Needless to say, not wanting to spoil a good joke, we carried the news in an April Fools' Day blog post of our very own, willing to up the ante on this very topical joke.
You see, Hillary Cherry had been planning this prank for quite some time, ever since she learned that 555 Gallery had negotiated the sale a piece of artwork — widely believed to be by the British graffiti artist Banksy — it had removed from the Packard Plant. That removal had provoked a spirited debate about monetizing the work of a countercultural icon who bends ideas of the law and property.
So Hillary thought it would be a fun prank to have another "Banksy" appear in her neighborhood. Working with an artist, she hatched a plan for the work to appear on the community bulletin board affixed to the side of a house she and her husband, Steve Cherry, own. The work actually went up about a week ago, and it must have taken great will power not to bring the artwork to other people's attention until the big day. The wording on the work, "Perhaps 666 was taken," was clearly a jibe aimed at the appropriation done by 555 Gallery.
This Facebook post, early in the day, by Frank Woodman hits perhaps the right balance between skepticism and wonder.
For everybody in on the joke, the prank was an absolute laugh riot all day Tuesday, and almost totally destroyed our productivity here at the Metro Times offices. Hillary monitored the billboard and took photographs all day long, and told us that at least 50 people came by to see the work, take selfies in front of it, or, more ominously, check the mounts for the feasibility of removing the art.
Two unidentified people don't take selfies, but check the mounts and fasteners.
Even the popo get curious.
Again, another comer doesn't take selfies but examines the work, perhaps too hungrily.
Taken at about 11 p.m. last night, evidence of a would-be art thief in the form of a backed-out screw.
If people will try to take anything they think is a Banksy, we've discovered a new way to get rid of unwanted furniture.
Luckily for the Cherrys, the building was undamaged this morning, and it seems that any last-minute appropriationists would have to be remarkably poorly informed to tackle the job. Congratulations to Hillary Cherry for a wonderful April Fools' Day goof, one topical enough to have some pretty hifalutin overtones, and edgy enough to create its own controversy.
Somehow, we imagine this is the sort of thing that makes the real Banksy grin.
For a slideshow of Hillary Cherry's photos of visitors to the "Banksy" yesterday, click here.