Currently on display at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, an art installation by Natural Light, Da Vinci of Debt, has just become the world’s most expensive artwork. As reflected in its title, the installation is a commentary on the student debt crisis that has burdened 45 million American college grads. Natural Light took on this project to bring attention to this issue that apparently eclipses happy moments in college.
The cascading installation comprised of 2,600 real college diplomas, which are roughly valued at a little over $180,000 each (the average cost of four-year college education in the U.S.) values at $470 million, just $20 million over the most expensive painting ever sold: Leonardo Da Vinci’s 600-year-old Salvator Mundi.
You can experience the artwork in a digital presentation on Natural Light’s website here if you aren’t able to see it in person. There’s also an AR lens on Snapchat that places you in the middle of a virtual space of the exhibit for you to explore.
“College debt is one of the most important and, unfortunately, one of the most crippling issues for Americans today,” said Daniel Blake, VP of marketing for the company. “We chose art as the medium to amplify the program this year because we saw that the costs of the art world were a great analogy for the sky-high cost of attending a four-year college.” Speaking for Natural Light, Blake hopes the artwork will bring attention to the issue of student debt and hopes graduates can “look back on their college experience fondly.”