Art and Craft

PBS Premiere: Sept. 25, 2015Check the broadcast schedule »

Take Action

As is the case with many people who struggle with mental illness, Mark Landis is somewhat lonely and isolated in his daily life, especially after his mother's death. Think of ways that people in your community could prevent isolation and help facilitate connections with people who have mental illnesses. This might include hosting programs that debunk myths, counter stereotypes and provide accurate information about mental illness. Consider how treatment centers for the mentally ill might be better integrated within your community to foster human connection and combat the marginalization that so many with thought disorders experience.

Visit a local art museum. Try comparing a reproduction of a work in the collection (from a postcard) to the actual work. What are the similarities and differences? Do you agree with Mark Landis that reproductions of artwork are not true representations of the artist's intent? As you look at the works on display, consider how your experience of them is influenced by your assumption that they are original and authentic. Arrange for your group to meet with staff from the museum to discuss your thoughts. Ask if the museum ever received an offer of a donation from Mark Landis and if so what the response was. Invite museum staff members to share their own ideas about what should happen to someone like Landis and why.

Invite artists, museum staff and/or art professors to hold a public conversation about what makes someone an artist and how value is assigned to artwork. Have each panelist explore the ethics of Landis's actions, whether they would have given Landis his own show and/or to what degree forgers should be considered artists in their own right. Ask them to assess what percentage of their holdings are forgeries, discuss what they intend to do with those works and share how museums are educating themselves (or how they can educate themselves) and their communities on topics such as authenticity and connoisseurship.