James Kelly and Daria Price discuss one of the greatest scams in art history—the series of fakes that the famous Knoedler Gallery, which had been selling art for 165 years, passed on to their patrons. Was it an isolated incident? Or are there more con artists than we know? Price, the director of DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION, joins Kelly, one of the film’s key subjects and the owner of Santa Fe’s James Kelly Contemporary, in this conversation about the state of modern art in the age of paintings as commodities.
About the film: DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION unravels a mutating tale of self-delusion, greed, and fraud — the $80 million forgery scandal that rocked the art world and brought down Knoedler, New York City’s oldest and most venerable gallery. Was the gallery’s esteemed director the victim of a con artist who showed up with an endless treasure trove of previously unseen Abstract Expressionist masterpieces? Or did she eventually suspect they were fakes, yet continue to sell them for millions of dollars for 15 years? Whatever the truth, two women from very different worlds crossed paths in what would become the greatest hoax ever of Modern American Art.
James Kelly operated the legendary Santa Fe gallery James Kelly Contemporary for 19 years in the Santa Fe Railyard. Prior, he was Director of the Laura Carpenter Gallery.
Daria Price works in both documentary and fiction films. Her film OUT ON A LIMB won “Best Documentary” at the 2013 Boston International Film Festival and has been screened around the world. Her award-winning SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, a satirical mystery that lampoons America’s obsession with youth and beauty, was featured on Comcast’s On Demand Cutting Edge series.