The Art Market is a Scam (And Rich People Run It)

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Writing by Sam Denby
Research by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Written by Wendover Productions

Wendover Productions is all about explaining how our world works. From travel, to economics, to geography, to marketing and more, every video will leave you with a little better understanding of our world. New videos go out every other Tuesday.


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  1. The problem in this video is not the art market but the tax deduction system. That tax deduction law should just be revoked. For the rest I see less of a problem. Some-one driving up the price of Warhols just by buying most of them is the same as someone driving up the price of a cryptocurrency or a niche commodity by buying almost all of them. The problem for that person is that when he/she sells the price will drop immediately very fast after the first few items are sold therefore the collection value only exists as imaginary value and cannot be liquified.

  2. There is no such thing as intrinsic value. The monetary value of everything is how much someone is willing to pay for it. Just because someone paid more for something than you would have does not mean you get to call it a scam.

  3. you should do video on how the "art market" is going digital. the "pixel art" market is even more ridiculous than the gallery system. it's a step closer to popularity contests of the 'best' price for the most famous images. the end result will be a dumpster fire. Campbell's Soup all around.

  4. Hold the phone!!!! Are you trying to tell me that the poorest of the poor living on less than minimum wage with no health benefits….. Are you trying to tell me that THEY DON'T RUN EVERYTHING ???? Knock me over with a feather!

  5. My art professor talks about the industry as it’s quiet small and seemingly run by 4 old ladies who get together once a year for a canoe trip.

    Galleries that sell your work get a 20-50% cut… which I understand if it’s sold at that gallery but apparently galleries that housed your work years before demand a cut when your work is sold.

    Personally I think this is highway robbery. As an artist you don’t get residual or royalties if it’s sold again.

    I’ve heard though NFT’s might be a game changer in the art world…putting more control in the hands of artists.

    I don’t want to make million dolllar works… I just want to be able to make something I’m passionate about and hopefully live off of my work.

  6. "The Art Market is a Scam (And Rich People Run It)": I've said this time and time again. The same applies to auctions of artefacts once belonging to famous and infamous people.

    A piece of "art" is only a price that the filthy rich put on it. The actual "value" or "worth" is quite another matter…

    This scam is nothing but a means to squirrel away ill gotten gains in the form of a tax avoidance/evasion ruse.

  7. This is so much money laundering in the art market. Mexico in 2012 put limits on what could be spent on a piece of art and demanded auction houses and galleries require more information on who was actually doing the buying. In one year since that law was in place prices dropped 70%. Drug cartels no longer were interested I guess!

  8. The wisest thing that should be on every wise individual's list is to invest in different stream of income and don't depend on the government to bring in money especially now the pandemic is hitting the economy

  9. Well, anyone with with a brain cell knows that behind worthless junk selling for millions there has to be a scam and since it's a rich man's scam, the politicians who are rich themselves or bought and sold in the market place by the rich, will turn a blind eye.

  10. Are your figures in the beginning only accounting for fine art? Because I feel like if you considered graphic design, entertainment art, illustration, architecture, would add up to a lot more, art is literally everywhere you look

  11. I own a very valuable piece, by a very prominent painter.
    The last evaluation I received, in 1994, was $6M+.
    Very few people know I have it.
    I've learned that if you're not a "regular" in their world, Christies & Sothebys aren't interested in speaking with you.
    HA! So be it. I'm not desperate for money. I like the piece. It looks okay on my guest room.

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