Adam Ruins Everything – How the Fine Art Market is a Scam | truTV

It just sold for 5 billion. Of course it did. It’s brilliant. Oh, it’s performance art! These rich snobs don’t know
more about art than you. They’re mostly just here
to make money. Oh! We’re told that art like this
is so expensive because it’s the best
in the world. But the fact is, you’re looking
at a massive price-fixing scheme that benefits wealthy collectors
and excludes artists like you. Adam, shush it! The prices here are high
because the art
is objectively good. Nope. The prices are
high because a small group of galleries and
collectors decided it was good, and once they do that, the price goes up, whether or
not anyone else agrees. You. Paint something. (gasps) I declare this valuable art. Go find more cubed meat. We’re gonna be rich. (chuckles) Well, outsider art
is a rich tradition. How much is this worth? There’s no way to tell. Big galleries actually keep
their prices a secret so they can change them
depending on who the buyer is. For you, my friend,
ten grand, and for you, my enemy,
200 grand. And they do their best
to keep out buyers who are considered elites. Daniel Radcliffe once tried to
buy a fancy painting, but he was denied when the dealer told him he was waiting for a more prestigious collector. For you?
Not for sale. Please, sir. I just want one painting that
doesn’t talk to me. Why are you doing this to me? Because if the gallery only
sells to art world elites, they’ll be seen as a better
brand, which means all of their other
paintings will be worth more. Ah. (cash registers dinging) Hmm. That is shady behavior. Well, luckily, we outsiders
could just go to art auctions. They’re democratic open markets
where anyone can buy. Sorry, but the major
auction houses are just as rigged
as the galleries. (pounds gavel) Auctions play all sorts of dirty
tricks to drive their prices up, like straight up
paying people to bid. Let’s start the bidding
at $4 million. Do I see 4 million? (snoring) 4 million. And if the bidding
is too slow, auctioneers even use a practice
called chandelier bidding. They just point to a random spot
above everyone’s heads and pretend to see a bid. And I see 5 million from
the bidder in the back, she’s my girlfriend
who you don’t know
’cause she lives in Canada. Whoop, she’s back across the
border, so don’t turn around. Oh, whatever.
Six million. Why are you okay with this? Oh, simple, darling. I own other paintings
by this artist, so when this one sells high, it increases the value
of my entire collection. Sometimes we even bid
anonymously to drive up the price. Up next, we have a fine
comdiment-based work from an emerging artist. Ooh! I want to bid on this one. We should all bid on this one. Let’s start the bidding
at $7 million. This shady market can also be
manipulated by crooks who use it to defraud the government
and launder dirty money. Hello. I would like to buy a painting
from your fine gallery using legitimate cash moneys. The red is… paint. But not all collectors
are crooks. I mean, there’s good people
out there who donate their collections
to museums. Sure, and that seems
very charitable, until you remember that
that donation is also
a tax write-off. And here’s where it can
get really shady. The collectors hire
their own appraisers to determine the value of
the art they donate, so they can use it as
one big tax dodge. You owe 40 million
in taxes this year. Ugh! What if I donate this painting
worth 40 million? At the end of the day, this is
what the fine art market is. A few rich people
passing money around. No! No! Then I want
no part of this! Screw this gallery
and screw this opening! I will make it in
the fine art world on my own. Sorry, that’s not really
how it works. Persephone,
this is Allison Schrager. She’s an economist and
journalist at Quartz who has reported on
the fine art market. Not only is the fine art world
manipulated financially, it’s also extremely exclusive. Only a small share of artists
are allowed to succeed and only their work is
considered valuable. And those aren’t necessarily
the best artists. Often, they’re just the ones
who are best at marketing themselves and at
playing the gallery game. One art dealer I spoke
with even admitted that the art you buy
in the street is cheaper and often
just as good, it’s just not as prestigious, so big collectors in museums
just aren’t interested in it. And that means this small group
of ultra wealthy investors ends up defining
what fine art is. So the fine art world
is all a lie, and it’s all about money and who gets into this
stupid snobby club? More or less.

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100 thoughts on “Adam Ruins Everything – How the Fine Art Market is a Scam | truTV

  1. So basically: you got outplayed by smart people who became rich by being smart and finally realise that modern art isn't art at all.

  2. I think you should substitute the "Fine Art" with "Modern Art". Modern Art is NOT "fine" at all and has been culpable as the vehicle for these assholes all along.

  3. If they sent me back into history to kill the worlds worst monster I would do the right thing…I really would. It's just that I would have a hard time choosing between Hitler and Picasso

  4. Adam ruins everything : homosexuality

  5. This completely sums up the world art market.

    There was a British TV programme where they had about 10 people make 3 pieces of "art" in a car breakers yard in 10 minutes. All of the "artists" had no art training or knowledge of art, they all had every days jobs or were unemployed. They then hired a small London art gallery and some actors. The actors posed as the mysterious Polish artist, their agent and the gallery owner. The paintings were given outrageous prices, which was very funny as they were all done in about 3 minutes each by random people in a scrap yard. They then hid cameras everywhere and even had a TV crew to cover the opening as the artist was such and important new discovery. Then the TV company invited loads of so called art experts to come and enthuse over the work, which they did. They said amazing things on camera about the art and and the artist. The programme then ran a film of the artworks being created. Within seconds the famous London art critics made a dash for the door. The scam was up and they had been publicly embarrass on national TV.

    I forget the name of the TV programme, but if I can find it I will edit my comment and post the name and hopefully a URL.

  6. I like how this is something I knew already, but Adam & co are able to explain WHY the prices of famous works of art are so arbitary. God bless this show 🙏

  7. If I looked at a painting and I loved it. It's good art for me. I don't care what others say. This is also the case with movies, video games.

  8. As an artist, I want to take a flamethrower to every lazy, dozen-stroked canvas that gets praised for being “genius.”

  9. WOW defrauding the government —- then there are all of those US empire people that defrauded all of us tax payers in 1913 when they created that scheme called the federal reserve. The IRS is one of their illegal plans, too. They are psychopathic corporations that don't give a damn about the rest of us. I read that when they give to charity they make sure that they make a lot of money, too.
    Oh yeah, I found out that death is a lie. Get the book "Hands of Light" written by the physicist Barbara Brennan. She explains this really well.

  10. Everything you said here could be said about all "fine art." Not just modern art. The same is true for 19th century art, except that average people like and understand it–issues with value, collectors, auctions, etc. The reason you used made up examples like hot dog painting, is that it accentuates something that seems super unfair, and absurd to people that stop liking art after Picasso. Looking at the top sellers like Damien Hurst, Ai Weiwei and Banksy; nobody "on the street" could possibly be selling things like this. Their art is to huge. The problems you are describing with image is also present in the music industry (including the classical music industry), as well as performance art, and literature. This doesn't make it a "scam." Economics aside, the rejection of modern art is as old as art itself. Art not being "accessible" is a problem that isn't a problem. It is the person that hates all indie movies and starts critiques on IMDB with "emperor has no clothes," while falling in love with every superhero movie released. This is just anti-intellectualism mixed with an economic critique that could be applied to all branded products.

  11. Who didn’t already notice this? I’ve known this since I was told Jackson Pollick paintings were “priceless”

  12. The legitimacy of Salvator Mundi…Who says its art? Should we believe them? Does Money follow Art…check out There is No F in ART and make up your own mind.

  13. Some modern art can be really good and the skill and the supplies used in it can add up to thousands. Although the fine art market can be really bad and full of scams. I agree. As an artist it is so frustrating.

  14. I think every artist already knew this, when it started back in the 60's , conceptual art was supposed to be a rebellion like 'try and sell this you dickheads, you can't cos it's an idea!' kind of thing. It didn't work out obviously. 

    Also people who don't get modern art can't use this as an excuse because the artists themselves mostly aren't the scammers, Gerhard Richter has said he's "shocked" by the price of art (when one of his paintings sold for like 30 million) and he pointed out that the people who do the selling, not necessarily the artist themselves, get most of the money. 

    Edvard Munch even said, "what ruins modern art is vast markets" (and then a bit about pretty pictures that's not relevant here). 

    If artists didn't put themselves at odds with the market then 'selling out' wouldn't be a thing.

  15. this could be true for a small fraction of the entire art making industry. Like Big budget hollywood features and A-list star talent. there is still a market for small budget and independant artists and galleries. And some of these break through to ELITE market, It all requires good PR, consistent work, good press, good critic reviews and on and on…20 years later maybe you then can be a famous artist.

  16. there was a enlarged close-up photo print of a man's butthole in New York that sold for 30 million dollars. Not kidding.

  17. This is why a bunch of lines and squiggles by jackson pollock sells for hundreds of millions while some really sick digital art online that took time and effort and brings legitimate joy to people sells for 50?

  18. I just subscribed because this is how I see the world actually. Maybe I have trust issues but it tells me what not to waste my time on.

  19. Have you heard of subjectivity of economics. This is the basis for the economy. If you think that something is worth one thing and I think it is worth another than that is fine. Art has no value other than the materials needed to make it. Art is in the eye of the beholder.

  20. He is wrong about art appraisers and IRS charitable donations of art for the purpose of tax deductions through the IRS….See USPAP and the current IRS regulations. Inflated appraisals are illegal. Fine art appraisers must be accredited member of a professional appraisal organization and be trained and qualified and will be subject to criminal prosecution for inflated or false values. The IRS also has its own a fine art appraisal review panel.

  21. The rich have always taken advantage of artists. The industry has a huge bigotry issue too. Fine art student here; the art world is brutal.

  22. He should totally do one on how the Academy Awards is a snooty movies club that only pretentious old people watch and how if your not in the producers club or directors list, you dont have a shot in hell of winning.

  23. Adam Ruins Everything is easily one of the most obnoxiously-written shows but I keep watching for the sake of knowing facts I could probably live without. Well played, CollegeHumor, well played…

  24. "In The Gallery" Dire Straits

    Harry made a bareback rider proud and free upon a horse
    And a fine coal miner for the NCB that was
    A fallen angel and Jesus on the cross
    A skating ballerina you should have seen her do the skater's waltz

    Some people have got to paint and draw
    Harry had to work in clay and stone
    Like the waves coming to the shore
    It was in his blood and in his bones
    Ignored by all the trendy boys in London and in Leeds
    He might as well have been making toys or strings of beads
    He could not be in the gallery

    And then you get an artist says he doesn't want to paint at all
    He takes an empty canvas and sticks it on the wall
    The birds of a feather all the phonies and all of the fakes
    While the dealers they get together
    And they decide who gets the breaks
    And who's going to be in the gallery

    No lies he wouldn't compromise
    No junk no bits of string
    And all the lies we subsidize
    That just don't mean a thing
    I've got to say he passed away in obscurity
    And now all the vultures are coming down from the tree
    So he's going to be in the gallery

  25. They should have gone into more depth about the laundering money part, which I think is the most relevant to the public.

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