People really spend absurd amounts of money on absurd things. Today’s example is a BMW i3, a base model with the smallest battery, and the only unique thing about it is that it’s covered in a vinyl wrap showing spaghetti. That’s it. And someone spent €100,000, or $117,000 at current exchange rates, at auction. Granted, that auction did benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, but whoever bought this i3 could’ve spent about $50,000 on a new i3 at a dealership, wrapped it in any color or pattern imaginable, and then donate $67,000 to the foundation. Or just donate the full $117,000 and not have a car to deal with.
As crazy as spending $117,000 on a base i3 with funky vinyl is, it isn’t as crazy as the semantics behind this car. You see, we first saw this BMW last year, and it was created by Maurizio Cattelan. He was an artist, but he retired, so isn’t one anymore. And apparently this BMW was not art, because Cattelan said so. Because an artist who stopped being an artist said his “art” car was not art, it also was not part of BMW’s long-running series of Art Cars. Yet, in BMW’s latest press release on the car, they refer to it as art: “The ‘Spaghetti Car’ by TOILETPAPER is a fully functioning electric vehicle and came with a certificate of authenticity signed by TOILETPAPER (Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari) as co-creators of this unique work of art.” Confused yet?
Leaving behind the torturous definitions of what is and isn’t art, there’s a bit more bizarreness to this BMW’s story. When it was created and released, BMW said that the the design would be destroyed once the photography festival at which it was displayed had ended. This action was due to the request of Cattelan. But that clearly never happened. And now it will go to a collector in Switzerland. Congratulations?