Faux Real

Now this is a strange show of forgeries. Or a show of strange forgeries. The forger doesn’t sell them — he donates them under false identities! And now the University of Cincinnati is putting together an exhibition of forgeries from across his 30 year career.

Landis creates works in oil, watercolor, pastels, chalk, ink and pencil, making most of his copies from museum or auction catalogs that provide dimensions and information on the originals.

He sometimes bestows gifts under different names, such as the Father Arthur Scott alias used at Hilliard. In that case, he told officials that his dead mother had left works including Curran’s oil-on-wood painting “Three Women” and that he was donating it in her memory.

Tullos said museum employees became suspicious when Landis kept changing the subject under questioning. After he drove off, the museum quickly concluded it was a forgery.

To convince museums he is a philanthropist, he also concocts elaborate stories about health concerns, said Cincinnati exhibit co-curator Matthew Leininger.

“He has been having heart surgery for almost 30 years,” Leininger said with a frustrated laugh. “This is the strangest case the museum realm has known in years.”


Digitizing in the News

The Walters just got $200k or so to digitize 115 Flemish manuscripts – and this is on top of two previous big grants for everything from Ethiopic to German. Click for an image! I knew the Walters had a lot of manuscripts, but I didn’t realize it was second only to the Morgan in the western hemisphere. This grant looks to cover about 15% of their collection. I wonder what the total will be?

Amateur Hour


Hot mics.

This man needs to go back to Hyde Park and devote his life to raising Sasha and Malia.

He’s either:

1. a commie spy, or

2. a total amateur, which is closer to what I’ve believed all along. He’s evidently pretty good at campaigning, but not at all at running the White House. I’m surprised the professionals are still letting him out in public in front of anything other than a crowd of union members or yellow dogs.

Urgh. Breakfast meetings.

And people wonder why it’s hard to staff committees? When some folks feel so strongly that certain work must be done before April that the Committee on the Faculty schedules two meetings for one day, I can’t say that I ever want to serve on the committee again after my term expires in June.

Best version yet!

One of my favorite songs of all times — Pink Martini, Una notte a Napoli. An Italian friend told me a few years ago that China Forbes’ Italian was perfect, but without accent. He didn’t mean that as a compliment, exactly — for something like this I think he expected more Napoletano.

Argh! I am finding it hard to embed videos. Go here!

And for the story of the band – here you go. Please ignore the politics, which are totally self-indulgent. They raise money for affordable housing…and bicycles! And they sing in foreign languages! If I remember, Mr. Lauderdale and Ms. Philips met at Harvard, after all.

Block that metaphor!

Remember that old New Yorker column filler?

“That’s fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs,” President Obama says at a press availability in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark.

The TV host again turns to the tape, this time showing President Obama in the Oval Office with Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. “I’ve said this before, but I want to repeat: Norway punches above its weight,” Obama says.

Back to Buch-Andersen. “Hmm. So Norway packs a punch too. But what about the Netherlands? Here, their head of government, Mark Rutte, visits Obama.”

The tape roles yet again. “We have no stronger ally than the Netherlands,” says Obama. “They consistently punch above their weight.

The TV host continues, pointing to the similar rhetoric Obama used when Ireland’s head of state came to town, and then the Philippines.

Buch-Andersen wonders aloud, “Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter’s keyboard.”

Wait a minute – haven’t we been told that Obama’s a brilliant speaker? Once again, I’m reduced to asking “when have you heard him say something not written by someone else?” And in this case, “…someone else who remembers what he wrote about small countries last month?”
Why do people think this man – let alone his staff – are all that smart?