Spot the pop art and take it home

Spot the pop art and take it home

We’re used to seeing fake handbags, watches and electronics in the shops on our travels. But can you spot a fake masterpiece? Art enthusiasts visiting Melbourne can win an original Andy Warhol artwork in a challenge to indentify the genuine Factory-produced original among the series of imitations by notorious forger Tony Tetro.

Tetro’s crimes span three decades in which he fooled art dealers and museums into buying and displaying his copies of Rembrandt, Miro and Dali paintings. It took artist Hiro Yamagata to spot a forgery of his own work to catch out the meticulous criminal. And it was for this reason that Tetro was chosen by the Art Series Hotel group to forge a number of Warhol works to be hung in three hotels in Melbourne as part of a competition.

Guests at The Cullen, The Blackman and The Olsen will be invited to test their knowledge by identifying the genuine work of pop art by Warhol, worth A$20,000 (about ?12,460), among nine replicas by Tetro, all hung in the hotels. The guest that correctly identifies the original and gives the most interesting reason why the chosen piece is genuine before 3 August 2012 gets to take it home; the fakes are also up for grabs to those who didn’t quite get it right but gave creative or entertaining reasons why they believed their choice to be the original.

The idea behind the competition is to question the true value of art. Forgery is common in the art world, with more 15% of all paintings sold being fakes – and with an expert like Tetro on board, this isn’t going to be an easy contest. The stunt follows the success of the Art Series Hotels’ challenge last year, to steal two pieces by graffiti artist Banksy from the hotels; eventually guests managed to lift ‘No Ball Games’ from under security guards’ noses by posing as a member of staff from the agency organising the challenge, and even managed to get the real staff to help move the artwork.

For more information, visit and follow the action on Twitter @ArtSeriesHotels. To book a room at one of the participating hotels, contact Art Series Hotels (00 61 1800 278 468;

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