Faking It

Spanish artist Naroa Lizar Redrado pranks the art world.


I, too, was fooled. When a blog post led me to—which purports to be an e-commerce company offering “the world’s first affordable DIY high art sets”—I believed that the site was actually dealing in such amusingly audacious offerings as IHirst, which contains everything you need to make “your very own replica” of Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God (a plastic human-size skull, 8,601 crystal beads, glue, a paintbrush, silver paint, and instructions), and The Banksy Machine, which allows the buyer to “create your own Banksy graffiti for just £9.99.” Alas, it turns out the whole thing is a conceptual work by 26-year-old Spanish artist Naroa Lizar Redrado—but at least I wasn’t the only one who was duped. In the year since her site went live, Redrado has been contacted by hundreds of prospective customers, including buyers from Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and museum gift shops. Redrado conceived the website as her final project while studying at the University for the Creative Arts in Kent, England, intending it as an exploration of what does and doesn’t qualify as “real art,” she says. But “when it got a bit out of hand, I got this idea that I could actually make it a real business and produce the items in China.” Sadly, a letter from Hirst’s lawyers put an end to her plans. In the end, however, Redrado walked away with something potentially more valuable than a fledgling novelties company: a promising art career. This fall her work was included in the First Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and in June she landed a Fulbright, which will fund her M.F.A. in the States. Mr. Hirst, watch your back.

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