People: Apr. 20, 1998

ART IS HARD

Is there anything sweeter than the perfectly executed hoax? DAVID BOWIE, novelist William Boyd and others nearly pulled one off with the launch of the first book from Bowie's new publishing venture. It's Boyd's biography of little-known Abstract Expressionist painter NAT TATE, who, at 31, committed suicide after meeting Picasso and Braque and destroying most of his work, except the painting above. At the book party, English journalist David Lister asked guests if they had heard of Tate. Many had. Bad call. After very little digging, Lister discovered that Tate, photo and all, was a fiction. Boyd did...

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