“Blatant LaFargery” Interview with Doug Harvey

Doug Harvey of LESSART interviewed Antoinette LaFarge about her new book, Sting in the Tale: Art, Hoax, and Provocation.

Harvey’s lifelong interest in art and hoaxes led to a fascinating conversation between himself and LaFarge, whose book he calls “a substantial new compendium of anecdotal evidence and theoretical musings” about “art that straddles the line of truthiness.”

When questioned what distinguishes a fictive artists from a prankster, LaFarge noted the sheer quantity of “evidence” necessary for the world-building that is central to countless parafictions. She stated, “It’s impossible not to respect the depth and richness of the fiction and all its created objects and thereby to understand that the artist is a serious person rather than a mere prankster. In part, it is because most fictive art projects have a ‘self outing’ aspect— they offer clues to their fictionality that allow viewers to slowly figure out that they are in the presence of fakery rather than be slapped in the face with the fact that they have been deceived.”

Alongside this, LaFarge emphasized the importance of questioning assumptions, especially in regard to QAnon and other political phenomenon she discussed with Harvey. She claims there is “real value in helping people to shift the assumptions that underlie their thinking— it’s always our assumptions that get us in the most trouble.”

Read the rest of Harvey and LaFarge’s conversation here!

If interested in learning more about the artists featured in LaFarge’s illustrated survey and the extensive worlds’ they’ve created, sign up to be notified for Artist Conversations here!

December 8 at 5 o’clock Pacific Time Antoinette LaFarge will be in conversation with Iris Häussler (whose work is featured on the book’s cover).

Häussler is a Canadian-German artist based in Toronto, who has had several controversial exhibitions across Canada and at the Art Gallery of Ontario that question the presumed assumption artists must be truthful to their audiences. Häussler’s genre-defying art is often interactive and immerses audiences in the fictional worlds of invented artists from past eras such as Mary O’Shea and Sophie La Rosière.