Art MSCHF, the collective that among 1000 copies of Warhol has sold a real one
Artart

MSCHF, the collective that among 1000 copies of Warhol has sold a real one

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Giulia Guido

MSCHF is a name that we are seeing written a lot these days. At first glance it might seem like an acronym, an acronym for something much more pompous and institutional, but we suggest you stop trying to understand what it means. MSCHF is the name of a New York collective – collective might be reductive, but maybe the right word to define it hasn’t been invented yet – that since 2016 has been putting up absurd and not always easily understandable projects that hide unexpected morals and keys to interpretation. 

Since the first work launched in May 2018, each new project is named drop, just as if it were a product just put on the market. As mentioned just now, their latest initiative, namely the 59th drop titled “Possibly Real Copy Of ‘Fairies’ by Andy Warhol” has made a lot of buzz. 

MSCHF purchased “Fairies” an original Andy Warhol pen drawing dated 1954. Once the work was obtained, the collective made 999 fake copies, using the same materials as the original. Later, the 1000 pieces were sold at 250 dollars each on the Museum of Forgeries website, specially created for the occasion, but without revealing to anyone which was the original. Thus, a further work formed by the 1000 “Fairies” owned by 1000 different people came to life. 

MSCHF

What the creatives of MSCHF did was to apply the strategy used for normal consumer goods to a work of art: mass produce (or reproduce) to allow more people to own a certain object. 

On the Museum of Forgeries website you can find a sentence that can well be taken as the manifesto of this 59th drop: More than slashed canvas or burned pages, democratization of access or ownership destroys any work premised on exclusivity. In short, by referring to artworks that were born with the goal of subverting the system and then ended up being part of it, MSCHF tells us that the only thing that can destroy any system based on exclusivity is democratization of access or ownership.

With “Possibly Real Copy Of ‘Fairies’ by Andy Warhol” the collective has managed to make the original as much a fake as the replicas they made.

If the 59th drop gives us the MSCHF’s point of view of the art world, the ensemble of all their works (available on the official website and on the App downloadable only in the States) gives a general view on different topics and areas

Emblematic were drop 07 “Jesus Shoes” and drop 43 “Satan Shoes” for which they worked in both cases on a pair of Nike Air Max 97. For the former, the air unit was filled with 60 milliliters of holy water taken from the Jordan River, while for the latter – made in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X – the air unit was filled with 66 milliliters of red ink and a drop of human blood. Following the subversive style that has distinguished their work over the years, both drops were completed without Nike’s permission, which has twice been forced to file a lawsuit against MSCHF. 

The collective’s projects often and frequently start in the digital world, such as the very first drop launched in May 2018 titled “The Persistence of Chaos”. The work consisted of a single 2008 Windows laptop with six malware programs installed that had allegedly caused nearly $100 billion in damage to the global economy.

MSCHF

Every week MSCHF’s thousands of followers can’t wait to discover the new drop, but even in this case, the collective doesn’t rely on trivial countdowns on Instagram or Newsletters. On their website you can already see all the dates of the next 33 drops, each with its own countdown, and – always for those who live in the States – to get more news you can leave your phone number, then the collective will send messages whenever you need them. 

MSCHF
Artart
Written by Giulia Guido
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