Los Angeles Museum accused of exhibiting Fake Paintings

Thursday, July 4, 2024
Los Angeles Museum accused of exhibiting Fake Paintings

Paintings by artists Lee Jung-seop and Park Soo-keun that were exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) are likely to be counterfeit, according to experts.

The museum appeared to give in to the forgery allegations, as Lacma director Michael Govan said that the museum would cancel the publication of the exhibition catalog, local reports said Monday. Lacma’s “Korean Treasures from the Chester and Cameron Chang Collection” exhibition, which ended Sunday, was subject to ceaseless suspicion by experts during its four-month run that some of its works were fake.These works include two paintings each by Lee and Park, as well as other paintings and ceramics from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
An official appraisal session was held on Wednesday at Lacma, attended by four Korean art experts: Hong Sun-pyo, professor emeritus at Ewha University; Lee Dong-kook, director of the Gyeonggi Province Museum; Tae Hyun-seon, curator at Leeum Museum of Art; and Kim Sun-hee, former director of the Busan Museum of Art. It was an unprecedented event for an American museum to organize a conference with Korean specialists to debate the authenticity of artworks.
The experts concluded that four pieces were counterfeits: Lee’s “A Bull and a Child” and “Crawling Children” and Park’s “Waikiki” and “Three Women and Child." Some reasons for their conclusion were that "Crawling Children” was a copy of another painting by Lee that was turned horizontally and that the bull in “A Bull and a Child” was depicted with a brush technique different from what Lee typically uses. 
The experts criticized the lack of preparation in the curatorial process regarding the verification of the work and the lack of a general understanding of Korean art.
The “Korean Treasures” exhibition featured 35 pieces among 100 artworks donated by Drs. Chester and his son Cameron Chang, who own an extensive collection of Korean artworks. The suspicion regarding the pieces' authenticity were first posed in a JoongAng Ilbo exclusive in February and continued in April, when the Galleries Association of Korea sent a letter to Lacma questioning the provenance of the pieces.

Main Image :Courtesy Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

Stephanie Cime

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