On Tuesday a curious Craiglist post appeared in the New York City region. Circulated on Twitter by writer Karen Han, the post listed a bizarre pig-shaped couch for sale for $250. “Got this pig shaped couch a few years ago,” the seller writes. “It was designed by artist Pavia Burroughs and is a really insane/cool addition to any home especially if you love pigs but even if you just like animals. Also very comfy!!!”
“Need someone to pick it up ASAP as my new boyfriend hates it and sadly this is non-negotiable for him,” it continued. The post also notes that the seller bought it for $11,000.
But the pig couch is not what it seems. Apparently this very pig couch has appeared frequently on Craigslist going as far back as 2011, documented in an extensive thread by the Twitter user @birthday_dinner. It’s unclear whether the pig couch is often sold, or simply resurfaced as a regular hoax. The fact that the pig couch listing has returned recently may be due to the fact that a similar Craigslist post was shown briefly in the latest episode of HBO’s show How To With John Wilson, which showcases years of on-the-street video footage Wilson has personally accumulated.
In reality the pig couch was indeed an art project by Philadelphia-based artist Pavia Burroughs, as the most recent listing notes, who sells her work through the Etsy shop As Cold As Earth. In an email to Jezebel she confirms that she made the piece as part of her senior thesis installation “Everywhere Under Your Feet,” the evidence of which still lives online.
“I sold the couch to a man in Maryland in 2011/2012, I thought I sold it for $500, though someone sent me today a blog saying it sold for $950 — I feel like that was my asking, but not what I got,” Burroughs writes. “The buyer told me that pigs were tied somehow to the branding of his company, and that he was going to use it as office furniture.” She adds that she hasn’t seen the couch since aside from the fake ads on Craigslist, which pop up every few years. “Everyone always uses the photo I took in 2011 in my student studio, so for all I know it’s still in Maryland,” she writes.
As for the couch’s continued virality and its popularity as a Craigslist scam item, Burroughs says her feelings are mixed. “I foremost think it’s hysterical that it’s a repeated Craigslist hoax,” she writes. “What frustrates me the most is when people think it’s a piece of art about obesity, as they are seeing it out of context - as someone who is fat and has no problem with being so, I would never ever make the piece they are making it out to be.”
“People love it, people hate it, it’s objectively horrifying, and weird, and adorable, and sad. It’s ironic that it’s famous for being ‘sold on Craigslist’, because it was very difficult to sell, it took me a whole year to get that $500 for it - but it’s part of the joke, it’s unbelievable that anyone would ever buy it,” she writes.
It’s unclear whether the couch is currently actually up for sale, but Jezebel has reached out to the seller for comment.
Update: This post has been altered to include the correct date of the Craigslist post.