Showing posts with label 2013 ARCA Annual Art And Heritage Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013 ARCA Annual Art And Heritage Conference. Show all posts

September 2, 2013

ARCA's Art & Cultural Heritage Conference 2013: Giulia Mezzi (University of Reading), Carrie Johnson (South Texas College of Law) and Cynthia Roholt (South Texas College of Law)

The last panel of ARCA's fifth annual conference on art crime (June 21-23, 2013),  featured presentations by students in cultural property and law.

Giulia Mezzi, PhD Candidate, University of Reading, presented on "The origins of Cultural Heritage Protection in Italy, a historical survey":
This presentation aimed to outline the thought and philosophy behind the modern concept of cultural heritage protection in Italy -- both in legal terms but also in the broader sense of the monument's material preservation. 
The first edicts concerning heritage protection appeared in the Papal States during the Early Renaissance. In a later stage, law shielding heritage from the damages of natural decay, war, plundering or illegal exportation became more sophisticated, especially during the 19th century with the historical processes of nation-formation, where monuments or works of art acquired the symbolic meaning of the country's Volksgeist. The fundamental ideas present in those pioneering decrees are reflected in the contemporary international legislation and to this regard, I attempt to highlight the growing awareness -- legal, social, and political -- of the value of cultural heritage that went beyond the territorial boundaries of the Italian peninsula.
Carrie Johnson, JD Candidate, South Texas College of Law, presented on "Cultural Property in Crisis: Whose Burden is it?". Ms. Johnson previously graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree in History and minors in Journalism and Anthropology.

Ms. Cynthia Roholt, JD Candidate, South Texas College of Law, presented on "Human Remains: Permission and Plastination."

August 28, 2013

ARCA 2013 Conference: Presenting the Awards to this year's ARCA Award Winners

by Marc Balcells

After five years of meeting annually in beautiful Amelia, it is a fait accompli that ARCA’s conference is an established forum that reunites researchers and practitioners alike for the discussion of the latest advances in research on art crimes and cultural heritage protection. The good health of the conference year after year and the positive outcomes and feedback received year after year are motives of celebration; however, if there is a real moment for celebration in the conference is in the afternoon of the first day, when we award four outstanding persons regarding their efforts in saving and protecting cultural heritage.

This year’s award winners were Christos Tsirogiannis, an archaeologist conducting research in illicit antiquities trade at the University of Cambridge and former member of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice; Duncan Chappell, Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney; Blanca Niño Norton, Consultant at the Petén Development Project for the conservation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, depending from the Ministry of Environment of Natural Resources, and member of ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) and ICCROM (the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property); and Sharon Cohen Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Dr. Edgar Tijhuis, professor at the Postgraduate Program and a trustee of the organization, introduced Mr. Tsirogiannis’ award, on art protection and security. The awarded presented on his work, based on the illicit trade of looted archaeological goods. His presentation became an interesting and valuable who’s who of the characters of the gran razzia that happened recently in Italy: names like Marion True, Giacomo Medici, Robin Symes or Christos Michaelides became pivotal points of Mr. Tsirogiannis’ presentation, compiling stories of pieces recuperated by Italian law enforcement worldwide.

Ms. Lynda Albertson, ARCA’s CEO,  presented the Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship to Dr. Duncan Chappell, who heartily thanked the organization for the honor bestowed upon him. Dr. Chappell greatly deserves this award, as he has written extensively on the topic of art crime from a criminological perspective. To everybody, but especially to us criminologists, his work is invaluable. He has written articles for ARCA’s Journal of Art Crime, and along with Stefano Manacorda edited Crime in the Art and Antiquities World: Illegal Trafficking in Cultural Property (Springer 2011).

I had the honor to present the Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art to Mrs. Niño Norton. A true contemporary renaissance woman (besides being an architect she is a sculptor and a painter), Mrs. Niño Norton delivered a presentation based on Guatemala’s different forms of cultural heritage, its threats, and the different projects she spearheads for its protection, which range from architecture to the copying of Guatemalan statues in the middle of the jungle (so the originals can be properly preserved in cultural institutions) or the restoration of looted tombs by locals.    

Finally, HRH Ravivaddhana Sisowath, Prince of Cambodia, introduced the Art Policing and Recovery Award to Mrs. Sharon Cohen Levin; and accordingly, provided Mrs. Cohen Levin’s office fights for the 10th-century Khmer statue that Sotheby’s hopes to sell at auction. Mrs. Cohen Levin presented on art related asset forfeitures in recent cases she has dealt with. In her very lively presentation, the awarded prosecutor showed to the audience important cases like the forfeiture of the Portrait of Wally, by Egon Schiele, along more original cases like the prosecution of dealer Eric Prokopi and the forfeiture of… a dinosaur!

In sum, a feast for the arts, and a celebration for all of us who care about the protection of cultural heritage. These awards are small tokens to great works of love done by even greater people. Congratulations!

August 23, 2013

2013 ARCA Art & Cultural Heritage Conference: Saskia Hufnagel Presented “Shifting Responsibilities – The Intersection of Public and Private Policing in the Area of Art Crime”

Dr. Saskia Hufnagel
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Criminal lawyer Dr. Saskia Hufnagel spoke on public and private policing in the area of art crime in her presentation “Shifting Responsibilities – the Intersection of Public and Private Policing in the Area of Art Crime” at ARCA’s Art & Cultural Heritage Conference on June 22, 2013.

Art crime is not always a ‘special’ type of crime. Most common forms encompass theft, fraud and forgery offenses and are, or should be, policed by local police agencies. However, most art crime is not detected without special knowledge. Whether a stolen painting or statue qualifies as ‘art’, needs to be discovered either by the victim, or the investigator. In fraud cases, police need to be able to determine the actual author of a particular artwork. Many officers would not be able to make these distinctions, having no specialized training on these matters and –in the case of Australia – not even a special national unit to refer these cases to. Art crime is hence often referred to ‘experts’ with special knowledge and even their own ‘intelligence’ databases. A prominent example for the privatization of intelligence in this field is the Art Loss Register, which investigates predominately art theft cases, either commissioned by private institutions or working together with police all over the world. The present paper will examine historically the interaction between public and private policing in the area of art crime intelligence with a view to common law jurisdictions, such as Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom. It will be assessed whether a shift toward private intelligence has actually occurred, why a shift might have been necessary, and what dangers private intelligence brings for the art market.

Dr. Hufnagel, a Research Fellow at CEPS, Griffith University, Australia and a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Leeds, is the author of Policing Cooperation Across Borders: Comparative Perspectives on Law Enforcement within the EU and Australia (Ashgate, 2013). Together with Duncan Chappell, she is currently editing Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime (Ashgate, 2013).

In working on the book with Professor Chappell, Dr. Hufnagel found that a private policing component was involved in nearly every case in art crime – from the use of the private database of stolen art operated by the Art Loss Register to security in museums and the use of private investigators in theft and fraud cases. “Problems arise where interests between public and private policing of art crimes oppose one another,” Dr. Hufnagel said. “It can be an overlap of competences and different interests. For example, private companies may want to recover paintings to give them back to the owners while police officers are more interested in arresting the offenders than in recovering the art.”

Rising values of art in the 1970s created a need to secure it using private means. “We want a free market of and access to art all over the world, yet this needs to be policed and self-regulated,” Dr. Hufnagel said. “With art increasing in value, the need for protection and the fear of loss became more prominent.” Dr. Hufnagel continued:

In the area of art crime prevention it can be observed that museums have to develop security mechanisms to protect their collections -- some imposed by government regulation, other required by insurances -- but not all museums have the means to do so. With regard to detection and investigation of art crime, private policing became prominent as overburdened police forces have limited resources and the criminal justice system can be too bureaucratic. Art crime is low on the priority list of most national police forces, which is why private security providers could close a gap in the market. A major problem for public police in the field is that the art community does not trust their ability and expertise. Police are not part of the art market and quite distant from this very unique community. They are supposed to help, but the art community doesn’t even expect them to. Furthermore, many actors in the market want to remain anonymous and therefore prefer private investigators.

In forgery cases, victims often do not want to report cases as they might face losing their property. If a forged work of art is not reported, it always risks being sold as an authentic piece.

Private firms can fill the gap between the art market’s expectations and the police’s experience. Experts often assist police in determining forgeries. However, experts can be corrupted and if, as it happened in the Beltrachi case in Germany, experts get paid not for their time, but receive a percentage of what the painting is sold for the risk of unreliable certificates of authenticity is high.

A way of closing the gap between public and private policing aims is to rely on security providers with knowledge of both sides. Many experts in private investigation are former police officers and understand the economic interests of the art market and the public safety interests of the police.

August 22, 2013

2013 ARCA Art & Cultural Heritage Conference: Dutch Police Officer Ruth Godthelp Presented "The nature of crimes against Arts, Antiques and Cultural Heritage: A description of art-related crime in the Netherlands based on police registrations"

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Criminology doctoral candidate and Senior Amsterdam Police Officer (at the serious and organized crime department at the Amsterdam Police in The Netherlands), Ruth Godthelp looked at more than 4,000 police reports to study art crime in The Netherlands in her presentation "The nature of crimes against Arts, Antiques and Cultural Heritage: A description of art related crime in the Netherlands based on police registrations" at ARCA's Art & Cultural Heritage Conference on June 22, 2013.

After a legal career as both a judicial assistant of the Public Prosecutor and as a lawyer, Ms. Godthelp joined the police and became the first official national police officer combating art-related crime. She recently started a PhD in Criminology (VU University Amsterdam) purely based on police registrations to purify the basic discussion about the actual scope and nature of art-related crime in the Netherlands.

Although the last decade art-related crime acquired increased attention within the policing and academic field, a description of the phenomenon is often made based on theoretical possibilities and only a few case studies. The question therefore arises whether these limited sources of information give an accurate reproduction of the actual nature and scope of art-related crime. This presentation presents provisional outcomes of an ongoing research project uniquely using police registrations of art-related crime in the Netherlands from 2007 through 2012 and aims to provide more insight into the offense itself (1) the suspect (2) and (3) the victims of art-related crime.

For this study 4,000 registered art-related crimes were extracted from the Dutch national police database and submitted to set definitions and operational approaches which narrowed the dataset down to 1,100 registrations. These were analyzed from the aforementioned angles (offense, suspect and victim).

A first finding showed that a large number of registrations were registered in such a restricted way that, although valuable art, antiques or (international) cultural heritage were involved, any indication regarding further investigation was lacking, which led to limited useful information. Further, the paper discusses the type of offense occurring in the dataset. It showed us mainly (targeted) burglaries from private houses, involving quite a share of modern art-objects. But also cases with constructions of money laundering within the commercial world of art, museum thefts, illegal import of cultural heritage, fraud and high quality forgeries and recurring suspects are discussed.

Although research based purely on police-registrations also has restraints (such as the effects of black number and priority based information) this innovative survey offers the possibility to purify the basic discussion about the actual scope and nature of art-related crime. In addition it could serve as a starting-point for further required empirical research and priority setting within law enforcement.

"The characteristics of the majority of suspects in art-related crimes in the survey were male, average age of 40-45 years old, and 30% were employed in the art market," Ms. Godthelp told the audience. "In one case, two paintings stolen from a private residence changed hands three times and all three dealers admitted that they didn't verify provenance but trusted the person they had bought the painting from. This shows how the painting moves to the licit art market."


In addition, the cases involved people known to the police and selling art for financial gain. "Three-quarters of the cases, from theft to recovery, operated within 100 kilometers," Ms. Godthelp said. "The majority of the motives appeared to be financial -- and in some cases -- that the art was stolen to sell for cash or for drugs. Sixty percent of the suspects had police records, including art dealers with multiple records."

June 23, 2013

Il Tempo publishes piece on ARCA's Fifth International Art Crime Conference

Here's a link to an article by Giuseppe Grifeo in the Italian publication Il Tempo on ARCA's fifth international art crime conference held in the ancient Umbrian town of Amelia.

Here's a link to Google translating that same piece which essentially describes some of Amelia's historical and cultural significance: the medieval village likely emerged as early as the 9th century BC and is today surrounded by 4th century BC polygonal limestone bolders. Amelia was ruled by Romans, sacked by Goths, asserted its freedom from the papacy in the Middle Ages, and was the birthplace of the great painter Piermatteo d'Amelia and Alessandro Geraldini, a papal representative to the Spanish Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the editor of a volume that first described the New World, Itinerarium ad regiones sub aequinoctiali plaga constitutas.

ARCA's International Art Crime Conference, organized by CEO Lynda Albertson and founder Noah Charney, was attended by officiers of law enforcement agencies around the world (at least from the countries of Canada, China (Hong Kong), and The Netherlands) fighting against crimes against art and the looting of antiquities and criminologist and academics and students from universities around the world.

The article notes that Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong of the ruling family in Cambodia presented an award to Sharon Cohen Levin, Head of Asset Forfeiture for the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York for the recovery of a sandstone statue of a 10th century statue stolen from the temple Prasat Chen, an archaeological site of Koh Ker.

May 25, 2013

Speakers list released for ARCA's 5th Annual Art & Heritage Conference in Amelia June 21-23, 2013

View of the hilltop town of Amelia in Umbria
(Photo by C. Sezgin)
The Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) has released the speaker list for it's 5th Annual Art & Heritage Conference in Amelia from June 21 to 23.

Speakers anticipated:

Toby bull, Senior Inspector, Hong Kong Police Force, "Property of a Hong Kong Gentleman, Art Crime in Hong Kong - Buyer Beware";

Ruth Godthelp, PhD Candidate Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, Senior Police officer art related crime, Amsterdam Police, "The nature of crimes against Arts, Antiques and Cultural Heritage: A description of art-related crime in the Netherlands";

Saskia Hufnagel, Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, "Shifting Responsibilities: The Intersection of Public and Private Policing in the Area of Art Crime";

James Moore, retired trial lawyer and student of Caravaggio, "The Outrageous Theft of Caravaggio's Masterpiece The Nativity with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence";

James Bond, ARCA Alumnus, Certificate 2011, "The Theft of Rare Books from the largest Home in the United States";

Chris Dobson, Former Master Armourer to the Royal Armouries at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, "Claiming Fake 'Fakes' in the Trade in Arms and Armour";

Stefano Alessandrini and Derek Fincham will lead a discussion on the Fano Athlete/Getty Bronze;

Joris Kila, Senior Researcher at the University of Amsterdam, ARCA award winner 2012, "An update on Armed Conflict and Heritage";

Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Partner with Sullivan & Worcester LLP, "American Wartime Art Restitution Litigation in the 1990s and Beyond-- Has it All Been Worth it?"

Jerker Rydén, Senior Legal Advisor Royal Library of Sweden, "Skullduggering in the Stacks: Recovering stolen books for the Royal Library of Sweden";

Judith Harris, author and free-lance journalist, regular contributor to the New York monthly ARTnews, "The Role of Collectors";

Felicity Strong, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne, "The mythology of the art forger";

Joshua Nelson, MA Candidate in Art & Visual Culture, University of Guelph, "Framing the Picture: The Canadian Print Media's Construction of an Atypical Crime and its Victims";

Theodosia latsi, MA in Global Criminology, Utrecht University, "The Art of Stealing: The Case of Museum Thefts in the Netherlands";

Verity Algar, Art History Student, University College London, "Cultural memory and the restitution of cultural property: Comparing Nazi-looted art and Melanesian malanggan";

Giulia Mezzi, PhD Candidate University of Reading, "The origins of Cultural Heritage Protection in Italy, a historical survey"

Carrie Johnson, JD Candidate South Texas College of Law, "Cultural Property in Crisis: Whose Burden is it?"

Alesia Koush, Foundation Romualdo Del Bianco-Life Beyond Tourism in Florence, MA Candidate at the University of Cologna under Prof. Luciana Carrino, "The Right to Culture"; and

Cynthia Roholt, JD Candidate South Texas College of Law, "Human Remains: Permission and Plastination".

The conference will open with cocktails at Palazzo Farrattini on Friday evening, June 21. The speakers will present at Chiosto Boccarini on Saturday and Sunday. Imbedded in the conference will be tthe ARCA Award Presentations: Art Policing and Recovery Award to Sharon Cohen Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York; Art Protection and Security Award to Christos Tsirogiannis, Archaeologist, Illicit antiquities researcher, University of Cambridge, former member of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice; Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship to Duncan Chappell, Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney, Australia; and the Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art to Bianco Nino Norton, Consultant Petén Development Project for the conservation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Ministry of Environment of Natural Resources/BID, Delegation of World Heritage Guatemala, Treasurer ICOMOS Guatemala, Presently serving as a Council Member for ICCROM.

The 5th Annual Art & Heritage Conference will have a dinner Saturday night at Locanda.