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Malley, Ern

Ern Malley was an Australian poet and artist, the joint creation of writers James McAuley and Harold Stewart. McAuley and Stewart created Malley as a hoax aimed at editor Max Harris and his Melbourne-based modernist literary magazine Angry Peguins, which they considered pretentious.

Manual of Lost Ideas
Museum of Forgery

The Museum of Forgery identifies itself as a "virtual institution dedicated to promoting an appreciation of the aesthetics of forgery'. Like Broodthaers's Department of Eagles, it is essentially a conceptual project masquerading as an institution to generate critique that appears to come from within the walls of authority. In the case of the Museum of Forgery, this critique revolves around questions of authenticity and ownership of art. Founded in 1990, the Museum of Forgery has no permanent building; its main public portal appears to be its website.

Museum of Jurassic Technology (David Wilson)
Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles (Marcel Broodthaers)

In 1968, the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers created an installation in his house that he entitled the Musée de l'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, or Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles. This was a fictive entity in that the museum had neither a permanent building nor a collection; nonetheless, it was elaborated by Broodthaers in about a dozen further installations. Evidence of the museum's existence (apart from its title) ultimately encompassed specially created objects, films, and art reproductions as well as ephemera such as wall labels and signage.

New Society for Universal Harmony (Lenore Malen)

The New Society for Universal Harmony is said to have have been founded as a utopian  “therapeutic community” in Athol Springs, NY, by a Dr. F.A. Mesmer, namesake of the controversial 19th century discoverer of animal magnetism (mesmerism). The name of this group is a direct homage to the Society for Universal Harmony (Société de l'Harmonie Universelle) founded by followers of the original Franz Anton Mesmer.

O-ism (Jim Shaw)

"Born in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York in the mid-1800s, O-ism's beliefs included the notion of a female deity, of time going backwards, of spiritual transience, and a prohibition on figurative art."
--Jim Shaw


(James Macpherson)

Pataphysics (Alfred Jarry)

Pataphysics is defined by its inventor, Alfred Jarry, as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments".  First mentioned in 1893 in Jarry's play Guignol, it has proved to be a lasting source of inspiration to artists, writers (such as the Oulipo group), and thinkers (e.g. Jean Baudrillard).

Payne, Leslie J. "Airplane"

Leslie J. "Airplane" Payne (1907-1981) was an African-American artist who created an identity for himself as an aviator although he never actually learned to fly.  Inspired by an air show that he had seen at the end of World War I, when he was only 11, Payne began in the 1940s to make what he called "imitations". He ultimately constructed a total of 8 small imitation airplanes out of found materials (two of which he tried, and failed, to fly).

Pink Gaffes

For a couple of years beginning in 1989, a trio of Italians made several hundred postage stamps and used them to send letters through their country's notoriously slow and inept postal service. The hand-drawn stamps tended towards the satirical and the comic: one that featured a picture of an Italian porn star called for protection of endangered species.

Princess Anastasia
Princess Cariboo
Psalmanazar, George

George Psalmanazar (?1679-1763) was a French adventurer who told many different tales about himself in the course of a wide variety of impersonations: Irish pilgrim, Japanese convert, beggar, soldier, chaplain. He is best know for claiming to be the first Formosan ever to visit Europe, a story supported by his 1704 book An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, an Island subject to the Emperor of Japan. Two years later he confessed to his fabrications and spent the rest of his long life as  writer and editor.

Rowley, Thomas (Thomas Chatterton)