Noah Charney's column "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" features "Mark Landis: the Forger Who Has Yet to Commit a Crime" in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.
To trick the art world has been the primary motivation of nearly all of history’s known forgers. The financial gains aside, forgers often seek to fool the art community as revenge for having dismissed their own original creations. Traditionally, this takes two forms: first, forgers demonstrate their ability to equal renowned artists, by passing their work off as that of a famous master; and second, they show the so-called experts to be foolish, by thinking that the forgers’ work is authentic. Money has been only a secondary concern for many of history’s known forgers — an added bonus after the initial thrill of success at having fooled the art community. But one very unusual forger, the subject of an exhibition called “Faux Real” at the University of Cincinnati that opened on April Fools’ Day of this year, is an exception to just about every rule.
Noah Charney is the Founder and President of ARCA and the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Art Crime. Recently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, he currently is a professor at the American University of Rome and Brown University. He is the editor of ARCA’s first book, Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009) and The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Press 2011).