Teen’s Glasses Art Prank At San Francisco Museum Goes Viral

An art prank at the recently re-opened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art went viral after 17-year-old TJ Khayatan and his friends put his glasses in an empty space and documented as people observed it as art. The Huffington Post notes that some even took photos of the prank exhibit. Check out TJ’s Twitter pics from the scene below.

Khayatan explained to BuzzFeed News the motivation behind his prank glasses exhibit.

“Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” he said. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us. We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people.”

TJ shared pics on Twitter of his social experiment and the pics quickly went viral. “I can agree that modern art can be a joke sometimes, but art is a way to express our own creativity,” he said. “Some may interpret it as a joke, some might find great spiritual meaning in it. At the end of the day, I see it as a pleasure for open-minded people and imaginative minds.”

SFMOMA reopened earlier this month after a $305 million, multi-year redesign and expansion that was designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta. Absent from the newly remodeled space is the Blue Bottle cafe on the museum’s fifth floor. The eatery has been replaced by McCalls Catering, and Bay Area pastry chef and Blue Bottle owner Caitlin Freeman is accusing the museum of copying her signature art-themed cakes, per ArtNetNews.com.

Freeman and her husband opened the Blue Bottle at the museum in 2009, where she created a selection of cakes and pastries in the likeness of artworks by notable artists. She even wrote a cookbook in 2013 titled Modern Art Desserts, and the Blue Bottle has since grown into a national chain.

When SFMOMA reopened, the Freemans lost their contract with the museum to McCalls Catering. Now, Caitlin is sounding off about her rival copying her signature cakes, especially since the museum chose not to renew Blue Bottle’s contract.

“If they didn’t want what I was doing, then why is this happening?” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It makes me not what to go back to the museum, but it’s so beautiful.”

Unfortunately, Caitlin knows there’s nothing she can do legally, as there are no laws protecting chefs or the food industry from plagiarism. “It’s so tacky and so gross, but there’s kind of nothing I can do about it,” Freeman added. “I guess I just have to feel good that I wrote the g–damn book on art desserts.”

President of McCalls Catering, Lucas Schoemaker, said in a statement, “There is no controversy. It’s SFMOMA who needs to answer all these questions.”

TJ’s art prank is the only hype SFMOMA has taken to social media to address. The museum got a laugh out of it, tweeting that the teen may be a modern-day Marcel Duchamp, know for famously buying a toilet, turning it on its side, and signing it “R. Mutt 1917.” He named the piece “Fountain.” The move was meant to explore and challenge what is traditionally considered art and worthy of occupying space at a museum.

[Photo by Olga Rodriguez/AP Images]