Los Angeles street artist “Wild Life” transformed a number of the city’s banal eyesores into works of “art”:
Eight random areas of downtown L.A. have been marked with what appear to be official city plaques, offering elaborate background information about the dumpsters, city blocks, and signposts to which they are affixed, reports The Lost Angeles Times. The plaques are even equipped with faux-signatures from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, and allude to A-list artists and directors like Yoko Ono, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Werner Herzog as alleged designers of the city’s downtown spots.
But the mysterious art project, which goes by the name of “Art Appears,” is really just a giant hoax. We hate to break it to you, but the dumpster on Traction Avenue was not designed by Andy Warhol. The so-called “Thirsty Palms” exhibit on 2nd Street? Not by Chris Burden, says Curbed LA.
Sadly, the project, titled “Art Appears” was not long for this world: the plaques were removed within hours. Still, a pretty funny and thoughtful project. Wild Life is apparently known for these surreal art experiments. Check out his “Nessie” inspired river art.
Wild Life’s re-contextualization spree is reminiscent of the work of Dada artists like Marchel Duchamp, famous for installing a plain urinal in an art gallery and declaring it art. The Situationists, forebears of today’s culture jamming artists, used similar a vaguely related tactic known as détournement, in which a billboard or press photo would be modified in such a way to convey a different, or opposite, meaning than the one intended by its creator.