by liberal japonicus
Earlier, I wrote about the case of John Updike's trash and the person who went through it. From that
Moran told me he checked into the legality of what he was doing in the years he collected Updike’s garbage. He also asked friends for guidance about the ethics of his actions. It felt wrong to him, and dragged him back into a mind frame he’d been trying to snap. Moran says he had been having a difficult time in the months leading up to that afternoon in May 2006. As a recovering alcoholic, his long bike rides were part of plan to stay healthy and sober. But the trash bags outside of Updike’s house became a new kind of addiction, a temptation he felt he couldn’t resist. He worried he was spiraling back into a dark place.
Yes, maybe he was substituting one addiction for another, but if he had been going through Shakespeare's trash, we'd be singing his praises today.
Anyway, linked to that is this NPR piece, about a movie about an art forger and the person who caught him. About the forger:
His skills with a pencil or paintbrush are undeniable. Often using a magnifying glass, Landis studies a print of an original work and, with meticulous attention to detail, copies exactly what he sees: religious icons, impressionist or modern works. His re-creations in the style of old masters are astonishing — and so are his tools.
They include "magic markers and pens and Wal-Mart frames ... raw materials that proper forgers might not use," says Cullman.
Because he donated the forged works and never asked for money, he never committed a crime and I was reminded of the collector of Updike's trash, especially by this graf:
Landis was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 17. Among famous art forgers, he's in a class by himself, says Colette Loll, an art fraud investigator. She's organized a touring exhibition of works by five notorious forgers, including Landis. Although what he was doing was wrong, Loll believes the process helped him manage his mental illness by giving him a sense of purpose, and by "feeding his desire for acceptance and friendship and camaraderie and simply to be liked and respected."
Earlier this month, Loll, the filmmakers and Landis attended a screening of Art & Craft at a conference for mental health professionals and families affected by mental illness. When it was over, Landis received a standing ovation. "To them Mark was a symbol of hope and wellness and productivity," says Loll.
Many of us wimpy folks on the left often get dinged because, it is claimed, we follow the notion given in the French phrase "“Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.” (whose origin is discussed here). But thinking about these two stories, I wonder if we all have some mental issues, and lucky is the person whose issues correspond with what society finds fashionable.