ROM exhibit looks at fakes throughout history, from antiquities to software

TORONTO — Is it real or fake?
That’s the question raised in a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum, which will present artifacts ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Chinese porcelain to knockoffs of designer brand clothing.
The 115 objects in “Fakes & Forgeries: Yesterday and Today,” opening Jan. 9, include bogus items displayed alongside their genuine counterparts. Visitors will see fossils, pre-Columbian urns, ancient Greek terracotta statuettes, black market DVDs and hockey equipment, the museum says.
Show sponsor Microsoft Canada contributes a display on counterfeit software, while the Bank of Canada is providing a historical exhibit on phoney money.
The exhibition also gives tips on how to avoid being fooled by modern scams, said Paul Denis, assistant curator in the ROM’s department of world cultures.
Forgery of art and collectibles has gone on for centuries and is bound to continue as prices for many works follow a steep upward trend, said Denis.
“Today’s counterfeiters also go far beyond the art market, creating all manner of phoney consumer goods: designer clothing, jewelry, electronic equipment, computer software, pharmaceuticals and even food,” he said.
“Fakes & Forgeries,” produced by the ROM, runs until April 4 and will travel to museums across Canada.

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