This past Friday I met with five students from ARCA's 2011 International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection studies class - Tim Delanty, Perri Osattin, Ariel Kern, Zach Mattheus, and Marc Balcells Magrans - for the Museum of Modern Art's Target Free Night. Earlier in the day there was a queue of people along 53rd St. and around the corner of 6th Ave. waiting for the free admission doors to open. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait at all when we met up only a few hours later.
The students had been to the museum countless times before; however, this time they were greeted by LJ Hartman, the MoMA's head of security, who warned them not to steal anything! With that in mind, we carefully wandered through the museum's painting and sculpture galleries while discussing Modigliani and Daumier forgeries as well as recent WWII restitution cases. During our visit, Zach Mattheus, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer (http://zachmattheus.com/), asked if there had been any intriguing art theft cases from the MoMA over the years. At the time I could not recall any high profile thefts from the MoMA. But, after looking through my archives over the weekend, I came across a case of 42 Warhol drawings that mysteriously vanished from the museum following a 1988 retrospective of the late artist's works. According to a New York Times report, the museum's insurer settled for $1.1 million with the works' lender, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, in November 1993.
The evening wrapped up with the students discussing their motivations behind pursuing an education and professional training in art crime studies over drinks at the bar Faces and Names. Onward to Amelia!