Forged: Why Fakes are the Great Art of Our Age

Jonathon Keats
Item #82020

Forgery has been much discussed--and decried--as a crime. Forged is the first book to assess great forgeries as high art in their own right.
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Forged explores art forgery from ancient times to the present. In chapters combining lively biography with insightful art criticism, Jonathon Keats profiles individual art forgers and connects their stories to broader themes about the role of forgeries in society. From the Renaissance master Andrea del Sarto who faked a Raphael masterpiece at the request of his Medici patrons, to the Vermeer counterfeiter Han van Meegeren who duped the avaricious Hermann Göring, to the frustrated British artist Eric Hebborn, who began forging to expose the ignorance of experts, art forgers have challenged "legitimate" art in their own time, breaching accepted practices and upsetting the status quo. They have also provocatively confronted many of the present-day cultural anxieties that are major themes in the arts. Keats uncovers what forgeries--and our reactions to them--reveal about changing conceptions of creativity, identity, authorship, integrity, authenticity, success, and how we assign value to works of art. The book concludes by looking at how artists today have appropriated many aspects of forgery through such practices as street-art stenciling and share-and-share-alike licensing, and how these open-source "copyleft" strategies have the potential to make legitimate art meaningful again.

Published by Oxford University Press

Author: Jonathon Keats
Size: 5.5 x 8.25
Pages: 208
Author Bio
Jonathon Keats is a writer, artist and experimental philosopher. He is recently the author of the story collection The Book of the Unknown (Random House), winner of the American Library Association's 2010 Sophie Brody Medal, as well as Virtual Words: Language on the Edge of Science and Technology and You Belong to the Universe, both published by Oxford University Press.
Table of Contents
Part One
The Art of Forgery

Part Two
Forgers: Six Modern Masters

Lothar Malskat: What is Belief?
Alceo Dossena: What is Authenticity?
Han van Meegeren: What is Authority?
Eric Hebborn: What is Heritage?
Elmyr de Hory: What is Identity?
Tom Keating: What is Culture?

Part Three
Forging a New Art

Further Reading
Astronomy Discover