Typically, the entertainment industry’s adaptation process goes like this: from book to movie. Last week, though, there was a reversal: from movie to book.
This past week, independent U.S. publisher Post Hill Press announced that it had signed prolific Canadian documentary filmmaker Barry Avrich to write a book based on his acclaimed 2020 documentary Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art.
The film followed the 2011 scandal that rocked the art world when New York’s prestigious M. Knoedler & Co. gallery was closed as the FBI investigated the one of the largest art-fraud schemes in history. Collectors were sold about US$80-million of art purported to be created by the likes of Rothko and Pollock, but was actually the work of a Chinese forger. (One of the collectors caught up in the con was Toronto theatre impresario David Mirvish.)
“I don’t think there’s a museum in the world, no matter in Paris or London or Toronto, that doesn’t have fakes. If a superwealthy person has a collection and they donate it to a museum, the museum’s taking it, they’re thrilled to get it,” Avrich told The Globe at the time of the film’s release. “Are they doing the due diligence to forensically test every painting? No way.”
The book, scheduled to be published in the spring of 2025, will offer new “information, evidence and inside stories” on the fraud, according to a statement from the publisher.
Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art is available to stream on Netflix and CBC Gem.