Hammer to Nail Review: The Art of the Prank

Artist, Joey Skaggs, has been orchestrating elaborate pranks since the 1970’s. But the difference between what he does and, say, the people who post bogus articles on Facebook, is that exposing the truth is a crucial part of Skaggs’ mission. In this way, he is able to shed some light on social issues and, more importantly, embarrass the media for failing to do their due diligence. He’s always known exactly what elements he needs to include for baiting big news outlets like CNN, the Village Voice, and the Huffington Post. Director Andrea Marini profiles Skaggs in his fascinating new documentary, The Art of the Prank. Marini crosscuts to the greatest hits of Skaggs’ past and back to the present as plans for his latest prank unfold.

Skaggs conceived his life’s work after the local news misinterpreted a Vietnam protest he organized as merely a gathering of littering hippies. He was dismayed that they had gotten it so wrong. He wondered how outlandish a story had to be before they would actually do any investigation, so he decided to test his theory. What he does aren’t merely April Fools jokes. Usually there’s a social message behind the deception. The main one being, don’t believe everything that you hear. Someone isn’t necessarily an authority simply because they present themselves as such. The media manipulates us all the time. Why not manipulate them back?…

Read the rest on Hammer to Nail!


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