I've been watching some really fun shows on television lately... Leverage and Dollhouse. They're both in their first season and so far seem to be rather entertaining. And, surprisingly, they've both had episodes involving art. I was excited to see that there were shows willing to venture in the topic of art. Both episodes dealt with stealing it, which is a common theme for art in movies. A lot of people love that attaining the unattainable story including myself. But, I have to admit I'm easily irked by the smallest of inaccuracies that they often display.
For example, in Leverage Nathan's ex-wife, Maggie, is an art expert that a company uses to identify (for insurance purposes) works of art... any work of art. As an art historian, I specialized in Latin American Art. Liz (our other consultant & blogger) concentrated in Contemporary Art. While we have extensive knowledge in these areas, we can't authenticate a piece of art by looking at it through a tiny magnifying glass. I know... suspension of disbelief. It just seemed that this would be a good opportunity to clear up the fact that finding authenticators for works are hard to come by. Normally each artist, only has one authenticator. If they happen to have more than one, it is probably because they worked with more than one media like painting and sculpting. One authenticator would be for painting and one for sculpting. If it's an artist from a period such as the Renaissance, a group of art experts would work together to hopefully identify whether a work is a fake or not. This linked article from the Discovery Channel gives a good idea of what steps experts take when authenticating works.
Dollhouse handled this a bit better with an antiquities expert who had a feeling that he was chosen to authenticate a specific piece. Unfortunately, as one of the characters has been badly hurt, he interprets a piece of art for Echo (and the viewers) as fact. And as we stated in our December 11th post "Your interpretation is never wrong." Interpretation of art is personal, everyone sees things differently and it's not up to anyone else to tell you what a work of art should mean to you.
Even with my own personal minor issues with the discrepancies, it would be great to see more shows and movies with visual art as the main subject. It gives us artsy folks something to chat about!