A SoHo coffee shop is now exhibiting one of the world's greatest portraits... as imagined by one of the most skilled forgers in recent history.
Mark Landis, profiled in the new documentary, Art and Craft, managed to scam dozens of museums into believing his forgeries—from Picasso to Walt Disney—were real. He would sometimes disguise himself (like, say, a Jesuit priest) and donate his pieces, mentioning there might be more art and money to come. And eager museums agreed.
Landis' escapades prompted a 2011 NY Times article, which then inspired the documentary.
Landis, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teen, was asked to create a "Mona Lisa"—which is now on the wall at Think Coffee at 248 Mercer Street—and he painted it in 90 minutes. It can be yours for $25,000. Proceeds from the painting will go to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Laurel, Mississippi, which is Landis's hometown. He said, "Gee, I'm terribly sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. I just wanted something to do. And besides, I really do want to be a proper philanthropist."
You can also commission your own Mark Landis Original.
The film, which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and opened last week in NYC, is opening in wide release this Friday.