Around mid-February, deep in the Swiss Winter of 2022, longtime faker FWD took up the mantle of organizing a Fake Rare exhibition alongside the prestigious Art Basel. A one page abstract distributed throughout the Pepeverse served as the basis for a fundraising effort that received over 30 donated assets which were eventually auctioned for an impressive $9K via scarce city.

Armed with these generously-donated funds, the noble FWD set about the laborious task of compiling videos of each of the directory’s 7 series, programming 7 cheapo laptops (purchased via BTC, ofc!) to display each asset for a duration of 6 seconds and including a QR lead to the explorer page of each asset. Tilted on their sides and with headphones for enhanced assets, this odd line of laptops would serve as the exhibition’s focal point and provide the perfect Pepe-viewing experience. What’s more, the generous fakees who had donated assets were also offered the special privilege of having their artworks displayed on the one and only big screen.

By mid-March, the perfect location for the world’s first ever (this is Fake News… the first ever was a one night stand in Wynwood during BTC Miami) Fake Rare exhibition had been found – Parzelle403 gallery, a cosy whitewashed space with a vast glass front located in the heart of Basel’s charming old town. As word spread of the progress taking place, esteemed artists and fakers from across the community began offering their services and physicals. Origin X contributed a 6 foot sitting Pepe sticker which adorned the gallery’s windowfront; Viva Lavandal provided a desaturated illustration for the event; Tasha Moon devised a historical Pepe poster for newcomers, and Fake Annie fired up her impeccable organizational skills to bring together physicals from across the continents. These included signed prints by Pepenardo, original Pepe paintings and drawings by artists such as Snuxton Pack and Rare Scrilla, and an intricately displayed Pepe Pokemon card by Fake Lenny. Pepe stickers, tote bags, caps and t-shirts were also provided by the Fake Rare community. Italian snacks were illegally imported, customs were tricked, and finally, as a finishing touch, a weed plant was placed courageously in the window. FWD breathed a sigh of relief and surveyed the pleasing sight – the exhibition was ready to roll. 

A charming group of seven fake artists were present in Basel on the opening day of June 7th and lead visitors through the exhibition, setting up Counterparty wallets for interested young Pepe-artists-in-the-making and cheerfully explaining the story of Pepe. For many, it was their first IRL meetings with members of the community, and as the drinks flowed laughter echoed across the 14th century cobblestones. The weather was so hot that the electrical tape melted away as these new friends cemented their relationships and discussed all things Pepe. Meanwhile the BTC market tanked from 30K to 20K, leading to a mixed mood of both nervous anticipation and friendly jubilation among all the fakers present.

After our hero FWD hastily arranged for an aircon fix to subdue the unbearable 36°C heat, the final night’s party was accompanied by a downtempo set from AKA Tony as the scarce city auctions came to a close. As the hammer came crashing down, the tipsy artists and community-members were relieved to find that every work sold for a commendable price given the market (except one work with a very high reserve). History’s first fake Pepe exhibition had been a success!

The next morning, as FWD re-emerged, hungover, to package and send the sold artworks with the gallery owner CJ, the gallery was unexpectedly visited by a certain lady – let’s call her lady X – who revealed herself to be an esteemed collector and gallery owner. After casually spending over $1K on Pepe-phernalia in five minutes, she left her fancy-looking business card and a lunch date to discuss, let’s say … “Project X”. Pepeverse—Watch This Space!

Written by Fake Lenny

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