There are artists who get grand museum retrospectives. There are artists who can’t get their foot in the door of the mainstream art world. Then, there are those artists that look the museum institution in the face, say “Meh!” and take matters into their own hands. From Banksy’s “hang and run” infiltrations of The Museum of Modern Art to Eva and Franco Mattes “borrowing” bits of art from high profile exhibitions, let’s survey a few of these interventionists, conceptual vandals and one-upping exhibit crashers with a round-up of museum hackers.
Notorious street artist Banksy might have been the first hot shot to prank some of New York City’s biggest museums by hanging up his own pieces amidst established collections, but by now, this is practically a trend. “Guerrilla” artist Pascal Guérineau protested the Louvre’s stuffy curatorial practice of exhibiting the work of the dead — “Museums are cemeteries for artists!” — and, for a day, secretly affixed a skull vanitas by a living artist… himself.