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New Exhibition Draws From Eclectic Mix of Art Works Bought Online
Craig Stevens, Freddie Mercury, Lego pieces.

LONDON.- View Basket: Art Bought Online is an exhibition of artwork selected and purchased online that is on show at The Hayward Project Space from Thursday 28 August to Sunday 28 September 2008.

A range of images and objects have been selected by Hayward Curatorial Associate Tom Morton and purchased from the auction site, with a limited budget of £5,000, over a ten-day period in August 2008. The chosen pieces will reflect Britain’s ‘hidden’ art – works that have occupied people’s homes rather than the public space of a gallery, offered for sale through the democratic marketplace of the internet.

View Basket comprises more than 100 works – from amateur paintings to original comic art, customised action figures and other ephemera. Works include a bust of Freddie Mercury’s made out of Lego, a Damien Hirst limited edition copy of Snowblind, a customised ‘Gothic’ My Little Pony and miniature Magritte paintings made for doll houses. The Hayward Project Space will be filled with an ever-expanding selection of works as new items arrive at the gallery during the run of the exhibition, reflecting the project’s open-ended nature. It also includes a display of the improvised and sometimes highly idiosyncratic packaging in which these items have been sent to The Hayward. At the end of the exhibition the works will become part of The Hayward’s archive.

Emphasising works by amateur, obscure and even anonymous artists, View Basket is in part an exhibition of ‘thrift store’ or ‘folk’ art, in the tradition of ongoing projects by artists Jim Shaw and Jeremy Deller & Alan Kane. However it also seeks to explore questions of how art is circulated, and how the provenance of a work impacts on its perceived cultural value.

The relationship between art and online sales platforms such as eBay has its own fascinating history which includes notable events such as Bill Stoneham’s The Hands Resist Him (1972), also known as the eBay Haunted Painting. It became a hugely popular internet phenomenon in February 2000, when it was posted for sale on eBay along with an elaborate story implying that it was haunted. In 2002 Christoph Buchel auctioned his place in the European Biennale Manifesta on eBay. More recently, the German artist Klaus Weber exhibited 30 copies of Hugo Reinhold’s sculpture Ape With Skull (1892) purchased on eBay at his exhibition ‘Shape of the Ape’ at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, in 2007.

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