The long con

From Made You Look

Was it greed or ignorance? That’s the question filmmaker Barry Avrich tries to untangle in the Netflix documentary Made You Look: A True Story about Fake Art (94 minutes, 2020, 4 chiles). “The scandal that rocked the art world” had a properly unbelievable beginning: An unknown dealer approached the 145-year-old M. Knoedler & Co. with a handful of Mark Rothkos — unknown paintings with a shaky provenance. Surprisingly, gallery president Ann Freedman bit. How could Freedman and the experts she hired to authenticate the work not know the paintings (supposedly) by Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and others were fakes? Avrich interviews a murderers’ row of lawyers, art experts, angry buyers, art writers and critics, and others about that question and the $80-million con that shuttered one of the oldest commercial art galleries in the United States. Fascinating and white-collar true-crime delicious.

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