Matty Mo

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Matty Monahan
The artist, Matty Mo, who also goes by "The Most Famous Artist".jpg
Mo in 2018
Known forstreet art, contemporary art, collaborations
Movementcontemporary art, street art

Matty Monahan is a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist and marketing entrepreneur best known for creating the conceptual art group, "The Most Famous Artist." Through this platform, Monahan makes social media-themed installations, public stunts and exhibitions to challenge viewers to examine how technology and the Internet impact society.[1] In 2017, Forbes published a feature on Monahan, promoting his innovative outlook on technology.[1] That same year, ABC News reported on his large-scale public installation in Los Angeles where he painted three residential homes bright pink as a commentary on class, community and digital legacy.[2][3] Monahan has partnered with international brands such as Gucci and his "#selfiewall" in the Venice Beach neighborhood in Los Angeles was dubbed by Los Angeles Magazine as being "The Most Instagramable Wall in L.A."[4][5]

Early History[edit]

Before creating the group, "The Most Famous Artist," Mo attended Stanford University and had a career in advertising technology.[6] In 2013, while he was the CEO of AlphaBoost, he was vacationing with Jesse Thomas in India when Thomas posted photos and video of Monahan drunk and nude to his personal and company social media accounts.[7] The incident jeopardized Alphaboost acquisition talks that Mohanan was involved in.[8][9]

"The Most Famous Artist"[edit]

Mo launched his platform, "The Most Famous Artist," in 2013 when he began taking preexisting paintings and adding something to them or painting over their surface.[10] This concept of appropriation is a longstanding one in art history and was used by iconic artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol.[11] Mohanan; however, adds an awareness of digital promotion and social media to this technique that modernizes its impact.[12]

"100 Thousand Dollars," 2016[edit]

In 2016, Mohanan created ten works, each resembling a stack of one thousand $100 bills; however, only the bills on the top and bottom of the stacks were visible making their literal monetary value a mystery.[13] The stacks were priced at $5,000 each and the first sold within twenty minutes of being posted on Instagram.[14] While buyers could look through the stacks of cash to count their actual monetary value, Mohanan added a seal to each piece that keeps all the bills together and said it will become an illegitimate art object should that seal be broken.[15]

"The Pink House" (2017)[edit]

In 2017, "The Most Famous Artist" painted three houses in a Los Angeles residential neighborhood bright pink that were scheduled for demolition and to be replaced by a high-end apartment building.[16] The installation was embraced on social media but also seen as an important lens on gentrification and community displacement.[17][18][19][20]

"Artificial Intelligence: THE END OF ART AS WE KNOW IT", 2017[edit]

In 2017, the group mounted a solo exhibition at The McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco where they partnered with anonymous hackers to build an artificial intelligence capable of analyzing and reproducing art styles of iconic artists, such as Chuck Close.[1] The first group of images is a series of portraits of people, including: factory workers, art dealers, pilots, artists and taxi drivers, whose jobs could one day by eliminated by artificial intelligence.[21] This exhibition serves as starting point for a discussion about the challenges facing humanity in light of big data, AI and robots.[22]

Public Speaking[edit]

In 2016, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's Artinfusion Insight program hosted Mohanan to speak about his innovative use of social media in his art and, in 2017, he delivered lectures at Sotheby's Institute of Art and at the Tech Open Air conference in Berlin.[23][24][25]

Charity Work and Presence at Auction[edit]

In 2016, Mohanan partnered up with artist Andrea Russett to paint a mural in Los Angeles that raised money for The Thirst Project, a non-profit organization whose aim is to bring safe drinking water to communities around the world.[26]

"The Most Famous Artist" has sold multiple works at auction through Julien's Auction and in 2017 was a featured artist on Artsy benefiting the American Civil Liberties Union.[27]


  1. ^ a b c Carter, Felicity. "The Most Famous Artist: Art Meets AI". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  2. ^ about, anabel munoz, bio, (2017-06-14). "Vacant homes become pink-hued art in Mid-City". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Artist Sparks Controversy for Painting Several Houses Pepto-Bismol Pink". Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  4. ^ "Exclusive: Gucci Collaborates With Artists on an Instagram Initiative". Vogue. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ "Matty Monahan, AKA The Most Famous Artist, Paints Uber-Popular Selfie Backdrops All Over L.A. - Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  6. ^ "Matty Mo, AKA The Most Famous Artist, Paints Uber-Popular Selfie Backdrops All Over L.A. - Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  7. ^ Biddle, Sam. "Tech Bros' Google-Sponsored Trip to India Turns Into Naked Beach Romp [UPDATE]". Gawker. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  8. ^ "Video of drunk, dong-waving CEO sends two startups on a downward spiral | The Daily Dot". The Daily Dot. 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  9. ^ "Nudity, Drunken Stupidity And A Jerk-Of-A 'Friend' May Cost A Startup Founder His Acquisition". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  10. ^ "Who is The Most Famous Artist ? Contributing to a Discussion on Meaning in Art". Widewalls. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  11. ^ "Matty Mo". Widewalls. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  12. ^ "Matty Mo, AKA The Most Famous Artist, Paints Uber-Popular Selfie Backdrops All Over L.A. - Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  13. ^ "Matty Mo, AKA The Most Famous Artist, Paints Uber-Popular Selfie Backdrops All Over L.A. - Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  14. ^ "This Artist Sells Money as Art - 100, 000 for 5, 000 Dollars ?". Widewalls. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  15. ^ "Meet the man selling bundles of cash on Instagram and calling it art". Digital Trends. 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  16. ^ "California Today: Batman, a True Angeleno". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  17. ^ "People Are Going Wild for Some Controversial Hot Pink Houses". Time. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  18. ^ Weiner, Zoë. "These Houses Were Painted ENTIRELY Pink and They're Begging You to Instagram Them". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  19. ^ "Pink Houses For Instagram in LA". ELLE. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  20. ^ "Do Not Instagram These Pink Houses, They Are A PR Stunt To Sell Rosé". LAist. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  21. ^ Lekach, Sasha. "Artist ironically uses AI to make portraits of people with jobs likely displaced by AI". Mashable. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  22. ^ Artist, The Most Famous (2017-06-26). "Artificial Intelligence: THE END OF ART AS WE KNOW IT". Medium. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  23. ^ "Artinfusion Insight » Matty Mo "The Most Famous Artist" | Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  24. ^ "Tech Open Air Conference & Speakers". Tech Open Air. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  25. ^ "The Most Famous Artist at Sotheby's Institute of Art". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  26. ^ Chesler, Josh (2016-04-07). "Social Media Stardom and "Gandhi" and Charity Collide on a Wall in Venice". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  27. ^ "Street Art for ACLU: Benefit Auction 2017 | Artsy". Retrieved 2017-12-12.