In thinking about this type of interventionist activity, I am reminded of the practice of "museum pranks". I insert below two events that were staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the first case, the more recent activity, a group aimed to bring attention to a "regular person's" physical similarity to that of Philip IV and, secondly, to heighten awareness about the newly re-attributed work by Velazaquez. In the second, agit-prop phenomenon Banksy interrupts the installations at the Met by adding his own works to the conversation. In the first example below, the activity was not sanctioned but seems harmless; in the second, there's no sanctioning but it aims at clandestine activity.
Above: An unauthorized autograph signing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an actor who resembles King Philip IV of Spain. Standing in front of the 400-year-old Velázquez painting, the "King" greeted museum goer, giving them free signed 8x10 photos of himself. See an amazing recap, with photos, here.
Above: British performance artist Banksy, who has been called "the Duchamp of our century."
Question for the readers: do you think that these "museum pranks" qualify as art? If so, are they heirs of a past tradition: Or, do they break with a tradition completely, and, if so, how? Or do they forge a new path entirely? Does anyone (artists or otherwise) have the "right" to do this kind of thing? What do you think?