Britney Spears fans were feeling oh-so-lucky… but only for a brief moment.

Last week, in a stunning Instagram post, Galerie Sympa in France claimed that it would be giving the “Hit Me Baby One More Time” pop star her debut solo art exhibition. Not only that: the gallery also claimed to now represent the singer, who is also an amateur painter of native plants.

The show was supposedly scheduled to open on January 18 at the gallery’s space in the southwestern village of Figeac.

The exhibition’s title? “Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!” a nod to Spears’s now-iconic 2017 Instagram video of herself working on two canvases (one of colorful swirls, and the other of Lisa Frank-esque flowers) while Mozart’s “Turkish March” resounds in the background. 

But details for the show were otherwise sparse, and when reached for specifics, gallery co-director Jean Colombain said only: “Indeed, we’re showing Britney Spears’s art, as publicized.” Asked for particulars, he said: “We work only with journalists who come to visit our shows, in the flesh.”

In the meantime, media outlets around the world, including the Independent and the New York Post, picked up the story in earnest.

But it all unraveled this afternoon when representatives for Spears reached out to the BBC, which also ran a credulous article, to say there was “no truth” to Galerie Sympa’s claims.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the gallery still lists the exhibition as running “till the world ends” (an allusion to Britney’s 2011 song off the album Femme Fatale). The website also prominently features a painting by Spears that was auctioned for charity in Las Vegas in November 2017, when it fetched $10,000 and was purchased by entertainment reporter Robin Leach.

 Britney Spear's solo exhibition at Galerie Sympa was announced over Instagram.

Britney Spear’s solo exhibition at Galerie Sympa was announced over Instagram. But it was all a ruse. A ruse!

Galerie Sympa’s Instagram page, meanwhile, is still flush with Britney-related content, with recent posts commemorating the 21st anniversary of the release of her debut album … Baby One More Time.

And it may all have been a ploy to boost the career of artist Cédric Fargues, who is the gallery’s co-director.

One post on the gallery’s Instagram page shows a digital collage of three different images of Spears against an abstract background. The caption refers to Fargues, who, it says, “depicts contemporary western culture’s most relevant poetic signifiers when he maps Mariah Carey and Britney Spears in colorfull [sic],  dream-like landscapes… Fargues’ work is almost totally disseminated through blogs and Facebook pages, making the powerfull [sic] nature of his social comment diluted and perversally [sic] viral.”

But before the lie came apart on Tuesday, Fargues deflected doubts voiced by Instagram users. Responding to one message expressing uncertainty as to the truth of the Britney Spears show, he replied: “Ur feeling is wrong, it’s a miracle!.”

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