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Reader’s Den

June 2014 Reader's Den: "The Judgment of Paris" Part 4


In “In Praise of Art Forgeries” Blake Gopnik argues that muddying the ability to authenticate art works, as Warhol’s Factory artists did (sometimes attributed to him, sometimes not) can help to bring positive attention to works themselves, rather than their purely monetary value. As many letters to the editor in response suggested, this article may well have been mostly tongue-in-cheek. I suspect that he is questioning the role of the authenticator. This questioning of the role of art authentication is in some ways similar to the artists' questioning of the role of the Academy in "The Judgment of Paris".

Certainly, Manet's ability to tip his hat to traditional works yet still manage to discomfit the public has inspired many a contemporary artist to do similarly, whether they be painters, sculptors or recording artists. Moreover, although clearly not forgers, Manet and Monet’s works have had many reproductions made of them. The film “Mona Lisa Smile” touches on the meaning of widespread art reproduction in its representation of the marketing phenomenon of paint-by-numbers.

NYT article: "Too Hot to Handle: What is the Value of Stolen Art?"

"The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft" by Ulrich Boser. A theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 was the largest art heist in history, and the location of the missing works remains largely unsolved.

"How to Steal a Million" with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. A woman and a burglar hatch a scheme to swipe a forgery from an art museum to conceal her father's art forgeries.

Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts. Set in 1953, Katherine Watson is a free-spirited graduate of UCLA who accepts a teaching post at Wellesley College, a women-only school where the students are torn between the repressive mores of the time and their longing for intellectual freedom.

"Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art" by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo. Aly Sujo passed away shortly after the completion of this nonfiction work about the infiltration of the British art world by a schemer who faked the provenances of numerous forgeries and passed them off as legitimate works to international galleries.

"The Thomas Crown Affair" with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

"White Collar" (tv series)


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