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NPR Arts & Life

Radio Replay: Loving the Lie

Don Lowry's con unfolded very slowly over two decades. When it was finally exposed, some of the victims defended the people who had been fooling them. They preferred to believe the lie.
Don Lowry's con unfolded very slowly over two decades. When it was finally exposed, some of the victims defended the people who had been fooling them. They preferred to believe the lie.

Authenticity is a trait we all prize. We all want the real thing - whether that thing is a designer purse, or a loving relationship.

But the two stories you'll hear today raise profound questions about authenticity and nature of human belief: If you believe something is real, if you can fall in love with someone or stand in awe of a painting, is it possible that it doesn't actually matter whether the object of your affection is fake?

Later we'll explore the art of forgery, with a tale of a painter who tricks the world's greatest art experts into believing they are looking at masterpieces.

Hidden Brain is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt, Rhaina Cohen, Parth Shah, and Renee Klahr. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.

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