Art and Craft
Mark Landis has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in US history. His impressive body of work spans thirty years, covering a wide range of painting styles and periods that includes 15th Century Icons, Picasso, and even Walt Disney. And while the copies could fetch impressive sums on the open market, Landis isn't in it for money. Posing as a philanthropic donor, a grieving executor of a family member’s will, and most recently as a Jesuit priest, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to a staggering list of institutions across the United States. But after duping Matthew Leininger, a tenacious registrar who ultimately discovers the decades-long ruse and sets out to expose his philanthropic escapades to the art world, Landis must confront his own legacy and a chorus of museum professionals clamoring for him to stop.
However, it’s not so clear that he can. Landis is a diagnosed schizophrenic whose elaborate con is also a means to cultivate connection and respect — feeding what he now understands as an outright “addiction to philanthropy.”
ART AND CRAFT starts out as a cat-and-mouse art caper, rooted in questions of authorship and authenticity, but what emerges is an intimate story of obsession and the universal need for community, appreciation and purpose.