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Long-time art critic Richard Dorment reveals the corruption and lies of the art world and its mystifying authentication process.
Late one afternoon in the winter of 2003, art critic Richard Dorment answered a telephone call from a stranger. The caller was Joe Simon, an American film producer and art collector. He was ringing at the suggestion of David Hockney, his neighbour in Malibu. A committee of experts called the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board had declared the two Warhols in his collection to be fake. He wanted to know why and thought Dorment could help.
This call would mark the beginning of an extraordinary story that would play out over the next ten years and would involve a cast of characters straight out of a n novel. From rock icons and film stars; art dealers and art forgers; to a murdered Russian oligarch and a lawyer for the mob; from courtrooms to auction houses: all took part in a bitter struggle debating the authenticity of a series of paintings by the most famous American artist of the twentieth century.
Part detective story, part art history, part memoir, and part courtroom drama, Warhol After Warhol is a spellbinding account of the dark connection between money, power, and art.
Richard Dorment was born in America and studied at Princeton and Columbia before joining the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A distinguished art historian, scholar, journalist, and exhibition curator, he was Chief Art Critic on London’s Daily Telegraph from 1986 until his recent retirement. He has been named Critic of the Year in the British Press Awards. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, his work has appeared in the the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review. In 2014 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to the Arts by Queen Elizabeth II.
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“Warhol After Warhol is Mr. Dorment’s riveting memoir of how he tried to prove the authenticity—and importance—of Mr. Simon’s ‘Red Self-Portrait.’ He recounts the courtroom antics in detail, as the defense counsel buried the real issue of authenticity under what he describes as a mountain of theatrics, obstructions and diversions designed to prolong the trial.” The Wall Street Journal
“Germane to our cultural moment, in which AI has made authenticity a common concern. 'Without academic transparency and commitment to truth, art history degenerates into a mere matter of opinion, or, more accurately, of self-interest,' states Dorment. Warhol, however, was characteristically elastic on the subject: 'art is anything you can get away with.’" The Financial Times
"The art world has a dark side. This fascinating story will interest art lovers and fans of courtroom dramas.” Booklist
“Former art critic Dorment’s fascinating debut chronicles his yearslong investigation into the Andy Warhol Foundation’s certification process. Dorment nimbly balances an entertaining account of Warhol’s late-’60s Factory days with a gripping, well-researched true crime narrative about the art world’s shady dealings. This is an entertaining eye-opener.” Publishers Weekly