Close your eyes and picture a philanthropist.
Likely you envisioned a fat cat with a designer checkbook. It’s the accepted image, but not every benefactor fits the mold.
Take Mark Landis, a gentle soul who’s spent three decades surprising the staffs of small American museums with artwork presented out of the blue. Not just any artwork, and certainly not the nineteenth-century originals they were represented as—in every case, donor Landis was eventually revealed to be the artist.
In Terri Timely‘s documentary glimpse, “Father Philanthropy” (above, with a deleted scene below), Landis obligingly guides viewers through the multi-step process by which his forgeries are created, but he reveals little about his motivation, beyond a desire to honor the memory of his parents (Mother looms large here.)
His fakes don’t add up to a grand conceptual piece, a la artist J. S. G. Boggs‘ incredibly detailed, far-more-valuable-than-the-items-they-were-used-to-purchase banknotes. He seems indifferent to the possibility of high profile, if ill gotten, prestige. He is, quite simply a giver. His gifts cost the recipients professional pride and unexpected fees associated with ferreting out the truth, but they seem malice-free. “About all I’ve got is an ability to draw and paint,” he states, “So naturally it led me to give away drawing and paintings.”
via The Atlantic
Ayun Halliday keeps things real @ayunhalliday