“Fake: Another Gallery of the Inauthentic”

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World is proud to host another exhibition of and about fakes, replicas, copies, facsimiles, and forgeries. Everything in our gallery is not what it claims to be. The curated pieces, ranging very widely over diverse cultural domains from art to numismatics and medicines, are intended to prompt the questions: What makes a fake fake? And, how can one really know?

As the late Italian semiologist Umberto Eco argued, “There certainly exist tools, either empirical or conjectural, to prove that something is a fake, but […] every judgment on the question presupposes the existence of an original that is authentic and true, against which the forgery is compared; however, the real cognitive problem consists not only in proving that something is a forgery but in proving that the authentic object is just that: authentic.”

The curated pieces are intended to prompt also the more troubling questions: “What makes the authentic authentic? Who gets to decide? And why?”

On view in the first floor of Rhode Island Hall from April 15th-May 30th, 2022.