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Apparently stolen photos part of London digital art exhibit

April 13, 2012 |  8:15 am

The term “art thief” has taken on new meaning.

A pair of artists has turned 10,000 private photos they say they stole from 100 hard drives into a public slideshow. The exhibit, on display at London's Carroll/Fletcher gallery, also features intentionally tattered works by Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons.  

Curator Barbara Rodriguez Munoz told the Associated Press that the show is meant to question public versus private, as well as what falls under the "art" umbrella.

"We wanted to create a space where there's room for risk and a room for discussion," she said. "Sometimes if you don't shake those boundaries, you don't create conversation."

Some of the more innocuous photos of smiling friends and sleeping pets look like something lifted off a Facebook page, while others -- topless men posing in front of bathroom mirror and women baring breasts -- were likely intended for a more private showing.

Artists Eva and Franco Mattes claim the exhibit, titled "The Others," wasn't intended to humiliate its subjects, but instead, said Franco, offer a "celebration of daily life." 

The pair claim they first stumbled on the pictures in 1995 thanks to users who misconfigured settings in a file-sharing program, and used photos and film to document the digital thefts.

"We were not hackers," Franco said. "By chance we figured it out."

Perhaps it's time to change your password. 


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--Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Artists Franco and Eva Mattes look across works from their exhibition "Stolen Pieces" at the Carroll/Fletcher Gallery in London, April 12, 2012. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo)