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Arthur Meiselman

Fakes, Forgeries and the Madnesses of Crowds  ĚŠ

Back by raucous popular demand, here is that contest just for you. The grand prize is $5000USD. All you need to do is select the original Modigliani out of the two displayed below. What have you got to lose? The odds are terrific, 50-50. Is it the top one or the bottom one? Are you ready? Begin:


Sorry, your time is up. If you selected the top one, you're wrong. And if you selected the bottom one, you're wrong. In fact they're both fakes. To begin with, they are digitized photos of a painting, which is a type of fake by its nature. But more to the point, they are photos of a fake, an exquisite forgery painted by a master art forger, a painter with so much talent that it dazzles one's logic as to why he just doesn't create his own, original work. The reason is... money. The reason is… he lives at a time when he is far more assured of success and fortune in copying a treasure than creating a treasure of his own talent.

Second chance. Same prize. Select the original Chagall. Ready? Begin:


Time’s up. Not to be duped, you decided that both are fake. Sorry, the bottom one is the original, the top, a forgery that sold in Las Vegas for a small fortune. The painter—another master forger who at one time had a moderately successful career of his own work but succombed to the challenge and collected the manna.

Albeit, we’re talking about scam and fraud but there is also a thriving, highly profitable and legal industry in Faux Art—paintings that are fakes, copies, and presented as such with “buyer-beware” certificates and upfront, incessant winks of the eye.

In both cases, fake or faux, the driving motive is outsourcing, shadow contracting, tempered with compulsive consumption and no small amount of greed. It’s a motive that can be applied wholesale and reveals a bewildering array of assumptions.

Fakes, Forgeries and the Madnesses of Crowds such as:

The U.S. government and its “virtual” President, a clone of one of America’s most beloved public philosophers – Roy Cohn.

So-called Reality television, with actors who cannot act, writers who do not write, and showrunners who trained at Banquets-Are-Us.

The “virtual” music in Rap.
The “virtual” photography of mobile phones.
The "virtual" virtual in YouTube and Facebook.
The army of private contractors who conduct “virtual” wars.
The army of private contractors who are creating new “virtual” American towns and cities without the need for elections.
The 95% of industrial chemicals that are virtually unregulated.
The “virtual” free-market state of China.
The illusionary nation of Cuba and its “virtual” colony – Miami.
The no-talent of the "virtual" Kardashians.
Sushi and the “virtual” guilt of Japan..
The NFL and its not so "virtual" headbanging.
The MLB of "virtual" baseball.
The “virtual” separation of church and state.
David Beckham and the “virtual” sport of soccer.
The fact that Betty White is still alive.
The fact that Google is a private contractor.
The “virtual” music of Phillip Glass.
The “virtual” repertory of repertory theatre.
The “virtual” art of graffiti art.
The “virtual” news of the New York Post.
The “virtual” news of Fox news.
Drugs, alcohol and the “virtual” PDF version of the
'holy' bible.
Mother’s "virtual" milk.
…and the beat goes on.

Take your pick, add your pick, after all, we’re all part of the Crowds.

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Arthur Meiselman is a writer and the Editor of Scene4. His latest books include The Lyriana Nocturnes and Of Modigliani in Midnight Mourning. He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms.
Read his Blog.
For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Arthur Meiselman
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine

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