‘Made You Look’ assessment: An enchanting $80 million artwork con

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In 1974’s “F for Pretend,” the freewheeling Orson Welles documentary that used the exploits of famous artwork forger Elmyr de Hory as its thematic jumping-off level, the defiant de Hory asks, “Do you assume I ought to confess? To what? Committing masterpieces?”

That mindset proves particularly persuasive within the new Netflix documentary “Made You Look: A True Story About Pretend Artwork,” an interesting depiction of the varied sellers, collectors and gallery homeowners who discovered themselves embroiled within the largest artwork fraud in American historical past.

On the heart of the early-2000s scandal was Ann Freedman, the director of Manhattan’s once-prestigious Knoedler Gallery. Her fateful assembly with Glafira Rosales, a quiet lady who had entry to a treasure trove of Summary Expressionism purportedly by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, finally would quantity to an $80 million con.

Though the works handed muster from revered authenticators, issues turned somewhat murkier when it got here to the equally essential matter of provenance, which was in the end traced again to Queens, the place they have been created by an unassuming Chinese language math professor named Pei-Shen Qian.

Director Barry Avrich — whose earlier documentaries profiled Harvey Weinstein, David Foster and Lew Wasserman — paints an intriguing psychological portrait of a collective of sophisticates (whether or not simple marks or unwitting accomplices) so seduced by the sought-after artwork in query, they’d turn into genuinely oblivious to the not-so-subtle flaws.

Accentuating the unrepentant Freedman (who has a distinctly monochromatic vogue sense) and her fellow interview topics with fittingly creative digital camera compositions, gallery-ready lighting and a refined strings-forward rating, “Made You Look” makes for an exposé that’s appropriate for framing.

‘Made You Look: A True Story About Pretend Artwork’

Not rated

Operating Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Taking part in: Obtainable on Netflix

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