UPDATED June 3, 2021 to include the recent sale of an Italian invisible sculpture.
Perhaps it is only the unsophisticated among us who look at some examples of modern art and ask, “Why is this art?” Some look at pieces of valuable artwork and express revulsion at what they see. There is one art museum that may be controversial, but it is guaranteed that no one will be put off by what the eye beholds. Welcome to the Museum of Non Visible Art.
The Museum of Non Visible Art, as its name suggests, features works of art that cannot be seen. The reason they can’t be seen is that they exist only in the imagination. One such exhibit, as shown in the museum’s online gallery, is of a non visible person who is to be adopted by you. You are encouraged to imagine all the details about this person, who is to then leave the museum with you and remain at your side. The details are unclear about whether this non visible adoptee will ever return to the museum so subsequent visitors may also
see, observe, witness, look upon, gaze at, snobbishly pretend to understand, contemplate this unseen existence.
The museum is backed by Hollywood actor James Franco, who took to Kickstarter and other fundraising vehicles to raise money for the project. Other museums would be horrified at the thought of selling any of their collections to raise funds. After all, can you imagine the Louvre putting the Mona Lisa on eBay to raise money so it can renovate the bathrooms? The Museum of Non Visible Art is willing to take the risk that its most valuable pieces will end up in the hands of private collectors, however.
In 2011, Aimee Davison paid $10,000 for the exhibit “Fresh Air.” The coveted piece was described by Paste Magazine thusly:
A unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply.
If you are worried about how this purchase affected Ms. Davison’s cash liquidity, it might ease your concerns to know that came into some extra money in 2003 when she sold her soul on Craigslist for $100.
As for the museum’s backer, Franco has determined to contribute more than just his name and his money. He has also added to the museum’s holdings with such artistic creations as a 10-meter (33-foot) steamboat that was used in one of his unfinished movies. Alas, the boat is also unfinished, in that it lacks an engine. Keep that in mind if you choose to purchase it.
Of course, with exhibits of that size, the Museum must be massive — or, at least, it will be, if it ever gets built. For now, the museum, like its art, is non-visible. For now, the curators of the museum have to pique the interests of
suckers sophisticated investors by offering traveling exhibits. One such opportunity came a few years ago when the museum offered its “Ghost Portraits” display, giving visitors access to non visible portraits of famous figures such as Andy Warhol and Charlie Chaplin.
Recognizing that this writer may be too quick to dismiss something that is clearly beyond his cultural sophistication, we offer our own contribution to the Museum of Non Visible Art:
Note to potential investors: if you wish to purchase this exhibit to add to your private collection, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. No reasonable offer will be refused.
UPDATE: We honestly never imagined we would have to update this article, but alas, the world is crazier than even we dared imagine. In May 2021, Italian artist Salvatore Garau revealed that he sold an invisible sculpture for £13,000 (USD $18,324) to an unidentified buyer. The piece, entitled “I am” is intended to be displayed in a 5-foot by 5-foot square without artificial lighting or air conditioning because…. Who the heck knows? Seriously, this is really, really weird stuff.
So…. we add to our previous listing and offer to sell “I am — Version 2.0.” This phenomenal piece is exactly like the £13,000 sculpture by Garau, differing only in some very exciting ways that sufficiently differentiate it under the trademark and copyright laws of every applicable nation. This piece is certified by the Commonplace Fun Facts Art Department as being, “Really cool. Yeah, I mean…. Wow…. You just have to see it to believe it, Dude!”
Bidding starts at £10,000. What a bargain!