On the Museum of Forgeries home page, you are greeted with Andy Warhol’s ‘Fairies’ plastered with a sold-out sign. On closer inspection though, you’ll realise that it’s described as a “Possible Real Copy of ‘Fairies’ by Andy Warhol”.
Art collective MSCHF recently bought the Warhol original, made 999 exact replicas, and sold the resulting 1000 copies on the Museum’s website. Originally bought for an estimated $20 000, the prints were sold for $250 each and have sold out completely.
To ensure the copies were identical, MSCHF built a custom machine that would be able to draw out the artwork. The artwork was artificially aged with light, heat, pressure and moisture. The Warhol Foundation seal, present on all of Warhol’s works, was then manually replicated. Each drawing then comes with two certificates, one verifying its authenticity, and another for the possibility of its realness.
MSCHF did this “prank” to criticise the exclusivity and inauthenticity of the art world. In a public statement they said,
“By forging en masse, we obliterate the trail of provenance for the artwork. Though physically undamaged, we destroy any future confidence in the veracity of the work. In other words by burying a needle in a needlestack, we render the original as much a forgery as any of our replications.”
Fans of the artist loved the execution, with some also stating that Andy Warhol himself would’ve been a huge endorser of the stunt. The Official Warhol Foundation, however, has yet to comment on MSCHF’s antics.
View the replicating video on the MSCHF website!