Art and Craft

  • Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman
  • United States
  • 2014
  • 89 min
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Synopsis

“Nothing on earth is original, everything is based on something.” Mark Landis says this very casually, and then he returns to painting over photocopied Picassos, artificially aging panels using coffee and sandpaper and imitating 15th-century icons. Landis has been producing fake works of art for 30 years and has never earned a penny for it. He donates them to museums, which accept them with gratitude. Or he did, until a keen-eyed employee of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art named Matthew Leiniger unmasked him. In the end, Landis had duped more than 60 museums. The game of cat and mouse between Landis and Leiniger is played out to the rhythm of frenetic jazz music. The camera follows the forger, disguised as a priest or the executor of a will, on his way to meet new victims. In a languid tone, he talks about his youth, his passion, and his mother, whom he worships. It would appear that Landis is a schizophrenic with an Oedipus complex. He doesn’t see himself as a swindler, but rather as someone with a hobby. In his own words, he is “addicted to philanthropy.” Using testimony from art historians, museum professionals, police officers and Landis’s medical caregivers, Art and Craft paints a portrait of a strange, fascinating outsider who wants to be part of the very art world that succumbs to his deceptions.

Credits

  • 89 min
  • color
  • DCP
World Sales
Autlook Filmsales GmbH
Screening copy
Autlook Filmsales GmbH
Director
Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman
Co-director
Mark Becker
Production
Sam Cullman from Purple Parrot Films, Jennifer Grausman from Non Sequitur Productions
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