Showing posts with label Spring 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring 2013. Show all posts

August 20, 2013

Noah Charney's "Q&A with Ken Perenyi" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Noah Charney, ARCA Founder and Editor of The Journal of Art Crime, interviews Ken Perenyi, American art forger and author of Caveat Emptor, in the Spring 2013 issue.
Noah Charney: Could you begin by telling me about the very first work that you forged, the process of making it, and what made you turn to creating a work that would be passed off as something it was not? 
Ken Perenyi: The first one was a matter of circumstance that led me to it. I found myself in a great need of money when I was 18, and I had already started painting. I had worked under the direction of a well-known commercial artist from New York called Tom Bailey, and I discovered that I had a real natural talent for oil painting. It impressed my mentor, Tom, and I learned to paint simply by looking at Old Masters in museums. I never had lessons or formal training, it was just looking at paintings, studying them, and figuring out how the artists achieved their effects. 
I started painting in 1967, with no intention of creating fakes. I wanted to paint surrealistic pictures to impress my friends at the time. The hippy era was big, and my friends from New York City were all avant-garde, they were all older than me. They leased a crumbling old mansion on the Palisade cliffs overlooking the Hudson River, and so I began hanging out there with them. I wanted to fit in and impress them, so I started painting a number of surrealistic pictures. But everyone who looked at them said that they seem to be influenced by the Old Masters -- that wasn't a criticism, just an observation. And that's the way I understood how to paint, to layer and make things appear like the Old Masters.
I spent a lot of time in museums, studying painting. When I found myself in desperate need of cash, an artist friend joked that I should try forging a painting. He gave me a book about the forger [Han] van Meegeren, that he had just finished reading. I was impressed, and in the brashness of youth, I figured, maybe I can do this?
On my next trip to the museum, I visited the Dutch section and was looking at the portraits. I looked at these little portraits, and thought that they've got to be simple. I thought, why don't I try something like this? So I painted one on a small wooden panel that I scavenged, it was the bottom of an early piece of furniture. I managed to make a fine little portrait on the panel, and was able to sell it to a gallery on 57th Street [in New York]. I got $800 for it -- that was my first fake. From that point on, it wasn't a matter of if I would paint another one, but when I would paint another one. It was the beginning of a career -- I didn't look upon it as a career at that point, I saw it as something I could always fall back on, to raise some quick cash, until a turning point came later in life.
This interview is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney. It is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 19, 2013

Noah Charney's "Q&A with Ruth Godthelp" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Noah Charney, founder of ARCA and the editor of The Journal of Art Crime, interviews Ruth Godthelp, Senior Amsterdam Police Officer with the Dutch Art Squad ["Q&A with Ruth Godthelp" in the Spring 2013 issue].
Noah Charney: How did the Politie Art Squad first become established? I believe that prior to its establishment, Martin Finkelnberg was informally the go-to agent for art-related cases, but that there was no formal team in place.
Ruth Godthelp: In 2010, I was given the opportunity, by the serious and organized crime department of the Amsterdam Police, to explore the phenomenon of "art-related crime;" this being not only theft, fencing or embezzlement of art, antiques (possibly being cultural heritage) but, in addition, also more abstract variations, such as money laundering and types of fraud (forgeries of objects of art or their provenance documents, insurance fraud, etc.) 
This opportunity was the effect of the general acknowledgement, within the Amsterdam Police, that certain characteristics of the art world, and the involved objects, lead to risks on the illegal activities. These are defined as risks, mainly following from high and fluctuating art prices and the ease of acting anonymously which, knowing or unknowing, can have the effect of undermining activities which damage the legal structures of the art world and its players. 
To improve our information, the exploratory activities gradually led to the formation of a strong network of "players" in the art world. Not only art dealers and trade associations, but also representatives of auction houses, fairs, galleries, insurance companies, certified appraisers of art and antiquities, foundations, museums and, of course, the Ministry of Culture and its Heritage Inspection department. Where at first we noticed that "the art world" was reluctant to cooperate with the police because of an understandable fear of lack of action, later we saw this attitude change into a very cooperative modus. In recent years, lots of useful information about stolen objects, and bad faith/rogue buyers and dealers has come to us from our network. From exploring the art world, we fluently started dealing with actual cases, with the result that cases could be solved, and our intelligence became better and better.

This interview is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney. It is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 18, 2013

Jonathan Keats' "Forged: Why Fakes Are The Great Art of Our Age" reviewed in The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013

Catherine Sezgin reviews Jonathan Keats' Forged: Why Fakes Are The Great Art of Our Age (Oxford University Press 2013) in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.

Keats, an art critic for San Francisco Magazine who has previously published on art forgery in Art & Antiques, wants to argue that the problem with forgeries is a problem with us: "We need to examine the anxieties that forgeries elicit in us now. We need to compare the shock of getting duped to the cultivated angst evoked by legitimate art, and we need to recognize what the art establishment will never acknowledge: no authentic modern masterpiece is as provocative as a great forgery. Forgers are the foremost artists of our age."

Keats highlights "six modern masters." After World War II, Lothar Malskat, a German restorer, fakes a mural in a damaged 13th century church. In the 1920s, Alceo Dossena, an Italian sculptor, creates antiqued marbles. In the 1930s, Han van Meegeren, a successful Dutch portrait artist, forges six paintings by Vermeer and sells them to the Nazis.

This book review is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney. It is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 17, 2013

Llewelyn Morgan's "The Buddhas of Bamiyan" reviewed by Catherine Sezgin (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Llewelyn Morgan, University Lecturer in Classical Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, "had an interest in Afghanistan from a couple of sources," before he spent 14 months writing The Buddhas of Bamiyan. Morgan explained in an email:
Like a lot of Classicists, I was fascinated by the legacy of Alexander the Great and the Greek culture that persisted in Central Asia for centuries after him. Years ago, I was staying at my grandmother's house (after her death), and was sifting through the antiques and knick-knacks she obsessively collected. I found a samovar, and discovered that it was from Kandahar in 1881, during the Second Afghan War. Later I made friends with someone who was in charge of clearing mines in Afghanistan and he persuaded me to celebrate my 40th birthday by visiting the country.
The Taliban's destruction of the giant stone Buddhas in Afghanistan captured international attention. Morgan concisely explains which group provided the Taliban with the ammunition to destroy the two colossal images of the cliff Buddhas (Al-Qa'ida) and why (to create international outrage six months before the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001). Morgan assesses the loss of the archaeological monument ("Bamiyan was Afghanistan's Stonehenge, the most celebrated archaeological site in the country"):
It remains a terrible tragedy that they were destroyed. What I hadn't realized before doing the research is what an immensely rich history that they had and what very significant monuments they had been for a variety of cultures. ... they were a wonder for three separate cultures, the Buddhists that created them, the Islamic peoples who followed, and then, in the 19th and 20th centuries, for the Western world. The 19th century, when British and European travelers and spies rediscovered the statues, is a particularly fascinating period of history. The best way to compensate for an artistic crime is to fill in the proper meaning of these monuments.
You may finish reading this book review by Catherine Sezgin in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney (available electronically and in print via subscription and Amazon.com). Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 15, 2013

Erik el Belga's "Por amor al arte. Memorias del ladrón más famoso del mundo" reviewed by Marc Balcells (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Marc Balcells reviews Erik el Belga's Por amor al arte. Memorias del ladrón más famoso del mundo (Editorial Planeta 2012) in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.
We criminologists teach a particular theory: neutralization techniques, named by its authors, Matza and Sykes. In a nutshell, the theory states that committing crimes is illogical, and offenders need to rationalize it. Analyzing the perpetrator's discourse, from the perspective of this theory, will pour forth a chain of excuses/rationalizations that convert his or her actions into something rational and logical: something he can live with. 
This was the recurring theoretical framework that came to my mind while reading the life of art thief Erik el Belga, the nickname behind René Alphonse Ghislain Vanden Berghe, a Belgian citizen, long established in the south of Spain who, alongside his wife, has published his memories, in Spanish. 
To date this book has not been translated, so the practical question for the potential reader is: should he or she invest his or her time in this text, if not well-versed in Cervantes' mother tongue? It depends. Of course, if one is interested in reading the memories of an art thief, it is, indeed worth turning to. But if not, I seriously think this is not a book to recommend, outside of those specifically interested in the subject. The first edition had no fewer than 683 pages, which makes the reading a quite daunting task. 
You may finish reading this review in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney (available electronically and in print via subscription and Amazon.com). Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 10, 2013

Noah Charney on "New "Intelligence" Body Will Monitor Illegal Traffic in Cultural Property" in Lessons from the History of Art Crime (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

In the column “Lessons from the History of Art Crime” in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Noah Charney discusses the new “Intelligence” body founded by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to monitor illegal traffic in cultural property.

This new group will be called the International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods. It will work as a bridge between UNESCO, Interpol, and its constituent policing agencies, as well as other research institutions in the field. The “Observatory” is now awaiting formal funding approval from the European Commission.

The story of this group was first broken by Ian Johnston of NBC News. An ICOM official who spoke to Mr. Johnston, but asked not to be named, discussed how traffic in cultural property is “much worse” than other types of theft. The contact went on: “ICOM felt it needed a lot more reliable information and recent analyses of trends, what one would call the need for ‘intelligence’ when fighting organized criminal activity.”

It has long been known that art crime is a funding source for organized crime, from small local gangs to large international syndicates, but the true extent remains uncertain. Until the US Department of Justice recently remade their website, they stated clearly that art crime is the third-highest-grossing criminal trade worldwide, behind only the drug and arms trades, and that it is a major funding source for organized crime and even terrorism (the new website design no longer has a page dedicated to cultural property crimes). Interpol has, in the past, reiterated this information, but currently states that while experts have made such claims, it simply does not have enough information to confirm or deny them.


The ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by ARCA Founder Noah Charney, is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. Associate Editor Marc Balcells (ARCA '11) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 8, 2013

Christopher Marinello on "Art Recovery: Negotiating with Criminals, Handlers, and Good Faith Purchasers" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Christopher Marinello writes on "Art Recovery: Negotiating with Criminals, Handlers, and Good Faith Purchasers" in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.
There was a good deal of press coverage surrounding a recent art recovery I handled for the Museum of Modern Art in Sweden. A UK-based dealer with significant connections to the Polish art market searched Matisse's Le Jardin against the Art Loss Register database. The results showed that the work had been stolen 26 years earlier, from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden and reported to the local police, INTERPOL, and the IFAR (later the ALR) database. 
Following confirmation of the match, my role was to ensure that the painting made its way into the UK, where I would secure the assistance of law enforcement in case a seizure of the work became necessary. I then proceeded to negotiate (with police approval) for the return of the work. 
Fortunately, I encountered a very cooperative dealer who was willing to listen to my analysis of the laws of Poland, the UK, and Sweden. (I think I might have bored him into submission). We engaged in considerable debate about what options he had available to him, knowing that he now held a stolen painting. Once obtaining his release, the painting was placed in a safe for eventual return to the museum in Stockholm. 
Many of the reporters covering the story wanted to know how much money was paid to the dealer, to obtain the release of this $1,000,000 painting. The follow-up question was just as direct, in wanting to know how much money the ALR was going to make from the recovery. The answer to both questions was, and is, zero.
Mr. Marinello's article is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA (available electronically and in print via subscription and Amazon.com). The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

August 6, 2013

David Gill on "Dallas Museum of Art Takes the Initiative" in "Context Matters" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

David Gill
Professor David Gill writes on "Dallas Museum of Art Takes the Initiative" in his column Context Matters in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime:
The reporting and commentary on the so-called "Medici Conspiracy" has exposed the way that major North American museums acquired recently-surfaced antiquities (Watson and Todeschini 2006; Silver 2009; Felch and Frammolino 2011). This was in spite of the 1970 UNESCO on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the 1973 Declaration by the Archaeological Institute of America, the 1983 acceptance of the UNESCO convention by the US, and the varied acquisition policies of individual museums. Museums overlooked and ignored the ethical issues related to the damage of archaeological sites and, instead, emphasized the fact that they acquired objects in good faith and by legal means. Objects purchased through Switzerland, Paris, London, or New York were not considered to be problematic. The items had passed from their countries of origin to the international antiquities market. The release of the Medici Dossier photographs, seized in the Geneva Freeport, brought a sequence of major museums agreeing to hand over significant numbers of items: Boston's Museum of Fine Art, the Cleveland Museum of Arts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art (Gill and Chippindale 2006; 2007a; Gill 2009a; 2010). And it is clear that material in other major North American museums has been identified and that this shameful list will expand.
Professor David Gill is Head of the Division of Humanities and Professor of Archaeological Heritage at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, England. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University (where he also chaired the university's e-learning sub-committee). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. he is the holder of the 2012 Archeological Institute of America (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2012 SAFE Beacon Award. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. He wrote a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War in Sifting the Soil of Greece: The Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886 - 1919) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classics Studies, Supplement 111; London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2011), xiv + 474 pp.

Here's an excerpt from Professor Gill's column:
Are all the apples in the North American museum barrel rotten (Gill and Chippendale 2007b)? There is one clear exception that suggests that there is at lest one sensible voice of concern and reform. In January 2012, Maxwell Anderson, the newly appointed Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), became concerned about the museum's holding of material derived from Almagià. He clearly wanted to pre-empt any external investigation that could reveal embarrassing and potentially damaging information about the museum. Anderson decided to post details of the objects, along with their stated collecting histories, on the Association of Art Museum's Director's (AAMD) object register website. This website, hosted by Anderson's former institution, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, had been intended to be used for displaying information about new acquisitions, rather than reviewing the cases of older ones. Such a move indicated a major change in attitude toward the issue of toxic antiquities that were potentially lurking in the collections of North American museums.
This column is included in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, (available electronically and in print via subscription and Amazon.com.) The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

July 30, 2013

The Journal of Art Crime: Issue 9, Spring 2013

The ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

The Editorial Board includes Lord Colin Renfrew, Professor of Archaeology, University of Cambridge; Petrus van Duyne, Professor of Criminology, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands; Matjaz Jager, Director, Institute of Criminology, Slovenia; Travis McDade, Professor of Library Studies, University of Illinois Law School, US; Kenneth Polk, Professor of Criminology, University of Melbourne, Australia; David Simon, Professor of Art History, Colby College, US; Erik Nemeth, RAND Group, US; Liisa van Vliet, University of Cambridge, UK; Dick Drent, Director of Security, the Van Gogh Museum, The Netherlands; Anthony Amore, Director of Security, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, US; Dennis Ahern, Director of Security, the Tate Museums, UK; Richard Ellis, Director, ArtResolve and Art Risk Consultant, UK; Col. Giovanni Pastore, Retired, Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Rome, Italy; Neil Brodie, Professor of Archaeology, University of Glasgow, UK; David Gill, Professor of Archaeology Heritage at University Campus Suffolk, UCS Ipswich, UK; A. J. G. Tijhuis, Attorney, Pontius Lawyers, and NSCR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Benoit van Asbroeck, Attorney, Bird & Bird, Brussels, Belgium; and Howard Spiegler, Attorney, Herrick, Feinstein LLP, US. 

Design, layout and the cover design and illustration created by Urska Charney.

In the "Letter from the Editor", Noah Charney, Found of ARCA, writes:
In this issue, we present six academic articles, rather than our usual 4 or 5. We had a cornucopia of strong and timely submissions, and so chose to run extra academic articles and have slightly fewer editorials in this issue. Also unusually, we've published several papers by young Greek scholar Christos Tsirogiannis, who has uncovered some timely, breaking-news information about antiquities auctioned by Christie's, as well as new info about a statue at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. His scholarship is top level, but also fresh and current, so we felt it wise to run both of his articles now, allowing The Journal of Art Crime, to "break" his stories. We also feature a strong contribution from Anna Perl, on restitution issues in Poland, a new translation of an article on the philosophy and theory of authenticity, from Thierry Lenain, and a fine dissertation from an ARCA Program graduate, Caitlin Willis. Finally, in the Academic section, we offer the first in a series of articles by Dutch lawyer and criminologist Edgar Tijhuis, adapted from his out-of-print book, Transnational Organized Crime and the Interface between Legal and Illegal Actors. This text will be serialized in consecutive issues of the JAC.
This issue also includes a Letter from ARCA's Acting Academic Director, Crispin Corrado, PHd in Classical Archaeology from Brown University, and author of a book on ancient Roman sculpture, Merry and Jovial: Reconsidering the Effigies Immortalis and the Commemoration of Roman Boys (Oxbow Books, 2013).

Academic Articles: Christos Tsirogiannis' "Something is Confidential in the State of Christie's"; Thierry Lenain's "The Question of the Value of Doubles in Autographic Arts"; Caitlin Willis' "Graffiti in Contemporary Rome: Why Reductive Solutions will Fail and Why that's a Good Thing"; Anna A. Perl's "Poland's Restitution Efforts in the United States"; Tsirogiannis' "A Marble Statue of a Boy at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts"; and Edgar Tijhuis' "Legal and Illegal Actors around Art Crime: a Typology of Interfaces".

Regular Columns: David Gill on "Dallas Museum of Art Takes the Initiative" in Context Matters; Christopher Marinello on "Art Recovery: Negotiating with Criminals, Handlers, and Good Faith Purchasers"; and Noah Charney on "New "Intelligence" Body Will Monitor Illegal Traffic in Cultural Property" in Lessons from the History of Art Crime.

Editorial Essays: David Scott's "On Art Forgery: the History of a Modern Obsession by Thierry Lenain"; Steven D. Feldman (Herrick, Feinstein LLP) on "Highlights of Selected Criminal Cases Involving Art & Cultural Objects: 2012"; Stefano Alessandrini's "The Thieving Director: the Horrifying Theft of Thousands of Books, and the Thief who was Paid to Protect Them"; and Elizabeth Rynecki's "Lost, Forgotten, Looted, or Destroyed: A Great-Granddaughter's Search for her Art Legacy".

Reviews: Marc Balcells reviews Por amor al arte: Memorias del ladrón más famoso del mundo by Erik el Belga; Catherine Schofield Sezgin reviews The Buddhas of Bamiyan by Llewelyn Morgan; Balcells reviews The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities by Janet Ulph and Ian Smith; and Sezgin reviews Forged: Why Fakes Are The Great Art of Our Age by Jonathon Keats.

Extras: Noah Charney's "Q&A with Ruth Godthelp" and "Q&A with Ken Perenyi"; 2013 ARCA Awards.