“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