1 March 2016 | blanche-2
"Art and Craft" from 2014 is about art forger Mark Landis.
Mark Landis is an odd person with ears that stick out. He looks like he's about 70, except at the time of the film, he was 59. He speaks softly, sometimes in incomplete thoughts.
And he has a strange hobby. He copies art and donates the art to museums, taking no money or tax deduction, and claims that it was his mother or sister Emily's wish that the museum have this particular piece. He doesn't have a sister Emily.
After years, an art registrar, Mark Leininger, caught onto him as he was doing his due diligence on some of the donated art. He realized that there were as many as six copies of the same painting donated around the country.
He actually hasn't broken any laws because it was up to the museum experts whether or not to accept the art.
Leininger decided to give Landis an art show, where viewers would be able to see the frauds and learn about them. Leininger said that he had no idea what he would say when he saw him - what he said was, "Glad to see you." He's such an unassuming man, you can't see him as evil. And he isn't. Mischievous maybe.
The documentary is really remarkable - to see this man put on a priest collar - he gave away art using several aliases, pick up a briefcase, and, slumped over, walk to his car and go to the next museum. One of Leininger's theories about Landis is that he likes putting one over on the experts. He was encouraged at the show to display his talent by painting his own original works.
An only child, Landis was very close to both of his parents and had a nervous breakdown when his father died. He took care of his mother after Katrina, and her death is still very upsetting to him. His apartment is filled with her things and photos. He now goes to Menninger Clinic and sees a psychiatrist there and receives medication. He's a sad man, but doing the art work gives him adventures.
The most interesting thing about this documentary is Landis himself, though seeing how he does the forgeries is fascinating. He is very talented, and he gives the copy place a lot of business (he does a lot with copying things to different sizes).
Recommended -- no question, he's an oddball. Not sure what he's doing now - he said at the end he really can't continue giving away art work, now that everyone has his number. But he did put on that priest collar...don't put anything past him.