AI Startups Are Facing a ReckoningRead more

Animation by Mike Sullivan. All photographs courtesy Danielle Baskin.
Animation by Mike Sullivan. All photographs courtesy Danielle Baskin.

How Silicon Valley’s Most Prolific Prankster Mirrors the Industry She Parodies

Danielle Baskin is a one-woman, startup-spoofing army—the force behind VC trading cards, Twitter check-mark homes and guerrilla art festivals held inside BART stations.

Dec. 23, 2021 9:00 AM PST

As the BART doors slid open, Danielle Baskin thought to herself, “Ohhh, shit.”

The train car was packed with art connoisseurs wearing sparkly dresses, blue tuxedos and at least one chicken mask. It was appropriate for the dress code: “eclectic formal attire.”

That same day, at the 2021 Art Basel in Miami, Silicon Valley hotshots sipped champagne on yachts and swapped non-fungible tokens. But Baskin’s event, held 3,000 miles away on an ordinary December day in the Bay, was a West Coast–style refutation of the elitist art festival, a day for any and all art lovers to gather regardless of net worth. She called it BART Basel.

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From left: Paul Graham, Garry Tan and Michael Seibel. Photos by Getty. Art by Mike Sullivan.
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