Alec Baldwin is taking on the true-crime podcast world with his upcoming project. In his first major project since the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust in October, Baldwin will narrate Art Fraud, an eight-part series from his El Dorado Pictures and Cavalry Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio, reports Deadline.
The series will explore the fall of one of New York City's oldest art galleries, The Knoedler, and is written by and based on Michael Shnayerson's Vanity Fair article about how an unassuming woman who walked through the door with a painting she claimed was done by Mark Rothko took the revered gallery on a 17-year journey of fraud with more than 40 fraudulent sales.
Baldwin previously had an experience with art fraud himself, winning a seven-figure settlement in 2017 against art gallery owner Mary Boone over a fake painting by contemporary artist Ross Bleckner. The New Yorker reported at the time that Baldwin asked Boone about purchasing the 1996 painting "Sea and Mirror" from another collector, but after purchasing it began to suspect the work was a fake.
In his lawsuit against Boone, the actor claimed that when she could not procure the original, Bleckner reproduced it. Asked why the work looked different, Boone reportedly claimed it was "cleaned," as the previous collector was a smoker. Confronting Bleckner ahead of filing the lawsuit, Baldwin said the artist admitted the piece was a copy, and Boone admitted to her role in the deception. As per the New Yorker, Bleckner wrote in an email to Baldwin, "'I'm so sorry about all of this. I feel so bad about this," and Baldwin claimed of the gallery owner, "Mary cried on the phone. She said, 'You caught me. I wanted to make you happy.'" Upon his victory in the suit, originally filed in 2016, Baldwin told the New Yorker, "Maybe I'll have Ross paint a picture of the seven-figure check that Mary paid me to settle."
Baldwin and Shnayerson serve as executive producers on Art Fraud alongside Cavalry Media's Matt DelPiano and Keegan Rosenberger. Branden Morgan, Senior Podcast Producer at Cavalry Audio, serves as producer with Zach McNees as well as Nikki Ettore and Lindsay Hoffman for the iHeartPodcast Network. Art Fraud launches Feb. 1 wherever you get your podcasts.