Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Art and money, money and art

“ I got addicted to being a philanthropist.” So said art forger Mark Landis who took taking art museums to the cleaners to new heights. “I went on philanthropic binges in mother’s car.” His idea was simple. Instead of selling his forgeries to museums, he’d donate them. He figured that the museum folk would be so keen to get that Picasso or Lautrec or Cezanne into their collection that they wouldn’t look too hard at the provenance or, indeed, at the art itself. He was right. “He knew right where to hit us, our soft spot art and money.” Leininger rather wonderfully calls the reproductions that he copies his work from the ‘originals’ and, for all the deceit, he turns out to be surprisingly humble. “I’m not really an artist,” he insists. “I like to do arts and crafts in front of the TV.”

We posted on suspicions that Landis (dressed as a priest) was up to something like this back in 2010. Now a documentary by Sam Cullman tells the full story. Art and craft follows Landis as he meets up with his nemesis, an equally obsessive registrar from the Cincinnati Art Museum. You can find out more about Art and craft here.

Image: Mark Landis in Art and craft