman of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, an actor impersonating British street artist Banksy, and a celebrity dinner hosted by Joan Collins has been exposed. Apparently the hoax was masterminded by Ivan Massow, former chairman of London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Massow hired an actor, Bryan Lawrence, to dupe his longtime friend Joan Collins-- a Golden Globe Award-winning English actress, author, and columnist. Collins hosted a dinner for the fake Banksy thinking that he was the real deal. Apparently Massow had hoped to sell footage of the bogus Banksy attending the dinner party in order to reveal Banksy’s identity to the masses.
Joan Collins and her guests entertained the Banksy imposter for hours. During the event the fake Banksy dismissed the art of world renowned artists and declared that Tracey Emin’s art is “just a thought”, not art. Collins was not the only person to be fooled during the dinner. Apparently the dinner was also attended by comedian Stephen K. Amos, stage actress Ann Mitchell, and socialite Tamara Beckwith. The duped guests were given signed napkins by the bogus Banksy-- he gave Collins a can of spray paint displayed on a miniature easel.

The Banksy hoax fell apart after Ivan Massow contacted Daily Mail in the UK. Massow informed The Mail that he had real footage of the elusive street artist. He suggested that bringing the guests and Banksy together was a work of art. However, The Mail quickly discovered that Massow had orchestrated a hoax-- forcing Massow to confess that he was behind a ‘massive art fraud’.

In reality Ivan Massow was not really fooling anyone. He knew that his hoax would be discovered. After all, he arranged to have Sam Bloom, sister of actor Orlando Bloom, to be the waitress for the event. In fact, the chef for the dinner was also stage-- actress Helen Lederer played the role. Massow has stated-- after being exposed-- that he wanted to “investigate the nature of what’s real and what’s not real”. Of the event Massow has stated, “To pull off what was such a massive art fraud would have been really quite spectacular.”. Oddly enough, after being informed of the hoax Joan Collins stated, “I still think it might be him.”.
The Mail reports that Ivan Massow had intended to use the real Banksy in his film-- but the request was refused. Massow, according to The Mail, intends to still sell his film online as an ‘investigation into the nature of reality’. Oddly enough, Massow has flip-flopped on his confession because he has since stated, ‘I still think he might be Banksy. Prove it’s not him.’ Needless to say, I don't think the 'real' Banksy will reveal his identity anytime soon-- Banksy's anonymity have proven to be a key factor in the market for his art.
The Banksy hoax is interesting because it reveals some of the problems an artist like Banksy can endure when he or she decides to keep his or her identity a secret. After all, how can you prove who Banksy is or is not if he has not been seen? Only a few people know who he is or what he looks like. How can you prove that the people representing Banksy have the right guy or that maybe they have been hired by someone to represent Banksy as a male when in reality he may actually be a she? You never know.
If someone wanted to they could declare that they are Banksy and the only way to prove otherwise would be to have the identity of the ‘real’ Banksy revealed, true? It could easily become a legal mess if someone wished to push it. Would it be easy for someone to claim that they are in fact the ‘real’ Banksy and that the anonymous Banksy we have come to know is actually an imposter who has ‘hijacked’ the ‘real’ Banksy’s work for fame and fortune? Far-fetched? Maybe. That said, Ivan Massow has shown that anything is possible-- or can at least be 'created'.
Link of Interest:
When Joan Collins THOUGHT she'd met Banksy: The elaborate plot to impersonate graffiti artist and how the MoS foiled it
Street Art Defacement: Appropriate Media vs. Banksy
Is Banksy for the People?
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"If someone wanted to they could declare that they are Banksy and the only way to prove otherwise would be to have the identity of the ‘real’ Banksy revealed, true?"

........ or you could just ask them to paint something!!!