Taking the Mickey

Philatelists of the British Isles unite: there’s a new stamp album on the market. Only this one is going to be pretty difficult to get hold of, and the paperwork certainly isn’t available in back copies from the Royal Mail. The collectables in question are a series of subversive stamps which have been appearing on the art market since 2005, entitled Stamps of Mass Destruction and released by the Cautese Nationál Postal Disservice. The fictitious organisation is run by art-prankster Jim Cauty, ex-KLF star and anarchic K Foundation member, notable for burning a million pounds. But while the CNPD is quite a convoluted print-selling prank, there are topical issues at stake: Cauty thumbs his nose mainly at the allied troops’ occupation of Iraq, depicting them as Mickey Mouse and friends brandishing guns on the battlefield, while defacing our monarch’s head with a tin army hat or gas mask. Wider anti- establishment targets even include Antony Gormley, with a stamp called Scrap of the North. The new book, Lying, Cheating, Stealing and the Death of Art, left empty but for six starter-pages, faces a Mass Extinction Cull this week, something the CNPD practices regularly to subvert its own sales ledger – this game of capitalist cat-and-mouse sends Ebay prices rocketing for unexpectedly rare prints. But Cauty’s fans seem to lap the game-playing up, and if the astute elite actually got hold of a copy, they now have to buy stuff to fill it.

Lying, Cheating, Stealing and the Death of Art was deleted today: some second-hand copies are available from AMUTI Gallery, 10 Woburn Walk, London WC1

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