Art Heist venue

Art Heist

“Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal” 

Attributed to both Picasso and Stravinsky, but probably stolen from elsewhere

Art Heist is an experience that breaks open the world of art. It’s an adventure that connects audiences with conceptual art, the art gallery, questions of ownership and the value of art by letting them plan and execute their very own art heist: rob a gallery of a fictional work of conceptual art by faking a replica. Art Heist delivers the excitement of breaking into a gallery while posing its audience big questions about art: who is it for, who decides what’s good, why is it valuable and does the value of the art lie in the idea or in the object? The outcome of their heist is shaped by how they engage with these ideas.

Art Heist was originally conceived in collaboration with Winterwell Associates. Its first R&D/playtesting phase took place in May and October 2010 at the New Art Gallery Walsall. It was part of the Art of Ideas programme produced by Arts & Business West Midlands, and was supported by the Arts Council of England.

Coney was represented by Tracky Crombie, Annette Mees, Robin Ray, Sophie Sampson, me and others.

Some of the feedback we received:

“Imaginative and ambitious.”

Jeremy Thrill (artist)

“In terms of heart palpitations and sweaty palms, talking to the real security guard after I’d ‘fainted’ was one of the most exciting points.”

Vicky Roden

“[My] favourite part was producing the forgery itself – we based this on the few details we gleaned from the website (bowl, pigment, Roman rituals, something personal) and our experience of conceptual art; half the team did the making of the objects whilst the other half concentrated on making the instructions to the curator and on the ritual.”

Stephen Mills (consultant at IBM)

“…it made me think about Art in a different way, that we should keep it for the nation and it should be free for all to enjoy.”

Hannah Jones (HNC Fine Art student from Walsall College)

I think [Art Heist] is part of an important new strand of enquiry into audience and art” 

Melissa Page (R&D Officer at ixia, a public art think tank)

All this text was secretly stolen from the Coney website and replaced with an exact replica.