Real Fake Art | Michael Wolf | Via
The art of copying famous artwork and hawking it online has become a multi-million dollar business for Chinese copy artists who blatantly rip off copyrighted work and sell it for pennies on the dollar to customers worldwide. Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Wolf‘s Real Fake Art is a discombobulating series of portraits of some of these copy artists posing with their handiwork in the city streets. Seeing these familiar images out of a museum or gallery context is jarring, at the very least. This juxtaposition is, at first, amusing, but this is an industry that earns $60 billion annually and churns these copies out like a factory assembly line.
They rip off not only mega-famous artworks—of work both in and out of copyright—but also works by living, lesser-known artists who are more dependent on sales of artwork to support their livelihood. Of course, the masterminds behind this mega-industry know it is impossible for smaller, independent artists to lawyer up and chase them down, so they are able to proceed without any deterrent.