Art Crime for Dummies

I recently read an article on Art Radar Asia on how “criminals” are getting away with duplicating art works, selling them for cheap and totally ruining the art market. [Note: Criminals are marked in quotations because these people aren’t criminals – they haven’t been caught. Yet.]

In the article it’s mentioned that most of these under-handed sales happen mostly in China and Thailand. Is this news? I mean, am I supposed to be shocked hearing that high-value products are being reproduced for cheap and sold in mainly these two countries? I’m just shocked that other countries are NOT mentioned, such as India, Cambodia, or Laos.

FYI in Bangkok itself, there’s this place called (hushed tone) Patpong. It’s where most of these transactions happen and it’s no secret – all the tourists, expats, police, and government officials know about it. In fact, I have been told that most of the lucrative businesses (eg sale of second hand goods, prostitution, drug trafficking, etc) at these venues are owned by government officials. There’s a vicious cycle that is at play here. The government in Thailand promises its citizens that it will get rid of the nasty business that has made its mark on “Bang cock” (see what I did there?). But if they do, where will Thailand earn most of its money from? The tourism industry here is HUGE because of its illegal prostitution rings and trade of fake goods. And if they shut these places down, where will all the children, men, women, trannies (gotta include them) go? There are families who have been in the business of prostitution for generations. It’s a harsh truth that is conveniently ignored and sold in Bangkok. And let’s not get started on China. Censorship and corruption is another story altogether there.

So if it is so easy in a place like Bangkok to sell children and women everyday, how hard would it be to sell expensive artworks that is visible and available to copy from the all-loved internet? It’s a matter of integrity and breaking this sadly wretched system.

Let’s see when that happens. Let’s hopefully do something about it too

3D printing technology was used to sculpt these miniature human heads from photographs. © Creative Commons.

(3D printing technology – used to sculpt these miniature human heads from photographs. copyright Creative Commons)

Andy Warhol, 'Mao #91', 1972, silkscreen.

(Andy Warhol, “Mao #91”, 1972, silkscreen)

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