I thought to myself, "I know that artist. Discovered him at VOLTA last year." Large format photos of people on a city street all doing "the same thing." But when I read the artist's name on Art Moco I realized that this was a case of mistaken art identity. Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad was not familiar and that is a name I would have trouble forgetting. So I did a little research. This is the mage I was thinking of when I saw the above work:
Peter Funch, Informing Informers, 2000-2008
I have collected works by Peter Funch and I'm a big fan. I am intrigued to find similar works out there. This is not the first time I have run across works of art by different artists that look similar. Ideas often generate in multiple brains at the same time. And not just for artists. When I started Mixed Greens as a website dedicated to selling contemporary art, there was no other site like it out there. (artnet.com was the predominate art site in 1995). Mixed Greens launched within months of six other contemporary art e-commerce websites. (Remember nextmonet.com? How about iTheo.com?) We all had the same idea at the same time.
But what does it mean for artists? It can't be good for your career if people are always going, "Is that so and so's work?" when they are looking at your work. Or can it? Is the "winner" in this case the artist whose work digs in to the collective mind of the market? The artist with the more aggressive dealer? Or perhaps it is as simple as who better executes the idea?
Check out these artists websites here and here and make your own comparisons. They are actually very different artists who happen to have a few photographs in common.