|A forged work by Mark Landis|
This is not your typical April 1 prank. Curators at the University of Cincinnati have put together a super show “Faux Real” examining Mark Landis, the man who has fooled many medium and small museums into accepting donations of his forged works.
Landis creates works in oil, watercolor, pastels, chalk, ink and pencil, making most of his copies from museum or auction catalogs that provide dimensions and information on the originals. He sometimes bestows gifts under different names, such as the Father Arthur Scott alias used at Hilliard. In that case, he told officials that his dead mother had left works including Curran’s oil-on-wood painting “Three Women” and that he was donating it in her memory. . . . The Faux Real show will run through May 20 at the Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery. It depicts famous art forgers, details of how Landis made some donations and ways of detecting fakes. Visitors can view some works under ultraviolet light that causes sections to glow if they contain contemporary ingredients. Art experts say not accepting payment for his forgeries has helped keep Landis from being charged with a crime. Museum officials say forgeries can hurt their reputation and cost time and money researching suspected fraud.
He presents a challenge for prosecutors and the small museums he donates the works to. But the attention paid to him now will hopefully prevent future museums from accepting more forgeries. The exhibition will run through May. ARCA offered advice with respect to the possible ways the law regulates (or to be more accurate has difficulty regulating) these forgeries and donations.