ARTICLE – The Sting: The Long Con of the Establishment Art World


“If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” So runs a common phrase used to poke gentle fun at perceived gullibility in others. The expression originates from the exploits of infamous con man George C. Parker, who in the early 20th century fraudulently sold many New York City landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, multiple times. The targets of his confidence tricks were wealthy rubes: usually tourists or immigrants who thought they would be able to both cash in and achieve elevated social status by owning such prestigious properties.

It might seem incredible to us that anyone would fall for such blatant falsehoods, but con men like Parker understand human nature very well. Greed and vanity are powerful flaws in the human heart, which can be manipulated by the unscrupulous. The wild success of Parker’s audacious schemes have achieved legendary status, but because he had no rights to the property he was selling, he ultimately finished his days in prison.  If he were operating today, Parker could have found an equally outrageous but completely legal way to fleece his marks: the contemporary art market.”

Read the full article here: The Sting: The Long Con of the Establishment Art World

9 thoughts on “ARTICLE – The Sting: The Long Con of the Establishment Art World

  1. Read your article and the two you linked to. Yessss. And then, I think in one of them someone mentioned Baudrillard writing a book called, “The Conspiracy of Art”. I looked it up, and you can read the intro online. It looks good. Here is one of the chief Post Modern philosophers saying contemporary art is vapid. Here’s a paragraph:

    “As long as art was making use of its own disappearance and the disappearance of its object, it still was a major enterprise. But art trying to recycle itself indefinitely by storming reality? The majority of contemporary art has attempted to do precisely that by confiscating banality, waste and mediocrity as values and ideologies. These countless installations and performances are merely compromising with the state of things, and with all the past forms of art history. Raising originality, banality and nullity to the level of values or even to perverse aesthetic pleasure. Of course, all of this mediocrity claims to transcend itself by moving art to a second, ironic level. But it is just as empty and insignificant on the second as on the first level. The passage to the aesthetic level salvages nothing; on the contrary, it is mediocrity squared. It claims to be null — “I am null! I am null! — and it truly is null.”

    Worth tracking down.

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