A framed photo of a post from the forum 4chan sold for $90,900 on eBay over the weekend.
Nope, that’s not a typo. That’s two nines and three zeroes. That’s almost twice the median annual household income in 2013.
“Art used to be something to cherish / Now literally anything could be art / This post is art,” reads the 4chan post.
“This auction is for a One of a Kind work of art by Anonymous,” reads the listing, which opened bids at $500. “This work is untitled. This item will be shipped in a frame for convenience. This artwork will be sold with no refunds accepted.”
And indeed, the artwork was sold Aug. 1, after 45 bids, by an eBay seller named Xhacker02, who has not elaborated further on the “One of a Kind work.”
But wait, Xhacker02!! We have so many questions. Like, doesn’t the mysterious Anonymous own this “work” of “art,” not Xhacker02? And is this whole thing just an elaborate joke? And even if it is, does it still qualify as art??
Questions one and two are easily answered: It’s clearly a photo of a computer screen, not a screenshot, so Xhacker02 owns it. And this being 4chan, the probability that it’s a hoax is overwhelming — although the winning bidder has a long history on the site and hasn’t retracted any other bids in the past six months. That said, eBay does allow sellers and buyers to agree to cancel bids — so if Xhacker02 and the winning bidder are in cahoots, money will never change hands. And we will never know!
As for the art issue, we’ll leave that to someone who hasn’t SMH-ed her way through many a modern art museum. But, for the record, a wooden plank with two pom-poms on it was exhibited at last year’s Frieze Art Fair. And in 2011, the conceptual art duo Praxis — in collaboration with James Franco, naturally — raised more than $16,000 for a “non-visible art museum.” In other words, a museum of … nothing.
“Art itself is nothing,” the artists (“artists”?) explained in their confounding manifesto.
Under that definition, at least, the 4chan post seems to qualify. As does the 4chan-post-art-auction-hoax, if that’s indeed what’s going down here.