Adam Ruins Everything – How the Fine Art Market is a Scam | truTV

It just sold for 5 billion. Of course it did. It’s brilliant. Oh, it’s performance art! These rich snobs don’t know
more about art than you. They’re mostly just here
to make money. Oh! We’re told that art like this
is so expensive because it’s the best
in the world. But the fact is, you’re looking
at a massive price-fixing scheme that benefits wealthy collectors
and excludes artists like you. Adam, shush it! The prices here are high
because the art
is objectively good. Nope. The prices are
high because a small group of galleries and
collectors decided it was good, and once they do that, the price goes up, whether or
not anyone else agrees. You. Paint something. (gasps) I declare this valuable art. Go find more cubed meat. We’re gonna be rich. (chuckles) Well, outsider art
is a rich tradition. How much is this worth? There’s no way to tell. Big galleries actually keep
their prices a secret so they can change them
depending on who the buyer is. For you, my friend,
ten grand, and for you, my enemy,
200 grand. And they do their best
to keep out buyers who are considered elites. Daniel Radcliffe once tried to
buy a fancy painting, but he was denied when the dealer told him he was waiting for a more prestigious collector. For you?
Not for sale. Please, sir. I just want one painting that
doesn’t talk to me. Why are you doing this to me? Because if the gallery only
sells to art world elites, they’ll be seen as a better
brand, which means all of their other
paintings will be worth more. Ah. (cash registers dinging) Hmm. That is shady behavior. Well, luckily, we outsiders
could just go to art auctions. They’re democratic open markets
where anyone can buy. Sorry, but the major
auction houses are just as rigged
as the galleries. (pounds gavel) Auctions play all sorts of dirty
tricks to drive their prices up, like straight up
paying people to bid. Let’s start the bidding
at $4 million. Do I see 4 million? (snoring) 4 million. And if the bidding
is too slow, auctioneers even use a practice
called chandelier bidding. They just point to a random spot
above everyone’s heads and pretend to see a bid. And I see 5 million from
the bidder in the back, she’s my girlfriend
who you don’t know
’cause she lives in Canada. Whoop, she’s back across the
border, so don’t turn around. Oh, whatever.
Six million. Why are you okay with this? Oh, simple, darling. I own other paintings
by this artist, so when this one sells high, it increases the value
of my entire collection. Sometimes we even bid
anonymously to drive up the price. Up next, we have a fine
comdiment-based work from an emerging artist. Ooh! I want to bid on this one. We should all bid on this one. Let’s start the bidding
at $7 million. This shady market can also be
manipulated by crooks who use it to defraud the government
and launder dirty money. Hello. I would like to buy a painting
from your fine gallery using legitimate cash moneys. The red is… paint. But not all collectors
are crooks. I mean, there’s good people
out there who donate their collections
to museums. Sure, and that seems
very charitable, until you remember that
that donation is also
a tax write-off. And here’s where it can
get really shady. The collectors hire
their own appraisers to determine the value of
the art they donate, so they can use it as
one big tax dodge. You owe 40 million
in taxes this year. Ugh! What if I donate this painting
worth 40 million? At the end of the day, this is
what the fine art market is. A few rich people
passing money around. No! No! Then I want
no part of this! Screw this gallery
and screw this opening! I will make it in
the fine art world on my own. Sorry, that’s not really
how it works. Persephone,
this is Allison Schrager. She’s an economist and
journalist at Quartz who has reported on
the fine art market. Not only is the fine art world
manipulated financially, it’s also extremely exclusive. Only a small share of artists
are allowed to succeed and only their work is
considered valuable. And those aren’t necessarily
the best artists. Often, they’re just the ones
who are best at marketing themselves and at
playing the gallery game. One art dealer I spoke
with even admitted that the art you buy
in the street is cheaper and often
just as good, it’s just not as prestigious, so big collectors in museums
just aren’t interested in it. And that means this small group
of ultra wealthy investors ends up defining
what fine art is. So the fine art world
is all a lie, and it’s all about money and who gets into this
stupid snobby club? More or less.


  • Twiggie Leon

    "So, you want to be an artist? Well, tell me then: Are you an artist at fellatio?"

  • Darius Assogba

    what makes me know this was real was I began to feel that ketchup stain art was more expensive at the end of the video

  • robin Magee

    u missed something here. The U.S government has also been involved. It manipulated the market to promote U.S. expressionists artists. Of course, they were all white males.


    The rich have a strong distorting effect on human culture. I was following many art galleries on social media for a time. I eventually had to stop. I couldn't look at any more posts of coat hanger wire laying on the floor. Those posts had thousands of likes. Meanwhile people with severe levels of talent are habitually ignored by these galleries. Money is a shortcut around all of the hard work and suffering we grapple with. It ruins everything.

  • mohammed sarker

    Can I use this to justify flunking art app?

  • Alexis Varacolacci

    Why there's so many indian people? Are they Filming there in India?

  • MIHAI S.

    Money is the best art

  • Sebastien Lee

    Remember guys, art is SUBJECTIVE

  • yobro manson

    This is absurd and stupid. It could be true and it probably is, but that's incredibly smart by them and would have taken an enormous effort to set up to that point.

  • yobro manson

    Adam supports trash and finger paintings. If your work is good, it literally becomes good to look at like eye candy. It's like for guys looking at a hot girl or girls that check out really buff and ripped guys. And even guys will look at ripped guys and want to be like them because it literally looks good to look at. Same with art. If you're trash, this video is your retribution. If you're good you laugh at these chubby chubba chumps

  • TheDesertwalker

    I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

  • argowen

    I'll assume 362 "elite art buyers" didn't like this video

  • Max Kordon

    Value is just as arbitrary of a concept as "art" is, it's whatever you think is

  • Jacob Norwood

    Who cares. Buy from your local artist or make your own.

  • The Uber Successful

    Fine art isn't all that progressive anyway. Design and comics are what makes real valued gratification

  • Papa Kilo Productions

    This is the first video I have agreed with him on. His others are complete tripe

  • quest 77051

    i was told this 30 years ago. i'm 50 now. smh.

  • Valentin B.

    So basically: you got outplayed by smart people who became rich by being smart and finally realise that modern art isn't art at all.

  • Rich Bones

    Ain't that the truth!

  • Jonas Fletcher

    This is how Jackson Pallock got famous

  • Tycondaroga100

    I think you should substitute the "Fine Art" with "Modern Art". Modern Art is NOT "fine" at all and has been culpable as the vehicle for these assholes all along.

  • Tycondaroga100

    If they sent me back into history to kill the worlds worst monster I would do the right thing…I really would. It's just that I would have a hard time choosing between Hitler and Picasso

  • Lord of Alicorns

    Jesus has entered the chat

  • Adam Fullhan

    Adam ruins everything : homosexuality

  • oh yeah yeah

    Velvet Buzzsaw brought me here

  • Petr Kotlitel

    Adam should attend univerzity of art before making total idiot of himself

  • inarjollyhound

    I hope this will help people dis-associate the High Class "Fine-art" from legitimately appealing abstract art.

  • Gamma

    Breaking News: Modern Art is bad.

  • Patrick Linden

    He used to have a show called Alton Brown or something

  • Iggy's Friend

    This completely sums up the world art market.

    There was a British TV programme where they had about 10 people make 3 pieces of "art" in a car breakers yard in 10 minutes. All of the "artists" had no art training or knowledge of art, they all had every days jobs or were unemployed. They then hired a small London art gallery and some actors. The actors posed as the mysterious Polish artist, their agent and the gallery owner. The paintings were given outrageous prices, which was very funny as they were all done in about 3 minutes each by random people in a scrap yard. They then hid cameras everywhere and even had a TV crew to cover the opening as the artist was such and important new discovery. Then the TV company invited loads of so called art experts to come and enthuse over the work, which they did. They said amazing things on camera about the art and and the artist. The programme then ran a film of the artworks being created. Within seconds the famous London art critics made a dash for the door. The scam was up and they had been publicly embarrass on national TV.

    I forget the name of the TV programme, but if I can find it I will edit my comment and post the name and hopefully a URL.

  • Alma Martinez

    "Legitimate cash monies" XDDDD

  • Alain Rochette

    Velvet Buzzsaw in 5 minutes

  • Darth Killhoon

    i agree, modern art is nothing compared to the Neapolitan era

  • syed ali

    truTV and Adam please talk about how Gyms legally scam prospective customers into a long contract.

  • Calhen

    Yeah thanks for crushing the future and dreams of all art students

  • Ashutosh S

    I always thought so.. Thanks

  • zw0lfb4um

    I like how this is something I knew already, but Adam & co are able to explain WHY the prices of famous works of art are so arbitary. God bless this show 🙏

  • Mr Sponge

    Art is a joke.

  • Chuck Fristian

    Damn I’d still give my left nut to be an artist in that snobby elite circle though

  • Leon Le

    Why am I not surprise…

  • Jarod Farrant

    I’ve seen diagrams art has amazing and better then most art I’ve seen.

  • oodoodanoo

    Glad I'm an engineer. So much of what passes for taste and refinement is just hype.

  • James Hughes

    Didn't IASIP already do this

  • Patrick Dolan

    But the history Adam! When did it begin?

  • Jax Nean

    If I looked at a painting and I loved it. It's good art for me. I don't care what others say. This is also the case with movies, video games.

  • Joe Dark

    Entitled scumbag tax dodgers lives matter.

  • K R

    1:32 😂😂😂

  • Carsten Nokleby


  • raf vlna

    Aww now i feel shatty, and i was planning to get the course for college.. what the heck should i get now

  • William Remsen

    This one makes sense. 👍

  • PhatDookie 420

    You're better off making memes!

  • Amrit Pathak

    Anyone else find the young female artist's voice extremely grating.

  • Qwufi

    So if we know they are criminals why dont just shut all these galleries and put the "elite" to jail?

  • AmFilms123

    Fine art world gallery = iPhone
    Real world street gallery = Android

  • Will Lyon

    That’s why society cares about more about money and not art.

  • reginald turner

    that really ruin my day with a hurtful truth damn

  • Cherry Slat

    Maybe Lenin and Stalin were right with Socialist realism.

  • Águila701

    A urinal is fine art.

  • King Treedede

    Most Speed paints be better than these paints

  • SR Brant

    As an artist, I want to take a flamethrower to every lazy, dozen-stroked canvas that gets praised for being “genius.”

  • timmy 900

    1:33 Harry Potter

  • thou ist

    "The prices are high because the art is objectively good"
    I don't think you understand art…

  • Marcus Rowan

    Modern art? Kinnda picking an easy target here, Adam.

  • Naji Boutros

    Which episode is this clip from?

  • Diego Kiwi

    I just sketched a whole paper and sold it for 5 cents

  • John Krone

    Everything is rigged.

  • Pure Energy

    I experienced this hold out on prices at a Uhaul store. Price fixing.

  • Pure Energy

    WOW defrauding the government —- then there are all of those US empire people that defrauded all of us tax payers in 1913 when they created that scheme called the federal reserve. The IRS is one of their illegal plans, too. They are psychopathic corporations that don't give a damn about the rest of us. I read that when they give to charity they make sure that they make a lot of money, too.
    Oh yeah, I found out that death is a lie. Get the book "Hands of Light" written by the physicist Barbara Brennan. She explains this really well.

  • Fun Lover420

    How do you market your art & play the gallery game?

  • The Cursor

    5:00 Ooooh a Star Trek Reference!

  • deconstructyouridols

    Everything you said here could be said about all "fine art." Not just modern art. The same is true for 19th century art, except that average people like and understand it–issues with value, collectors, auctions, etc. The reason you used made up examples like hot dog painting, is that it accentuates something that seems super unfair, and absurd to people that stop liking art after Picasso. Looking at the top sellers like Damien Hurst, Ai Weiwei and Banksy; nobody "on the street" could possibly be selling things like this. Their art is to huge. The problems you are describing with image is also present in the music industry (including the classical music industry), as well as performance art, and literature. This doesn't make it a "scam." Economics aside, the rejection of modern art is as old as art itself. Art not being "accessible" is a problem that isn't a problem. It is the person that hates all indie movies and starts critiques on IMDB with "emperor has no clothes," while falling in love with every superhero movie released. This is just anti-intellectualism mixed with an economic critique that could be applied to all branded products.

  • benharris1228

    Who didn’t already notice this? I’ve known this since I was told Jackson Pollick paintings were “priceless”

  • Eli Castelli

    The legitimacy of Salvator Mundi…Who says its art? Should we believe them? Does Money follow Art…check out There is No F in ART and make up your own mind.

  • Legendary StarNPC

    That eyeshadow sure isn't fine art. It's probably worth 2 million….

  • Krystie

    Please ruin MLM companies

  • DreamingCatStudio


  • Simone Kuip

    the point is everything and everyone is a scam.

  • BumbleNaut The Whale

    Some modern art can be really good and the skill and the supplies used in it can add up to thousands. Although the fine art market can be really bad and full of scams. I agree. As an artist it is so frustrating.

  • Info Hub

  • Vince

    They make fun of it in Pinky and the Brain too.

  • smokert5555

    This explains why Jackson Pollack's paint drippings bring in so much money.

  • James VerHulst

    Street Artists are the best!

  • Adi Cristian

    Great vid ❤️❤️❤️

  • Badseacookie

    I didn’t need Adam to know fine art was a scam

  • Ryan

    The fetish art on Deviantart is more valuable than modern art.

  • austin fernando

    I think every artist already knew this, when it started back in the 60's , conceptual art was supposed to be a rebellion like 'try and sell this you dickheads, you can't cos it's an idea!' kind of thing. It didn't work out obviously. 

    Also people who don't get modern art can't use this as an excuse because the artists themselves mostly aren't the scammers, Gerhard Richter has said he's "shocked" by the price of art (when one of his paintings sold for like 30 million) and he pointed out that the people who do the selling, not necessarily the artist themselves, get most of the money. 

    Edvard Munch even said, "what ruins modern art is vast markets" (and then a bit about pretty pictures that's not relevant here). 

    If artists didn't put themselves at odds with the market then 'selling out' wouldn't be a thing.

  • xpez

    this could be true for a small fraction of the entire art making industry. Like Big budget hollywood features and A-list star talent. there is still a market for small budget and independant artists and galleries. And some of these break through to ELITE market, It all requires good PR, consistent work, good press, good critic reviews and on and on…20 years later maybe you then can be a famous artist.

  • Lisette Cortés

    Why is it so hard to check your sources?? I just want a link to an article, GOD!

  • Mikhail Plata

    For an “expert”, she sure has to read the cue cards a LOT

  • Craig Wallace

    there was a enlarged close-up photo print of a man's butthole in New York that sold for 30 million dollars. Not kidding.

  • Laura Tlc

    I love the footnotes supporting these videos. Good work!

  • Rich Lee

    Art can be magnificent and amazing. "Fine art"… well…

  • Sean Bardgett

    Well duh this is pretty obvious!

  • Alyafawad


  • charwiexe

    This is why a bunch of lines and squiggles by jackson pollock sells for hundreds of millions while some really sick digital art online that took time and effort and brings legitimate joy to people sells for 50?

  • Ignatiusstablishmentarianism

    That was a KILLER Harry Potter imitation

  • PoSeiDoN NaGa

    I just subscribed because this is how I see the world actually. Maybe I have trust issues but it tells me what not to waste my time on.

  • 100 Subs No vid

    441 art sellers dropped in.


    Have you heard of subjectivity of economics. This is the basis for the economy. If you think that something is worth one thing and I think it is worth another than that is fine. Art has no value other than the materials needed to make it. Art is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Mark Alexander

    He is wrong about art appraisers and IRS charitable donations of art for the purpose of tax deductions through the IRS….See USPAP and the current IRS regulations. Inflated appraisals are illegal. Fine art appraisers must be accredited member of a professional appraisal organization and be trained and qualified and will be subject to criminal prosecution for inflated or false values. The IRS also has its own a fine art appraisal review panel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *