The painter known as the “Art Bastard” hit the art establishment with a US$100 million proposed class action Tuesday, February 6, accusing The Met and four other New York City museums of conspiring to artificially raise prices for some galleries’ work and restricting access to the market, reported Bloomberg.
Robert Cenedella, known as the “Art Bastard” said private collectors, galleries and auction houses play a large role in determining which works end up in museum collections, creating a system that drives up prices for a small group of select artists while shutting out others who “do not carry the imprimatur or financial cache of the contemporary artists within the closed system.”
“The system today—put in place by galleries, auction houses, and art critiques—has nothing to do with talent, development of skill, or maturation of the art world,” said Cenedella, a teacher at the Art Students League of New York who is known for satirical works that have included a painting of Santa Claus on a crucifix.
Cenedella sued the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, calling the group a “corporate museum cartel” that manipulates the market for its own benefit.
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