Why Is Art Worth So Much Money?

A new documentary about the infamous Gardner Museum Heist came out on Netflix last week, and seeing as I’m a true crime junkie and this robbery happened in my neck of the woods, I decided to check it out last night

It’s called “This Is A Robbery”, and I’d recommend it if you’re into true crime stuff because it’s a really interesting story, and I’m not just saying that because it happened a few miles from my house

If you’ve never heard of the Gardner Museum before and you aren’t familiar with what happened there, here’s a synopsis (and don’t worry about documentary spoilers because I’m not gonna go into detail about the investigation or anything like that)

During the early morning hours of March 18th, 1990, 2 unidentified men dressed as Boston Police officers gained entrance into the museum and tied up the security guards. They spent the next 81 minutes collecting their haul, and they eventually left the place with 13 rare pieces of art

To this day it is the largest art heist ever, and historically, it is one of the biggest robberies in general. The official FBI valuation of the stolen art has been set at a whopping $500 million!

The museum itself is offering a $10 million award for any tips that lead to getting the art back, which is the largest reward a private institution has ever offered for anything

Lastly, and probably the craziest part of the whole thing, none of the art has ever been found and the heist remains completely unsolved 31 years later

When I finished the documentary, my first thought was that I should go break into a museum and steal a bunch of shit. However, I quickly realized that my friends and I are all way too stupid to successfully pull off a robbery like this and we’d all get caught. Which lead me to my next thought, and the reason I’m writing this blog: Why is art worth so much money?

I’ve tried my hardest to understand why 13 paintings can be worth half a billion dollars, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. To be fair though, I don’t exactly have the best brain when it comes to money, which is evident from a few past blogs I’ve written (“I Don’t Understand Money” and “I Want To Try My Hand In The Stock Market, But I Also Don’t Know What A Stock Is”)

Regardless of my rudimentary understanding of economics, I think my opinion on the ridiculous price of art still holds water. And before anybody accuses me of just being an “art hater” or whatever, I want to let it be known that I took an art appreciation class in college. I took it as a Gen Ed my freshman because I figured it would be easy. Plus, I found out the professor was a total MILF, so signing up for this class was a no brainer

I wish I could say my prediction of an easy A in that art class was correct, but instead I skipped it most of the time and I even missed the final because I somehow got the days mixed up and showed up to an empty classroom on the wrong day. Thankfully, my professor was just as nice as she was hot, and she gave me a D out of pity. Getting back to my MILF comment, I wish I could have returned the favor and gave her a D right back

Anyway, the point of that little anecdote was that I do appreciate art. I understand why ancient buildings and architecture are preserved and admired. I understand why old paintings from hundreds of years ago that look very life-like and were created with dated tools are impressive. And to be more current, I love music and movies, so I’m not an art hater by any means

However, I still just don’t get how art is worth so much money. Sure, there are some cool paintings and sculptures out there, but that doesn’t change the fact that the inflation on art is fucking insane

The Gardner Robbers stole 13 paintings and they’re supposedly worth $500 million. That averages out to close to 38.5 million a painting. Are you kidding me? I don’t care if Jesus Christ himself painted something using unicorn blood and a brush made out of his own pubes, there is no way a painting should be worth that much money. You could probably buy a country in Africa with 38 million dollars, and that seems way cooler to me than some 5X8 painting of a tree that hangs over your fireplace

Moving on, I especially don’t understand modern “art”, and you’re goddamn right I put the word art in quotation marks. The modern art scene is hilarious to me. It’s just a bunch of trust fund losers that live in gentrified areas and spend their spare time standing around art galleries, drinking expensive wine, and sucking eachother off about their “art” that absolutely sucks. I mean for fucks sake, back in 2019 an “artist” duct taped a banana to a wall and it sold for $120,000 (I wish I was kidding, but I’m not)

Here’s how I imagine those trust fund losers reacted when they saw a regular banana that’s literally taped to a wall

Speaking of that banana masterpiece, I want to hate on whatever “artist” made and sold this, but I actually respect the hell out of them. I love a good con job, and I’ll always applaud when I see people make a quick profit from stupid people who are willing to throw their money away. Seeing stuff like this makes me want to quit my job, move to Brooklyn, buy some leather pants, change my name to Sky or Oasis, and become a full blown hipster art douche. Based on how this whole banana fiasco went down, I could probably shit into my hand and throw it against a wall in an art gallery and people would call me a daring visionary who is on track to be the next Andy Warhol

During my little sidetracked rant about modern art, I think I might have just answered my own question here. I think I finally understand why art is so expensive. Art is so expensive because rich people, who also happen to be dumb and pretentious, are willing to pay millions upon millions for whatever you tell them is art. That’s all it boils down to really: Good old fashioned Capitalism, and when the market is being controlled by stupid rich people, the sky is the limit

Now if you’ll excuse me, I had a big lunch today and the pressure in my stomach is telling me that I’m ready to dabble in the poop-related art work I mentioned earlier. My plan is to shit all over a poster board, head to some hipster coffee shop in Cambridge, and then sell it to the highest bidder. Here’s how I imagine those pretentious assholes will react when I pull out my feces-covered poster board and tell them it’s art

PS (SOMEWHAT OF A SPOILER ALERT): Lastly, here’s what I think happened in the Gardner Heist: A bunch of local wise guys saw an opportunity and took it. They knew the security at the museum sucked and it was a goldmine. After the 2 original guys finished the job, they then got in touch with Myles Connor or the mob, and from there they used there connections to spread the art work around the world to other criminal groups and private collectors. At this point, the art is probably sitting in some mob associates attic or in the private collection of some art snob in France or Italy, but either way, I don’t think they’re ever going to find it

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2 comments

  1. Oh my goodness, I wish I knew how to post photos here to show you some of the shitty art I’ve seen. I once went to an exhibition and saw pictures made of drinking straws and ice lolly sticks, and not even good pictures but crude, childlike house shapes. Utter shite. Fancy posh people were looking at them and nodding approvingly, whilst the husband and I giggled and were, like, “Is this for REAL?” I took photos because I knew nobody would believe me afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

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