Natty Light creates the world’s most expensive work of art out of student debt

Natty Light unveiled the world’s most expensive piece of art in Grand Central Station on Jan. 13 — but there’s more to the superlative.

Like all great art, the beer brand Natural Light mixed in a bit of social commentary with the piece entitled “Da Vinci of Debt.” The massive sculptural work is made of 2,600 diplomas from real college graduates.

Thus, the value of “Da Vinci of Debt” surpasses $470 million with each diploma costing $180,000 on average. Yeah, those hefty price tags are why the student loan debt crisis has reached $1.7 trillion in the U.S.

Natty Light’s piece is worth $20 million more than Leonardo Da Vinci’s most expensive work ever sold the “Salvator Mundi.” 

The exhibition is partly a winding canopy of diplomas descending from Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall ceiling. The other component includes piles of diplomas surrounding a simple wooden desk. 

“The design is meant to illustrate both the scale of the crippling debt crisis while also alluding to the chaotic impact college debt creates for those burdened by it,” Natural Light said in a statement. 

The Natural Light College Debt Relief program launched in 2018 to aid in the crisis. Every year it allocates $1 million to help those burdened by student loans. The company has pledged a total of $10 million over 10 years. 

“The art world is filled with absurd price tags that most people find impossible to justify,” said Daniel Blake, vice president of value brands at Anheuser-Busch, in a press release. “That’s what made it the perfect medium for this campaign. It’s a very fitting analogy for the outrageous cost of attending a typical four-year college. Through ‘Da Vinci of Debt,’ we hope to inspire action around the college debt crisis.”

If you liked this story, check out this story on a graffiti artist who has created innovative neon murals around London.

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