Desperate for success in the art world, a nobody must pull the biggest scam in history to get his name on the wall.
Down-and-out as an unrecognized artist in New York, Leonard has all but given up on his art career.show more
It’s not until he and his girlfriend, Christina, have a chance encounter with a hack artist where Leonard gets a new perspective on the art world. There, the hack artist, Andy, tells Leonard that talent alone won’t get him recognized. What Leonard needs is to hype himself up first as a successful artist. Only when people believe that others believe Leonard is successful, will Leonard actually achieve success. At first, Leonard doesn’t think much of the advice, but when Christina gets excited by the prospect, Leonard decides to go all-in on the self-promo ploy.
Christina’s first order of business is to build Leonard a promoteam based off of old, washed-up art world agents. The first ex-art dealer they approach is Esteban De La Vega. He’s intrigued by Leonard’s art, but still refuses to help. Leonard and Christina then approach Sam, a former PR-agent. At first, Sam isn’t interested, but when Dawn, an old nemesis of Sam’s, enters Sam’s shop and offers to sell Leonard’s portfolio ‘for him’, Esteban suddenly barges-in and warns Leonard that Dawn will only steal his artwork. Unaffected, Dawn leaves, but Esteban and Sam have seen enough. They agree to join Leonard’s team if it enables them to get back at Dawn for ruining their careers.
As the team begins Leonard’s art campaign, Leonard isn’t too enthusiastic about the disingenuous marketing tactics being employed to promote him. But, when his work begins to go viral, he decides to go along with the art exhibit. On the day of the gallery, everyone loves Leonard’s work, and the next day he receives hundreds of bids–some ranging as high as $50,000 dollars apiece. But as excited as Leonard and his team are, Dawn is even more furious. To take the limelight away from Leo and refocus it back on himself, Dawn launches a smear campaign against Leonard. First, he distributes a pornographic painting of Leonard across the internet; then he gets Sam arrested for fraud; after that, Esteban’s truck, with all of Leonard’s paintings, gets stolen; finally, Christina’s boss is pressured into unjustly firing her. Devastated by the series of setbacks, Leonard gives up on his dream and the team splits up.
However, when Leonard gets back to his apartment, he discovers that someone has broken-in and destroyed all of his previous work. Maddened by the insincerity of the art world, Leonard decides to fight back and expose the art world for the con it truly is. The next day, New Yorkers discover strange, broken statues scattered throughout the city: all of them baring the same ‘Art is Dead – Saturday’ message. On the day of the faux exhibit, the entire art world arrives to hear Leonard’s critique of the art world and Dawn. The crowd goes wild and Dawn gets arrested. The next day, Esteban and Sam open their own inclusive art gallery and Leonard finally proposes to Christina.show less