Friday, August 21, 2009

As old as the Eden tree

Lots of stories about fakes in the news lately.

Derek Fincham points to a story in ARTnews "on the slew of Russian avant-garde paintings which were alleged to be fake." One expert is quoted as saying: "There are more fakes than genuine pictures."

Fom the AP: "German police have confiscated hundreds of bronze and plaster statues alleged to be the works of Alberto Giacometti and arrested an art dealer and two others on suspicion of selling the fakes across the globe."

An art dealer in San Francisco has been indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges "for allegedly selling fake Joan Miro prints."

The New Mexico state attorney general’s office "entered into a consent decree with Golden Bear Trading Inc. of Santa Fe over selling fake Indian art work."

The Art Newspaper's Jason Edward Kaufman reports that "a collection of Frida Kahlo oil paintings, diaries and archival material that is the subject of a book to be published by Princeton Architectural Press on November 1 has been denounced by scholars as a cache of fakes."

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones says "the fear of fakes does far more harm than forgery itself. This terror that comes with the pride of thinking you know something about art corrodes pleasure, cripples the imagination, blinds you to what might be beautiful. Art is riddled with forgeries, misattributions and dodgy restorations. ... The kind of scholarship that does not add to the excitement of art, but instead makes people terrified that what they are seeing might be inauthentic, is arrogant and destructive."

ARTINFO's Yael Friedman asks: "Why are individuals of means, often extraordinarily savvy in their other financial dealings, so vulnerable when it comes to the acquisition of art? What is it about art that causes buyers to take such leaps of faith, often only to discover that simple research could have easily uncovered any snags or malfeasance?"