In May, Italian artist Salvatore Garau sold his “immaterial sculpture” I Am at an auction. The invisible piece of art consists literally of nothing. Even though the work has no material existence, the Art-Rite auction house estimated its value at between €6,000 and €9,000 (that is, between approximately $7,000 and $11,000). During the auction, bidders pushed the price up, and Garau walked away with €15,000 ($18,300).
In exchange for this sum, the buyer—a private Milanese collector—of the putative work, the latest version of the Emperor’s New Clothes, received a certificate of authenticity and the artist’s instructions for displaying the sculpture.