Friday, April 19, 2024

The Tangled Web of Art Fakes

I’ve been meaning to post on this NY Times story from May 2nd, but teaching and client duties — not to mention travel — intervened.

The story concerns the Knoedler Gallery and the number of fakes that were produced and sold as authentic modern and contemporary artworks. This story isn’t new. What caught my attention was how Patricia Cohen delved deep into the tangled web that produces (or at least helps in producing) the fake-art industry.

Something tells me this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that other entities will be unveiled as the digging goes deeper. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot, a lot, of money in this racket — legal or not — so why not get involved at some level. Isn’t that frame of mind exactly what drives every low-level drug dealer?

For now, one other name of note that caught my eye was the highly-respected October journal editor and art historian, Yves-Alain Bois. I’m sure this came as a surprise to many an art world insider.

One last point of note: Cohen’s article points to law as the culprit or main reason as to why fakes abound. I’m not so sure it’s law. It’s like blaming guns for a shooting. We should look at how law is used (or not used) by those with special interests in producing and selling fakes rather than simply blaming law or legislation.


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