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Lustfaust was a hoax 1970s German electronic music band, whose memorabilia was notably featured in the Beck's Futures exhibition in 2006,[1] and which deceived Sunday Times cultural commentator Waldemar Januszczak into running an article describing their claimed activities in giving away free copies of their music to fans. Januszczak went so far as to tip the collection for the Beck's Futures prize.[2]

The exhibit, which was eventually runner up for the prize once it had been exposed, was designed by conceptual artists Jamie Shovlin, Mike Harte and Murray Ward. Shovlin had previously gained notoriety by setting up an exhibition of art that was claimed to have been produced by a 13-year-old missing schoolgirl called Naomi V. Jelish (who, like Lustfaust, never existed — her name was even an anagram of the artist's name).[3] The work has been praised for the depth of its deception — the artists set up fake web sites about the band and added it to Wikipedia,[4] assembled photographs and chronologies for their tours, recorded an interview with the band's "German-Belgian frontman", and even recorded excerpts of music which were attributed to them. The deception was so deep that some viewers actually boasted of having seen the band live.[5] This was in spite of deliberate clues which had been included in the exhibition, such as notes describing the band as veering "dangerously close to Spinal Tap-isms" and "an obscurantist's dream".[6]

One person who guessed at the exhibition's nature was The Times art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston. Four days before Januszczak's piece was published, she praised the collection, but cautioned "Don’t be surprised if the entire band is a fabrication - down to its references on internet sites."[7]

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