There is deception at the Canton Museum of Art.
If you are a mystery buff or like solving crime on TV police shows before the detectives don’t miss this display of deception.
The museum’s new exhibition “Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World” is a “behind-the-crimes” look at forgeries and art thefts. It will be on display through Oct. 26 at the museum, 1001 Market Ave. N in Canton.
The event follows a special presentation by Robert Wittman former FBI investigative expert in the art field. He is responsible for recovering more than $300 million in stolen art and cultural property from around the world.
The exhibit is an intriguing look into the world of art forgery. Canton Museum of Art is hosting the Midwest premier of the exhibit, the first stop on a national touring exhibition.
Colette Loll, curator of Intent to Deceive and founder/director of Art Fraud Insights said,
“A recent flurry of books, conferences and exhibitions dedicated to fakes, forgeries, mistakes, and misattributions is evidence that the age-old art of forgery has never intrigued the public more than it does today.”
Intended to challenge visitors to seek out the originals among the forged copies, five of the world’s most notorious con artists are featured. It is an examination into how their talents created much havoc assaulting the art world throughout the 20th century into the present day.
Gallery visitors will see the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac and others. Throughout the exhibit, art enthusiasts can test their skills to determine what is authentic and what isn’t.
Throughout time, art forgers have worked to gain public sympathy using the “talented but undiscovered artist” ploy. This exhibition also shows art fraud is not a victimless crime. The forgeries are a deliberate intent to deceive.
“Fakes and forgeries were once the dirty, little secret of the art world, and no gallery, museum or auction house has ever been entirely free from the embarrassment of a costly error of misattribution or faulty provenance,” said Loll. “In today’s art world, the bungling of authentication makes big news and can no longer be silenced or swept under the rug. Duped museum and art experts, though by no means vindicated, may now find comfort in a growing public interest in deciphering these costly mistakes.”
Highlighted in the exhibit is known serial counterfeiter, Mark Landis who has recently been making gifts of his “art” to various museums. The works of infamous con artists including the likes of Elmyr de Hory who was the subject of Orson Welles’ film “F for Fake,” Han van Meegern, Eric Hebborn and John Myatt are featured.
Divided into sections, the exhibit examines each forger’s career including personal effects and ephemera, photographs, film clips as well as explanations of techniques and materials. With 50 fakes displayed how will one choose the over 12 original works?
“A forgery pretends to be something that it is not, affecting our concept of originality and distorting the art historical record,” said Loll. “Ascribing authenticity to an object is to provide a verifiable link to its maker – a connection to the author, moment and circumstances of its creation. A forgery severs the thread that connects a specific work to a specific artist, distorting the relationship upon which its value is determined. It appropriates an original idea from another creative personality, assuming a false pedigree and, undiscovered, occupying a place in art history that it does not deserve.”
The cost to view the special exhibition is $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and students. Museum members and children younger than 12 are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased during museum hours or by calling 330-453-7666.
For group visits and tours, please call Lynn Daverio at 330-453-7666 at least two weeks prior to your visit for reservations and/or to request a docent-led tour.
Visit the Canton Museum of Art website http://www.cantonart.org.