• Sat. May 14th, 2022

‘Most Expensive’ Artwork Draws Attention to US Student Debt

ByTina R. Wimmer

Mar 11, 2021

‘Da Vinci of Debt’ is a corporate artwork that features 2600 real university degrees and is billed as ‘the most expensive artwork in the world’.

Beverage giant Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light Beer is behind a clever publicity stunt that features 2,600 real, physical college degrees sent in by people across the United States. The diplomas are displayed to the public at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, suspended from the ceiling in a helix pattern.

The beer company said the design “both illustrates the scale of the crippling debt crisis while alluding to the chaotic impact college debt creates for those burdened with it. ”

According to Natural Light, “the value [of Da Vinci of Debt] is derived from the average total cost of a four-year college education. The result is a work of art worth $470 million, surpassing the most expensive work of art ever sold at public auction.

Diplomas in helix formation in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station as part of ‘The Da Vinci of Debt’. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch)

Advertising week comments that “At a total of $470 million, ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ is worth more than the most expensive work of art ever sold at public auction – Salvator Mundi, a 600 year old Leonardo da Vinci painting it cost $450 million in 2017.

PR Newswire compares Da Vinci of Debt to past successes in the art market, saying, “Only in the art world can a single banana sell for $120,000 and used bed sheets of an artist cost $150,000. While other works of art like these are valued arbitrarily, Da Vinci of Debt’s value is derived from the average total cost of a four-year college education. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s conduit taped banana on a wall was a big source of controversy when it was unveiled, as was the British artist Tracy Emin’s bed sheets.

Diplomas hang in the air at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station as part of

Diplomas hang in the air at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station as part of ‘The Da Vinci of Debt’. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch)

Talk to PRNewswireDaniel Blake, Vice President of Value Brands at Anheuser-Busch comments “The art world is filled with absurd price tags that most people find impossible to justify.”

He goes on to say, “That’s what made it the perfect medium for this campaign. It’s a very apt analogy for the exorbitant cost of attending a typical four-year college. Thanks to Da Vinci of Debt , we hope to inspire action around the college debt crisis and inspire more fans to participate for a chance to see Natty College’s debt relief program repay their student loans.”

A view of 2600 college diplomas and a student desk and chair in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station as part of 'The Da Vinci of Debt'.

A view of 2600 college diplomas and a student desk and chair in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station as part of ‘The Da Vinci of Debt’. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch)

Using concept art to publicize its Natty College debt relief program, the brewing company hopes more people will apply for its grant program. He invites candidates on his Web page: “College should be filled with fun, not debt. So we’re giving grants worth $1 million to help you pay off your student loans. There will be 25 total recipients and video submissions [showing us what inspired you to go to college] will be accepted until March 21, 2021.”

Da Vinci of Debt was on display at Grand Central Terminal in New York from January 14 to 16, 2021. It can be viewed virtually on Snapchat or on video as well as.

Source: World TRT