Illegal Art

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Illegal Art
Founded 1998
Founder Philo T. Farnsworth (pseudonym)
Genre Mashup, Electronic, Dance, Glitch, Experimental music, Pop
Country of origin USA
Official website

Illegal Art is a sampling label that was started by a person using the name Philo T. Farnsworth in 1998. The label was instantly launched to infamy with the legal threats surrounding Deconstructing Beck, a compilation made exclusively from sampling Beck's music.[1] This was followed by two other theme-based compilations, Extracted Celluloid and Commercial Ad Hoc. All three were co-released with Negativland's Seeland Records label and sponsored by RTMark. After these theme based compilations, Illegal Art focused on artist releases. One of the most popular artists on Illegal Art is Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis), who in 2006 released his third album, Night Ripper, to critical acclaim on the label, earning a Wired Magazine Rave Award a year later.[2][3]

Illegal Art also released the Steinski Retrospective, spanning his work from 1983-2006. It includes the legendary Lessons, that have been described as "one of the most desirable and prized bootleg recordings in hip hop" (Antidote). It also contains a variety of other essential tracks, and his critically acclaimed Nothing To Fear: A Rough Mix, an hour-long mashup that was produced for Solid Steel/BBC London and hailed as "the closest to a masterpiece the genre has produced."[4]

As of April 2014 Illegal Art's website states that the label has been on an "indefinite hiatus" since 2012.

Art Show[edit]

Illegal Art is also the title of an art exhibit/project sponsored by Stay Free! Magazine, who asked permission from the label for the use of their name. The exhibit debuted in New York City and has since traveled to several other cities. Subsequently this show of appropriated art was appropriated by San Francisco based artists Elliot Lessing and Gordon Winiemko; the two artists created a "shadow" website, (the "Stay Free" show's site is and reflecting their concerns about the simplistic binary implied by "illegal art," they launched a show at the now defunct BUILD artspace, called "I Want a Mainstream." The show was a collection of "mainstream" artwork (from movies, popular music, design, and such) to which visitors could offer up their own selections. It also included images from the "Illegal Art" show appropriated from the web.

Artists on Illegal Art label[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A letter from the recording industry -
  2. ^ Pitchfork review of Night Ripper
  3. ^ Watercutter, Angela (April 24, 2007). "The 2007 Rave Awards". Wired Magazine, April 24, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  4. ^ "A love song to bastard pop" -
  5. ^ "JUNK CULTURE". Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Review: Junk Culture – Wild Quiet". July 31, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 

External links[edit]