Art and Craft (Documentary)
Mark Landis is a talented man. He can copy any painting from any time period in any style. At a glance his works all look like the real thing. Mr. Landis has been forging art for thirty years but he cannot be charged with a crime. He would describe his occupation as philanthropist. He copies works of art from museum catalogs he collected as a boy in Europe and donates them to museums and libraries around the country under various aliases. Yes, he is misrepresenting the artwork with his intricate stories of provenance and forged ownership and auction documents. But is he doing anything wrong?
This is a fascinating look at art world and how easily curators can be duped by a talented, mentally ill man. Why don’t these institutions scrutinize the Picasso donated by a random person who makes an appointment? Some of these works he donated multiple times – didn’t anyone check the online catalogs of other museums? Personally, I can see this happening in an age before computers, but now it is amazing to me how readily his donations are accepted.
I found it very hard not to like Mr. Landis even though I kept waffling on whether he knew what he was doing was wrong. And really, did he do anything wrong?