Outing the Meta-artist

In yesterday’s Blueberry Hangout we discussed Molly’s continuing work with Opal Whiteley, and Michael introduced the fascinating artist Shea Hembrey. Like Roberta Breitmore, The Watermelon Woman, Luther Blissett, and many others, these artists work with ideas of Identity & Authenticity, of Fact & Fiction.

If you think about it, Rrose Selavy’s oeuvre isn’t all that amazing. She really only becomes interesting when you out that she’s “really” Marcel Duchamp. Oh isn’t that clever and insightful. Serbian artist Darko Maver created simulated horror and carnage of war installations. His pieces about war in the Balkans shocked and mesmerized audiences around the globe and even at the Venice Biennale. The twist was that he wasn’t a “real” artist presenting simulated (“fake”) war imagery; he was a “fake” artist presenting “real” war imagery. Maver’s work had already had a “real” and global impact, but the twist made it resonate more deeply (and also more artworld insiderly)

Are alternate identities only, or most, interesting once outed, and therefor rendered somewhat “over” once the punchline has been sprung? Can, Should, and How Does, an alternate identity stand on its own?