The Art Angle Podcast: Art, Lies, and Instagram: How Catfishing ‘Collectors’ Duped the Art World

This week, Kate Brown details the mysterious saga that had her chasing ghosts all over the Internet.

This week, chasing ghosts on the Internet with Kate Brown.

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.


This week’s story begins with an art purchase made like so many others… .

A collector notices his peers talking up an artwork on Instagram, so he messages the artist’s dealer and makes a purchase. In this case, there was just one problem: neither the collector peers nor the artist actually exist.

That fateful transaction is just the tip of the iceberg of a broader scheme: someone (quite possibly a group of people) created fake social media profiles for jet-setting Italian collectors to promote a fake artist—and ended up making real money in the process.

The tale reveals just how easy it is to play the part of an art-world sophisticate, and how little we tend to know about the person on the other end of the line.

On this week’s episode, Artnet News Europe Editor Kate Brown joins Executive Editor Julia Halperin to discuss the story she wrote about catfishing collectors, fake artists, and the twisted tale that had her chasing ghosts all over the web.


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