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Money Laundering and Modern Art: Modern Art Was Developed as a Vehicle for Money Laundering
Basically, anything that can be produced for next to nothing and sold for a great deal of money can be used for money laundering.
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Modern art is a vehicle for money laundering. Always has been.
Basically, anything that can be produced for next to nothing and sold for a great deal of money could be used for money laundering.
When value is dictated by the market itself and attributed value is subjective, value can be created, fabricated.
For instance, a work is commissioned from an artist for $25k and then is sold to someone else for $1M. The sale boosts the artist's career through media exposure creating a market surrounding that artist's work.
That artist's work then retains "value."
Commission a piece from that artist at a low price and sell it for a higher price, it looks like the buyer is buying art. But that art is often a voucher for a favor or a bribe, and moving art around is easier and less obvious than moving around a great deal of cash or attempting to hide an electronic transfer of funds via centralized traceable means.
And these newly valued artists are then able to travel the world doing museum and gallery tours - as covert assets. Their access to high value targets and the ease of explanation for their business travel make for a great cover story.
This happens in business too. Ask yourselves why Patrick Byrne, by his own admission, was tapped by FBI to make introductions for the purpose of setting up bribes. Not that this wasn’t already covered long ago by Chuck Barris and made into a Hollywood film about his life, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The business travel and the meetings among high value people are unassuming and can easily be explained away as merely running in the same social circles.
Once the artist is traveling and developing a career, the value of the artwork increases. The artwork is harder to come by, due to the price tag, and the value of the piece increases. The person who bought the piece as a bribe or a voucher for a favor is often left with something even more valuable than the money they had when they began.
The investment in the piece creates a win/win scenario for both the buyer and the seller. And once the artist is dead, the value of the piece increases even more due to scarcity.
Jay-Z - The Story of O.J.
“Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin' rich and dyin' broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can't wait to give this shit to my children
Y'all think it's bougie, I'm like, it's fine
But I'm tryin' to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99.”
And any industry that has elements of celebrity and travel can be used as cover for ops in which the positioned influencers have a better chance of gaining access to some high value target.
So... art, filmmaking, fashion, high level business, media, etc.
Blackmail, assassination, moving large sums of money in the form of paint on canvas by commissioning pieces and staging a gallery showing....
How does it take so long for people to figure out this was always a money laundering scam? I'm sorry, but a blank canvas valued at a bazillion dollars might be just a smidge obvious, no? How do you NOT question that?
I was reading a post from an old acquaintence who is an art professor about how much she hates sitting in on art critiques in Zoom calls - "They were bad enough in person, I don't understand what they're saying anymore, and it just gives me a headache."
If the art were technically proficient, you wouldn't have to come up with jargon to describe it. The jargon is to put people off from paying attention BECAUSE it gives them a headache.
Try explaining to most artists that this is a racket. They will defend the butt ass naked emperor to the death. Most will dig their heels in and expound upon the virtues of modern art and how dare you and blah blah blah when it only HAS value because the CIA created the market in order to STORE value and they own that outright.
No one taught the artists how to *create* value for their work. Most of them don't get it. This is why "making it in the art world" is so tough. Because no one tells students to take classes on how money laundering works… I’m joking - but it means that artists do not learn how to make a living. Which makes ART SCHOOL a racket too.
The key to making it in that world without technical proficiency is to speak gobbletygook fluently while befriending a lot of people who need to launder money. Art school just teaches you to rote memorize the gobbletygook. But you wouldn’t need to develop gobbletygook proficiency in the first place unless you were trying to pass your art off as more important than it is culturally so it would seem plausible that it would command a sale that large.
If you'd rather not hang out with people doing nefarious things for which they require money to be laundered, you can't be a modern/postmodern artist because you won't find anyone who needs money laundered and you won’t be able to support yourself. Kudos for being honest, but you’re going to have to find some other gig.
Unless, again, you're technically proficient. In which case, people will commission work from you. They will - egads - hire you for your skill, not your capacity for word vomit and looking the other way.
To add another layer of fuckery into the mix, the nexus of money laundering and the modern art world has gone digital with the rise in popularity of non-fungible tokens or NFTs, cryptographic assets on blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other, which many already considered to be hype or a fad without the added potential for laundering and tax evasion.
There is little to no hard data on money laundering and NFTs so far, but considering criminals go where there is money to be made or recouped, it’s likely they will turn to NFTs sooner or later, if they haven’t already. As we all know, it’s even easier to transport a digital file than it is to move around a piece of artwork, so it would seem to most that this would be the money launderer’s logical next step.
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