On Playful Theft: Master Thieves and Trolling the (Art) Establishment
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This thesis places art heists in the context of their journalistic and online commentaries to examine their implications for subversive anti-capitalist criticism. The 2012 Rotterdam Art Heist functions as a case study that demonstrates how online trolling participates in the production of a culture that undermines the conventional dualisms between popular and high culture. By linking crime and its commentaries to game and performance theories the thesis promotes pop culture against its devaluation by 20th century cultural critics Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Hence, it argues for folklore’s role in critically rethinking the scholarship on the work of these acclaimed cultural critics. Anti-establishment perspectives are set against bourgeois moments in the Frankfurt School’s critical theory.