Art Theft is Good, Actually


Is it a good thing that we don’t have train robberies anymore? Probably. But can we admit that they were objectively pretty dang cool?  


To me, art theft is just the same.


Late last year, thieves broke into a museum in Dresden, Germany and stole hundreds of pieces of, what many historians say are, Europe’s finest collections. After setting a fire to disable the museum’s electronic security systems, the thieves broke through a window and used an axe to destroy display cases holding the priceless artifacts. The thieves escaped and, along with the stolen art pieces, remain unfound. 


Let me guess, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Gosh golly, that’s so ingenious, why didn’t I think of that.” Well, what’s stopping you? The North Carolina Museum of Art is just eight miles down the road. Find some friends, come up with some ridiculous plan, and go for it. STEAL. ART.


Ok, maybe don’t do that. Look, I don’t think that art theft itself is good, I’m just a big fan of the idea of art theft.


What are you supposed to do with the art once you’ve stolen it? You can’t sell it, it’s much too traceable. You could hang it up in your living room, but eventually someone is bound to start asking questions. Your only choice is to put it in your basement and occasionally look at it, I guess.  


Most of the value that comes from jewelry pieces, like the ones stolen by our German thieves, comes from their historical value. One could easily break apart the jewelry to sell it without a trace, but by doing so they would lose an incredibly large portion of the piece’s worth. 


Only a true sicko would take such drastic measures just to get their hands on their favorite artwork. It’s not that hard to appreciate a masterpiece without actually owning the real deal. A high-quality replica Mona Lisa is only a couple hundred dollars. If you’re such a big fan of the painting just buy one of those, or make it your phone wallpaper, or wear a Mona Lisa Halloween costume, only a crazy person would need to get their hands on the actual piece itself.


And I admire that crazy person. In a time when there is no shortage of headlines filled with despair and anguish, it’s heartwarming to when the news comes up that there are still people out there willing to do the most work to commit the most whimsical crimes that provide the least reward.  But more importantly, it’s even more heartwarming to know that you too can have a crack at it. So go crazy, get out there, and steal some gosh dang art.