Forging Art for Kicks

Mark Landis is an art forger who does it for kicks.  Apparently, he donates “works” from his “collection” to museums for the thrill of tricking them.

He has been one of the most prolific forgers American museums have encountered in years, writing, calling and presenting himself at their doors, where he tells well-concocted stories about his family’s collection and donates small, expertly faked works, sometimes in honor of nonexistent relatives.

Unlike most forgers, he does not seem to be in it for the money, but for a kind of satisfaction at seeing his works accepted as authentic. He takes nothing more in return for them than an occasional lunch or a few tchotchkes from the gift shop. He turns down tax write-off forms, and it’s unclear whether he has broken any laws. But his activities have nonetheless cost museums, which have had to pay for analysis of the works, for research to figure out if more of his fakes are hiding in their collections and for legal advice.

Sounds like the makings of a good Coen Brothers movie, with Malkovich starring of course.

Comments on this entry are closed.