Fooled

We scour the web, search the world, and ask for your help to uncover, unearth, and reveal art scams and art abuse everywhere. Here you can tell us your story and at least find some solace that you are not alone.

It happens everyday

Each year there are billions of dollars lost on the “game” of art. Whether is an elaborate scheme to take investors for a ride or a new public work that seems incredibly expensive after the public reveal and no one can trace the actual cost, we are all being fooled by the world of “art”.

One would think that we would learn from past mistakes of how art has been used to inflate prices and launder money, all the while letting the rich get richer. In many aspects it is the perfect arena to hide money and even the value of an object, because rarely is any art piece based on its true costs of materials, labour, and creativity.

Much of art found in galleries around the world are subject to the middle men’s speculation and ability to craft wonderful stories of value and prosperity. In fact, the main reason art is bought and sold today is to be an investment. An investment in pure speculation of its perceived value over time. And as we say that art is in the eye of the beholder, so too is its value in the marketplace.

Just like the speculation of the Dutch Tulips the art market is world of sensations and desire to become rich or even richer with little to no effort.

It is not a need. You cannot eat it. You can not use it for shelter. And only rarely can you burn it for fuel or heat long enough for it to matter. It is pure desire and appeal to the individual as much as to the masses. This is where the “game of art” and the “search for fools” begins; the appeal of the masses.

Only in great appeal, whether publicly or in private auction and secret negotiations can “art” be twisted and contrived and inflated to exorbitant prices that money can be easily used to feed the greed of the few at the detriment of its hopeful victims.

Be careful dear hopeful. Be wary dear admirer. Be vigilant crafty investor. Be dutiful dear public servant. Art is here and the “game of art” is hit hard to expose the greed inside each of us.

Millionaire art collector Andy Hall fooled by mother and son team
Thousands fooled by Lana Newstrom nothing art. Photo by Paula Schmidt on Pexels.com

See who has been fooled lately…

How Much Rodin Is Too Much?

Auguste Rodin, “The Gates of Hell,” Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford University (photo by Allan J. Cronin, CC BY-SA 3.0, image via Wikimedia Commons) Selling collection objects has always been the third rail of museum politics. Deaccessioning works outside of a narrow set of guidelines can lead to censure from professional associations, and even instances thatContinue reading “How Much Rodin Is Too Much?”

$80 M. Knoedler Art Forgery Scandal Is Explored—Again, But Blandly—in New Documentary

Is there anything left to know about the scandal that roiled M. Knoedler & Co., one of the world’s oldest galleries, and brought it to an untimely end in 2011? There have been a series of lawsuits over the years regarding the New York gallery’s peddling of forged Abstract Expressionist artworks, and there have beenContinue reading “$80 M. Knoedler Art Forgery Scandal Is Explored—Again, But Blandly—in New Documentary”

Art World Scammer Who Tricked Clients Out of $20 Million? Inigo Philbrick

Inigo Philbrick, the mysterious, stylish and formerly admired art dealer who ran galleries in London and Miami, was arrested by U.S. agents last Thursday after being found on the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Philbrick—a dashing dealer on the contemporary art scene until he wasn’t—made headlines towards the end of 2019 for his conspicuous disappearance in the wakeContinue reading “Art World Scammer Who Tricked Clients Out of $20 Million? Inigo Philbrick”

Gallery Hoax is literally “invisible”

People love to lampoon a credulous art world, but the reaction to the fake invisible work of ‘Lana Newstrom’ shows just how repelled we are by its marketplace. The invisible art of Lana Newstrom is in fact a hoax, perpetrated by professional radio parodists Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring.

John McEnroe Duped in an $88M Scam in the Art World

McEnroe’s forays into art investing didn’t always take such a profitable turn. In fact, it proved far more troublesome than Warhol’s Polaroid-stalking. He details the turmoil that buying paintings through Larry Salander brought him. In 2004 Salander helped him invest in two paintings by Arshile Gorky, Pirate I and Pirate II—or so he thought. Without McEnroe’s permission, Salander wentContinue reading “John McEnroe Duped in an $88M Scam in the Art World”

Multi-millionaire Andy Hall fooled by mother and son

Hall was tricked by a mother-and-son team of master manipulators, but justice was served last week – in Concord, of all places – when a jury ordered Nikolas Gascard and mom Lorettann Gascard to pay Hall about $500,000 for selling him forged paintings.


We receive many comments and testimonials from across the world…

Charco Lew

Jackson Pollock was funded by the CIA as the representative of “American” art (abstract expressionism) rather than Soviet-type realism (think of all the “noble worker” posters). So typical, in the McCarthy era, that a painter who painted by cycling drunk while dripping paint on a canvas was to be lionized and approved of officially, whereas genuine artists were ignored or bypassed.

Rebeca Donadon

Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing abstract and modern artists that when I look at their work, I really feel something I can’t describe in words. But when I look at this I feel NOTHING. Because that’s exactly what it is, a bunch of doodles on canvas that is treated as a masterpiece. So other people try to find meaning in a piece of garbage for fear of being called uncultured when there are so many talented artists that will never be recognized because apparently a bunch of scribbles is amazing to look at.

Candace Worth

The true value of art is seldom what someone is willing to pay for it.

James Fryer

Having been in the art business for many years, I can confirm this. There is great art out there, but you aren’t likely to see it at the posh galleries. Many cities have artists’ studio collectives where many artist have studios in one building, this is your best bet for seeing anything good.

MissRoxy

Hmm… Bansky suddenly makes a whole lot of sense, trying to be anonymous and un-marketable by painting on walls, yet still having people cut his work out and sell it for millions. That’s gotta be frustrating.

Emit Syse

Expressionism is sometimes great, but names and connections are all that matters in the art world these days. Some of the world’s best modern artists will never be known, because the “high art” world is exclusive to those in the right location and connections.

Suzanne Berry

“Art” is all about convincing people who can afford to pay a lot that something is worth paying it. It is the ultimate in successful advertising.

Molot Tames

It`s not an art market, it`s an asset market.

Mark Van den dries

Art history has always been linear.. it reverts to “sameness” when critics disallow art that is contemporary in the true sense of the word.

Akl Samaan

” Art isn’t about beauty” just like “Breathing isn’t about staying alive”

June Reid

Boomers influence has made pop art ridiculously over valued.

Have you been fooled?

Thought you found a trustworthy source or something became obviously wrong? Invested in the "hype"? We understand and appreciate your story. Help us make the public aware of this land of greed and secrecy.

Share your story today.

How we are fooled...

  1. Art Fakes / Forgeries
    1. This is probably the best known area of art scams around the world. It is often the type of art scam that receives the most amount of press. People each year fall victim to the discovery of the "lost" or "forgotten" Picasso, Rembrandt, or Monet.... or the much acclaimed Vincent van Gogh.

      Talented artist in some of the most obvious and remote places on earth can easily recreate pieces that rival the true genius of the masters of the ages. This is just a fact that the world population creates great artisans that if they had their moment or chose another path in life they too may be on the walls of millions of college dorm rooms or restaurant backdrops.

      Art forgery is big business and it shows no sign of disappearing regardless of the vast efforts made by the FBI, Interpol, and dozens of countries around the world.

      In many ways it is too easy a crime once the beauty and majesty of the fake has been produced. How can it not be a Van Gogh? How can it just sit there in some attic or in some farm shed? How can the story of how some family member bought the painting or it was a gift when the artist needed money or was kind? The origin stories are endless and play on the heart strings of all those involved.
  1. Art Studios / Galleries
    1. Friends of the artist or friends of the investor? Or are they just friends of themselves? Art Studios and art galleries have long been where the story start for most people that are fooled. Most are traditional investors that are looking for something for that next dinner party or trip to the Med to tell "friends" and business associates of their latest conquest.

      For in fact, what drives most of the expanding art world is this arena of what is new, up and coming, totally unique and mind blowing, etc... essentially hype. And art studios and galleries are experts at the "hype" whether it is directly or subtle and plays to the long game of reeling in investors into investments that can take years if not decades to evolve into anything. Because in the end, all the art that they promote is subjective to the market and the beholder. It may or may not be the next "big thing" or it may just simple be you losing $30k in the blink of an eye and not having any legal recourse to call on.

      We are wary of art studios and galleries as them to be a front end, shell game that keeps buyers and investors just one step away from the truth in their champagne get togethers, closed invite specials, and amazingly gift of name dropping and greed feeding that many sales people have the gift to use of countless victims.

      Now this is not saying that all are frauds, but many are not worth the fanfare or location that they house in to anything more than a show that tells you what you want to hear; greed is good.
  1. Auction Houses
    1. Most people have heard of Christie's and Sotheby's auction houses and their impressive art auction that report setting sales from across the world, but few realize that art is being auction constantly. Country after country is creating and promoting their impressive art auctions that attract buyers and sellers determined to spend more and more. Auction house play upon the hype that sometimes built up over years to promote and sell exclusive "art" pieces that often prove to have shady back stories.

      Why is there so much demand? Well, simply put art sales and taxes are not as regulated as other sectors in many countries. If you had $50 million dollars to place in a asset that removes it or limits it from tax requirements, art buying is a great place to look. Art auction house know this and work extensively with private banks and financial paradises to offer buyers the best options to "protect" or hide their money given the international laws they are trying to avoid.

      Many times the piece being sold is not even of interest as the mechanics of "protecting" / "hiding" - $1, $5, $10 million from your country of residence.

      Art studios, galleries, museums, and deceitful artist have found that the rich are always bent on getting richer and they have helped organize laws, and the lack of laws to warrant the regulation and control of essentially money laundering and tax shelters.

      Look to what has taken place in Chine in the last 15 years as a portion of their population has become richer and richer... art auction houses and art auction are now larger and move more money that in the UK or the US. This is not because of uniqueness or genius of art pieces as much as it is a way to hide and protect money in unregulated areas of the market. You cannot have an auction of more than 5,000 pieces and expect that it is all for the love of "art". It is more for the love of money.

  1. Inflated Value Tax Fraud
  2. Ponzi Schemes
  3. Public Funds

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Edgar Degas