People Can Easily Be Fooled Into Thinking a Statue Is a Real Person

Nobody who walks by this statue on the High Line — Frank Benson’s Human Statue (Jessie) — thinks the statue is a person. And with good reason. It never moves, and it looks like a statue. But then artist Jeff Greenspan put a tip jar in front of it, and all of sudden, a crowd of people was speculating about the statue’s humanity, with a couple even giving it/her money.

In fact, Greenspan tells Daily Intelligencer that within ten minutes, the crowd grew so large that security started to get concerned about it blocking the walkway. Greenspan “grabbed the bowl and ran,” which he notes “was hard because people thought I was stealing from a street performer!”

We asked Greenspan what he thinks this experiment means about, you know, people. 

I think people want to believe amazing and quasi-magical things are out there,” he said. “And even if/when people eventually realized it WAS a statue, they seemed supremely satisfied and humored that someone put a bowl of money in front of it and played with their reality a bit.”

People Easily Fooled to Think Statue Is Person