The Museu del Falso at the University of Salerno in Southern Italy showcases counterfeit artworks, including nearly perfect forgeries of Warhol, Mario Schifano, and other high-priced artists. The museum's supplier is the Carabinieri, the country's military police, who have collected more than 60,000 fakes in raids across the country over the last few years. From Smitsonian:
(Salvatore) Casillo, the museum’s director, is an author and sociologist who has spent 20 years studying counterfeits of all kinds. The museum’s mission is "to analyze the evolution of forgery, from technique to organization," he says, "and to give visitors the opportunity to see firsthand how the counterfeiters carry out their deception."
Unlike the works that hang on its walls, the Museum of Fakes resembles no other. Located in the basement of a university building, it is both storeroom and gallery. Phony Grecian urns line shelves while some paintings are still packed in brown paper (they can't be displayed until courts have dealt with the cases, which can take years). Other objects are filed in metal cabinets or displayed on the walls. Scattered around the place are bundles containing trickster tools of trade: paints, canvases, chemicals, anything used to make the piece look authentic...
In an ironic twist of fate, some master forgers are now getting respect from the art establishment they challenged and, in some cases, convulsed. London's Victoria and Albert Museum has a separate gallery devoted to first-class fakes and forgeries. Other respected museums around the world are giving the counterfeiters–long the object of public fascination–shows of their own.
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