Who Watches Over the "Art Police"?
In a recently published article by El Mundo (¿Quién vigila a la ‘policía del arte’?) the author explores the idea of authenticity in art. Falsifications in art are as old as art itself and it seems that more and more often we hear of stories of fake copies being sold for MILLIONS (Think Glafira Rosales and all the fake Rothko’s and Pollock’s that she sold…).
Damien Hirst is taking advantage of being one of the highest payed living artists, and has created a committee in charge of authenticating his pieces. This committee, which gets together six times a year will be in charge of verifying the legitimacy of Hirst’s pieces. This comes at a good time, where many pieces seem to have been losing their colour in the signature area. As a result, the committee has declared they will re-identify and Hirst will personally sign them again, for free.
The problem really arises when the artist has passed away, which is what occurs most of the time. In France, it is usually the family of the deceased artist who is appointed as the authenticity guarantor of the artists work. However, blood relation does not in any way guarantee artistic knowledge. This was seen in the case of Francis Bacon, where David Edwards, brother of the late John Edwards, friend and heir to the artist, was caught authenticating hundreds of fake drawing and selling them for over 1 million euros.
As more and more scandals regarding fakes arise, it gets much harder to authenticate pieces. Is there away to dissolve the increasing interconnectedness between the authenticating body and the art market?