Showing posts with label Art and Heritage Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art and Heritage Law. Show all posts

December 23, 2016

Italy prepares to introduce tougher sanctions to combat art crime



Often ahead of the game when it comes to having a low tolerance for art crimes, Italy is about to get tougher still by adapting its current criminal legislation on crimes against cultural heritage.

During a press conference held on Friday at the inauguration of the reopening of the House of the Faun at Pompeii, the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini and the country's new Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, announced that Italy was perched to crack down further on a variety of art and heritage related crimes, something it has been valiently trying to accomplish in legislation originally pushed for by General B(a) CC Roberto Conforti, the (now) retired Commander of the del Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale.

Based on a revised proposal submitted by the Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando and Mr. Franceschini, Italy's Council of Ministers, has approved a bill today that will be tabled in Parliament to give the government a mandate for the reform of the country's rules on penalties for offenses against cultural heritage.

If approved by Italy's parliament the reform is designed to:
  • introduce a new criminal offence "theft of cultural property" which will make a distinction between simple theft in general and heritage theft in particular.  This offense would carry a sentence of 2 to 8 years of imprisonment,
  • introduce a new criminal offence, the illicit trafficking (specifically of) cultural goods, which would be punishable by a sentence of 2 to 6 years of imprisonment, 
  • increase the penalties for crimes which lie downstream from the looting and theft of cultural property, this could including money laundering and/or receiving stolen goods, when those goods or proceeds are considered to have been the direct result of the illicit handling of cultural property, including specific penalties for the "illegal possession of cultural property" which would be punishable by eight years of imprisonment,
  • address the crime of pillage, seeking sanctions not only against the unjustified possession of metal detectors when found in possession of cultural goods on heritage sites, but the simple possession of tools used for tomb raiding, whether or not the person is found with heritage objects in their possession,
  • address the destruction, disfigurement, or desecration of cultural and landscape heritage,
  • allow for tougher penalties in cases involving art forgeries, 
  • allow for the use of undercover operations to track illicit trafficking of cultural property crime, including wiretapping,
  • allow for the reduction in criminal sentencing in cases where defendents work with law enforcement and stolen art is recovered.


November 2, 2016

11,500 years of stratigraphy in a tractor.


Ancient peoples first occupied Bandera County, Texas from the end of the Pleistocene (Ice Age), until the early 18th century. Some of the flint points highlighted in Mike Leggett's recently published article in the Statesman, filed ironically under the category "Sports", appear to be from Archaic cultures.  Flint points like these varied in shape over time and analyzing these points against those from other archaeological sites could be useful in pinpointing the period when the article's dig site was in use by cultures of the past.

But that won't be possible when 11,500 years of stratigraphy are gouged out of the ground with a tractor or backhoe for sport.

Even more painful to read Leggett's statement:

"And there’s nothing wrong with organizing and orchestrating a dig such as this. There are no burial grounds to be disturbed here and no unknown artifacts that might offer some sudden insight into Native American life and culture."

"Nothing wrong" is a pretty broad term.

But is it illegal? 

On private property in Texas, no.  Under specific conditions, it is perfectly legal (unfortunately) to dig on private lands where middens and ancient historical objects can be found.


In Texas, the presence of an archaeologically significant site on private property does not restrict the property rights of the individual landowner.  In fact, these sites and their contents actually belong to landowner who can manage their property in the manner they choose within certain restrictions.  Some choose to use their sites as moneymaking ventures as some flint points are worth a few dollars, while rarer ones can be valued anywhere from between $7,000 and $12,000 each. 

On public property in Texas and under specific conditions, yes it is illegal. 





But having said all that, what we know of the nomadic prehistoric people who populated the region is quite limited so it's a pity when hobbyists with artifact obsessions see the territory only as their own personal treasure trove of pointy objects. 

In 2005 Thomas Hester presented a paper on there area where he said: 


Unfortunately for history, it looks as if the flintheads have the upper hand. Archeological sites will continue to be mined for profit in the Southwest as long as artifacts have sentimental and monetary value on the national and international ancient art markets. 

But what does it really mean when hobbyists take historical memories out of the ground like this, permanently sifting the land grain of sand by grain of sand until nothing is left.  

Collectors in some states can buy history, but preservationists know you can't buy culture.


Texas Pay Dig Site
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=225196834190127&set=pb.100000994364174.-2207520000.1478073733.&type=3&theater
Texas Pay Dig Site
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=423127471063728&set=pb.100000994364174.-2207520000.1478073302.&type=3&theater
Texas Pay Dig Site
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=331002800276196&set=pb.100000994364174.-2207520000.1478073437.&type=3&theater
Texas Pay Dig Site
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=230146937028450&set=pb.100000994364174.-2207520000.1478073573.&type=3&theater

By: Lynda Albertson

July 9, 2013

"Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict" provides case studies of Cultural Property Protection and the military

Dr. Joris D. Kila, University of Amsterdam, and James A. Zeidler, Colorado State University, edited Cultural Heritage in theCrosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property during Conflict (Brill Publications, May 2013).

Dr. Kila, co-recipient with Karl von Habsburg in 2012 of ARCA’s Art Protection and Security Award, attended the 2013 Art and Cultural Heritage Conference in Amelia last month. He has undertaken cultural rescue missions in Iraq, Macedonia, Egypt and Libya and is affiliated with several heritage organizations. In the Blue Shield Winner Heritage under Siege (Brill, 2012), Dr. Kila considered the practical feasibility of the 1954 Hague Convention. 

Dr. Zeidler is a Senior Research Scientist at Colorado State Univesity where he serves as Associate Director for Cultural Resources in the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMMI). He has been involve din Cultural Resource Management on US military installations since 1992 and has provided cultural heritage awareness training to US troops deployed in the Middle East.
The protection of cultural property during times of armed conflict and social unrest has been an on-going challenge for military forces throughout the world even after the ratification and implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols by participating nations. This volume provides a series of case studies and “lessons learned” to assess the current status of Cultural Property Protection (CPP) and the military, and use that information to rethink the way forward. The contributors are all recognized experts in the field of military CPP or cultural heritage and conflict, and all are actively engaged in developing national and international solutions for the protection and conservation of these non-renewable resources and the intangible cultural values that they represent.
Here’s a list of the chapters (the book can be purchased online; its discounted 25% through 31-12-2013 with the Action Code 50555):

Chapter 1: Introduction by Karl von Habsburg
Chapter 2: "Military involvement in Cultural Property Protection as part of Preventive Conservation" by Joris D. Kila
Chapter 3: "Respecting and Protecting Cultural Heritage in Peace Support Operations – a pragmatic approach" by Colonel Dr. Michael Pesendorfer
Chapter 4: "Cultural Property Protection and the Training Continuum in the US Department of Defense" by James A. Zeidler
Chapter 5: "Developing a Cultural Property Protection Training Program for ROTC: Methodology, Content, and Structure" by John A Valainis
Chapter 6: "Conflicting memory: The use of conflict archaeology sites as training for operational troops" by Richard Osgood
Chapter 7: "Developing a NATO Cultural Property Protection Capability" by CDR Michael Hallett
Chapter 8: "Aiming to Miss: Engaging with the Targeting Process as a means of Cultural Property Protection" by Michael Hallett
Chapter 9: "A Case Study in Cultural Heritage Protection in a Time of War" by CPT Benjamin A. Roberts and LTC Gary B. Roberts (Ret.)
Chapter 10: "Counterinsurgency: A Tool for Cultural Heritage?" by Cheryl White and Tommy Livoti
Chapter 11: "Heritage Destruction and Spikes in Violence: The Case of Iraq" by B. Isakhan
Chapter 12: "A Report on Archaeological Site Stability and Security in Afghanistan: The Lashkari Bazar Survey" by Matthieu J. Murdock and Carrie A. Hritz
Chapter 13: "Holy Places – Contested Heritage: Dealing with Cultural Heritage in the Region of Palestine From the Ottoman Period until Today" by Friedrich T. Schipper
Chapter 14: "Urban cultural heritage and armed conflict: the case of Beirut Central District" by Caroline A. Sandes
Chapter 15: "Antiquity & Conflict: Some Historical Remarks on a Matter of Selection" by Mirjam Hoijtink
Chapter 16: "Plundering Boys: A cultural criminology assessment on the power of cultural heritage as a cause for plunder in armed conflicts along history" by Marc Balcells (ARCA Alum).

July 7, 2011

Leila Amineddoleh, Courtney McWhorter, Michelle D'Ippolito and Sarah Zimmer will form the panel “Fresh Perspectives on Art and Heritage Crime” at ARCA's Third Annual International Art Crime Conference in Amelia on July 10

"Fresh Perspectives on Art and Heritage Crime", a panel leading the schedule on the second day of ARCA's International Art Crime Conference, will feature Leila Aminddoleh, Courtney McWhorter, Michelle D'Ippolito, and Sarah Zimmer.

Leila Amineddoleh, an alumnus of ARCA’s postgraduate program and Boston College Law School, will present: “The Pillaging of the Abandoned Spanish Countryside”:
"Spain is rich in art treasures: artwork ranging from religious works, modern paintings, ancient architecture, Roman ruins, and Visigoth remnants are densely scattered across Spain’s cities and countryside. Whereas some of the art is world-renowned and protected, much of the art is still hidden in churches and in depopulated towns and is left vulnerable to damage and theft. Spain’s cache of hidden works has great cultural value to the Spanish cultural identity; however, these works are often misappropriated because their existence is virtually unknown or unprotected. This paper sets forth recommendations for Spain to follow to protect is patrimony, most importantly the necessity of creating an extensive catalogue, encompassing both State and Church property."
Leila Amineddoleh has twice published articles in the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter of the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee of the ABA Section of International Law, including “The Getty Museum’s Non-Victorious Bid to Keep the ‘Victorious Youth’ Bronze” (Winter 2011, Vol. III). She is currently Intellectual Property Legal Consultant at Independent Legal Counsel and Of Counsel at Lysaght, Lysaght & Ertel in New York.

Courtney McWhorter is currently completing her final year as an Honors student at Brigham Young University, for a Bachelors in Art History. She has worked as a teaching assistant and is an art student to John McNaughton. She has done extensive travel while studying abroad, visiting places such as Greece, Italy, Austria, and Belgium, as well as completing graduate courses while studying in Mexico. She is also a committee member of the Art History Association. Ms. McWhorter will present “Perception of Forgery According to the Role of Art”:
"How we view forgery is dependent upon how we view art as a society. In this paper I will argue that forgeries have been received differently according to the role art is playing at the time they are discovered. I will show how the role of art began changing during World War II, due to the looting of Nazi leaders, and how this affected forgery, using the case of the Van Meegeren forgeries as an example. I will show how art is valued today according to its historicity, rather than its aesthetic capabilities. Such a claim explains why forgeries could have once been acceptable, but now are not because they falsify history. They are placed into historical contexts where they do not fit and thereby misconstrue the public view of history. This paper is important because it shows that by understanding the perception of forgeries at certain periods, we can better understand the role of art and the values placed upon it in society."
Michelle D’Ippolito is completing her final year at the Univeristy of Maryland College Park, majoring in Anthropology with minors in Art History and French. She has interned for the Smithsonian Institution and the Department of the Interior, where she wrote an online course in basic museum collections care. Michelle has an article, “The Role of Museums in the Illegal Antiquities Market,” under review for publication. Ms. D’Ippolito will present “Discrepancies in Data: The Role of Museums in Recovering Stolen Works of Art”:
"The ability of investigative agencies like Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to effectively recover stolen works of art depends in part on how comprehensive and complete their databases of stolen works are. The scope of these databases and their effectiveness in recovering artwork depends on how many reports of theft are submitted by museums to the investigative agencies. This paper looks at the various influences that inform a museum’s response to theft, including sending in reports of theft. It examines how a concern with public image and a lack of funding affect the resources museums have at their disposal to handle museum theft and provides some strategies to improve the deterrence of museum theft worldwide."
Sarah Zimmer is a part-time faculty member in the Photography department of the Art Institute of Michigan. She has studied in both the United States and Italy.  She graduated from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2010 with a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. Ms. Zimmer's works of art have appeared in many different exhibitions, including two solo exhibitions: “Presenting” at Four White Walls in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2005, and “Presence” at the Galleria La Corte in Florence, Italy, in 2007. Ms. Zimmer will present “The Investigation of Object TH 1988.18: Rembrandt’s 100 Guilder Print”.
In 2008, while working at an archive of an unnamed institution it was discovered that an etching by Rembrandt van Rijn was missing from the collection. According to a letter on file it was approved to be sent out for restoration in 1998. However, no record was ever found to confirm that it was sent out for treatment. It was last accounted for in a 1990 inventory. Months were dedicated to digging through files and paperwork. After attempting to track the object starting with its provenance, port of entry, and adoption into the collection, the paper work dropped off and a more rigorous search began. Emails were sent and searches commenced, until one afternoon in 2009 I received a letter from the head of the institution asking me to halt the investigation with no explanation offered. While the particular piece’s rarity and monetary value hold no comparison to the Rembrandt cut from its frame during the 1990 Gardener Museum heist, the unnamed institution continues to guard the knowledge of the prints disappearance. This object and the circumstances that ensued led me to further investigate and explore a larger system of values using Rembrandt as a model. I began by questioning the institutional value of maintaining the secret of a missing artwork that was not of any particular rarity or monetary significance.