Reb Han (RebHan) painting in Museum of Modern Art
Museum visitors study the RebHan painting in the Museum of Modern Art - Sunday, May 1 1994
Necking, by Reb Han (RebHan) The painting installed at MoMA: "Necking," acrylic and oil on canvas.


ART DAILY - listed as one of the milestones in art history

NEWSWEEK - "A Break-in and a Breakthrough"

NEW YORK POST - "won plaudits from museum goers - but officials were perplexed"

NBC News - "an act of genius"

In 1994, Reb Han (Paul RebHan) smuggled one of his paintings into New York's Museum of Modern Art and secretly installed it on a wall, where it stayed on display for three days before administrators realized it was not part of the official collection.  Reb's goals were: 

1. To radically alter accepted perceptions about how art becomes exhibited in museums.

2. To alter the conception of the artwork from something that is completed after the paint dries.  Here, the act of smuggling the painting into the museum, hanging it, and the resulting controversy were as much a part of the art as the painted canvas.  The creation process extended beyond the completion of the painting.

3. To make a symbolic protest against the contemporary art establishment, in which small groups of individuals hold inordinate influence over public exposure and perceptions of value.

This event marked the first occurrence in history where a painting was smuggled into a museum.  It was followed by other Reb Han installations at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles's Museum of Contemporary Art, London's Royal Academy of Art and New York's Mary Boone Gallery.

In subsequent years the act of sneaking one's own work into a museum has been copied by other artists around the world.


Keywords for this page: moma, museum of modern art, royal academy of art, metropolitan museum of art, new york city, orb paintings, rebhan, reb han, artist, painter, art attack, perceptual art, perception hacking, art hacker, art hacking
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