Art's all about creativity, so you can't really knock Tomas Georgeson for his latest project: hiding a check for £8,000 -- about $12,6000 -- in a British gallery. Whomever finds it gets to keep it. Accounts vary slightly on exactly why Georgeson decided host a scavenger hunt for greedy gallery-goers, but the artist himself says he did it to "get people through the door and change the mood of the place." In other words, it's a blatant ploy for attention.
The exhibition does sound sort of fun, though. Sure, there are also paintings and stuff in the gallery, but isn't interactive art the best kind of art? This project has layers, too. To announce his creative project, Georgeson placed a print ad in the local newspaper -- quaint, right? -- but word quickly spread to the Internet and social media. Funnily enough, the artist failed to tell the gallery about the additional piece in the exhibition. By the time the exhibition opened, it was in all the major newspapers in London. They evidently found out about it when a journalist called with questions for a story. Georgeson then hid the check on Tuesday, and by Wednesday afternoon, reporters say that the Milton Keynes Gallery, located about 45 minutes northwest of London, is "already markedly busier than usual." So it seems Georgeson's strategy worked. "I've come for the aesthetic value of the contents of the exhibition," a 74-year-old attending the exhibition told The Guardian, laughing. "No, of course I'm here for the check."
Georgeson did a good job hiding the dang thing, too. Not even the gallery staff can find it, and you'd better believe they've tried. They are able to provide a slight amount of guidance for attendees, though. When you walk into the gallery, an attendant politely informs you that the check is not located "in or behind" any of the artworks. Since the building is cube-shaped, a gallery spokeswoman explained to ABC, there's no use looking in any "niches or hidden corners," because they don't exist. If nobody finds it by March 1, all bets are off, and Georgeson will keep his money. He says he doesn't mind either way. "It almost doesn't matter what happens, it's the fact that it's there," Georgeson told The Telegraph. "If somebody chooses to spend it on mortgage payments, then those mortgage payments would become art, which is quite miraculous to me."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.