Showing posts with label art crime lecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art crime lecture. Show all posts

March 4, 2019

Noah Charney, the founder of ARCA and leading expert on art crime, returns to Amelia to teach at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection


This year, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection will be held from May 30 through August 14, 2019 in the beautiful heart of Umbria in Amelia, Italy. In the months leading up to the start of the program, this year’s lecturers will be interviewed. This week I sit down with Noah Charney, the founder of ARCA.

Can you tell us something about your background and work? 

I was trying to decide what to study--traditional art history or playwriting believe it or not--when I stumbled into the field of art crime. I originally decided to study art history but did so in London where I could also go see a lot of plays. During that time I thought I wanted to be a playwright and actually got an agent for my plays. But she said that it was far easier to make a living as a novelist than a playwright and did I maybe have a novel in mind? I didn't, but I got started writing.

It was the era of The Thomas Crown Affair and The Da Vinci Code and I thought I'd try something along those lines. As I began my research I realized that there was very little published on true art crimes, especially from an academic angle.  The outcome was I wound up writing The Art Thief, which I was very lucky with.

My interest in studying art crime was piqued at that point and eventually I shifted from art history into criminology, in order to focus on its motivating factors. Turns out I was one of the very few academics drawn to studying this type of crime. While working towards my PhD I organized a conference in Cambridge that brought together art police and academics researching art related crimes. I got lucky again and the conference and this blending of law enforcement and academia were written up in The New York Times. This really kicked things off and was the starting point for my deciding to found ARCA as a research association on art crime, in order to bring together individuals from the various disciplines and specializations that, at the time, seemed so separated from one another. 

What sets the ARCA program apart from others developed later? 

I'm very proud of ARCA's post graduate program, both in terms of what we have created, and what it has supported its graduates to gone on and do professionally.   The program itself was written up in a separate article in the New York Times specifically because of its distinctive subject matter and for it being the first program of its kind in the world, in which one could study art crime but also in a very unique and distinctive format.

The program runs every summer over 11 weeks and we bring in 11-15 world experts in varying disciplines who each teach, or co-teach, one of eleven course modules, each of which are interconnected and make up the foundation of our postgraduate-level professional development program.  Some of our lecturers include Richard Ellis, the founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Squad, Marc Masurovsky, who is an expert on Holocaust looted assets, Dorit Straus, who is an art insurance underwriting expert who also sits on the United State's Cultural Property Advisory Committee, and Dick Drent, the former director of security for the Van Gogh Museum who is a risk management consultant for museums around the globe.

We are also lucky to have a judge, three criminologists and two archaeologists as primary course professors and guest lecturers who come in every year and speak on current cases and art crime deterrent initiatives, which add to the diversity of material we cover.   This year we will have guest lecturers working in conflict archaeology and two curators from the British Museum who will be part of our opening course, lecturing on the issues of circulating illicit artefacts and due diligence. 

I myself teach our history of art crime course, which has a heavy emphasis on forgery. In developing our format, students pursuing MAs and PhDs and professionals can take the program over the course of one summer, or split the program up over two summers and still get the time to explore Italy and Europe. Setting up the program in this way also allows us to bring major experts in the fields, who otherwise have full-time jobs elsewhere, to teach with us one week or two weeks each summer, sharing their knowledge.

Since ARCA's first year of programming in 2009, we have now trained more than 260 alumni who come from 35 different countries around the world and from all different professional backgrounds.  Some of our participants go on to work on Masters degrees or their own  PhDs, and others already work in allied art industry fields.  What's interesting is that the profile of our participants cuts across all disciplines and age groups from late twenties to mature senior learners.

We have had graduates invent new careers in the field, some who have moved on to prominent roles at art law firms, consulting with UNESCO and other heritage organizations, or who blaze their own trails, working in the fields of provenance research or within museums in varying capacities. It is always a wonderfully bonded group that falls in love with the town of Amelia in Italy where the program has been held for more than a decade and who stay in touch with one another, networking long after the program concludes.  That chemistry and diversity is something that we are very proud of. 

Another thing we are proud of is our training of scholars working in conflict countries.  This month we are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so we can offer more scholarships to heritage professionals from countries where cultural heritage is particularly at risk as the result of war and or poverty. Since 2015 we have been able to give scholarships to professionals working in Yemen and Iraq and Syria and we would like to be able to do more in this capacity.

What would a typical day be like in your classroom?

Our program schedule is very intensive -- 5 hours a day for 5 days a week.  But while there are a lot of lecture hours, 220 over the course of all 11 course modules, the overall feeling during the summer is quite relaxed. Classes begin at 10:30 in the morning so it is not exactly at the crack of dawn. We also have a generous 2-hour break for lunch and classes finish by 5:30 in the evening so participants still have time to adjourn to lovely gardens or cafes and to enjoy some wine and pizza. We also try to balance the quantity of home-based assignments with in classroom assignments.

For me, I love teaching and the 5 hours a day of lectures I give fly by. Teaching the history of art crime with a focus on forgery, my goal is to highlight historical case studies that help participants understand how to analyze criminal cases.   Even when we have incomplete information on the crime committed by delving into these historical examples we shed light on present and future issues.

I also always include a bonus lecture for our participants that focuses on strategies for writing their thesis or any academic journal article. If there is time and enough interest, I also include a second bonus lecture on how to get published and earn money as a freelance writer.  There are lots of lessons that I had to learn through experience that I think can really help people and it's my pleasure to offer anything I can to help our participants who are interested in writing, whatever their age or background might be.

While each year participants are very enthusiastic about your course, is there anything you learn from them in class?

I am always learning and part of the fun is the fact that art crime is both so understudied and also so multifaceted. As only a limited amount of material has been published in detail on this subject area,  and as so few people in the world have historically focused on art crime in the art world, each person who studies with us has a chance to make a real and meaningful contribution by exploring the nuances of the genre.  By the very reason that this subject area is a rare though important field of study, postgraduate scholars can make real breakthroughs that can really shake things up and contribute to the knowledge base within this sector.

As an emerging area of focus, there are lots of empty spaces and unanswered questions that need to be filled in. For example one of our earliest participants focused on the specific ways certain criminals had passed off forgeries and looted works of art as legitimate.  By fabricated documents to create a plausible collection history of the artwork, what people in the art trade call provenance documentation, this disreputable player had created a wholly fictitious backstory in order to legitimize the sale of objects on the art market.   Knowing that there was no real focus on gathering and confirming or discounting presented documentation in order to determine an object's illegitimacy, the criminals had laundered artworks onto the market with impunity.

When I talked about some of the ways that historically criminals have tricked the art trade and buyers one participant explained that in their country, in many art market situations and sales environments there isn't anyone whose job it is to verify an objects providence, or to determine whether or not the consigned object or its paperwork, were forged. The fact that an industry the size of the art market was so intentionally vulnerable, all in the name of sales, was a real eye opener. 

In anticipation of your course, what book, article, or movie would you recommend to participants?

There are so many good writers, many associated with ARCA, who have good and useful books well worth reading. I think it's also actually a good exercise to indulge in art crime entertainment. It is useful because it's fun and it also exemplifies how misleading so many films are.  This is a useful starting point for recognizing which aspects of art criminality presented to the general public are accurate and which are not.

There are many great films that are a lot of fun and that also teach viewers two things. First the films give a sense of what the public thinks, or wants to believe about art crime, and are something criminals themselves learn from about the art world as they have access to the same sources of the general public.  But films and fiction are also generally not very accurate. Second, understanding the criminals' knowledge base is very helpful in stopping them.   Films are useful for our participants because they see just how much they've learned by the end of the program by being able to think back on these pop culture touchstone's and having learned to recognize which aspects of them are plausible and which are truly just Hollywood-esque entertainment and hype.

What makes the yearly ARCA program so unique? 

The program is unique. That phrase is often used as hyperbole but in this case it is very true. ARCA's PG Cert was the very first program in the world where you could study art crime in an interdisciplinary academic way. There have since been other programs developed that have popped up long after ours was initiated but they tend to focus on specific subsections of art crime, such as criminal investigation or law as it relates to specific countries, or to the illicit trade in antiquities. Whereas ours remains the only comprehensive program out there.  So for me, if someone wants to study our crime I believe this is still the only place where one can really do it full justice as we aren't restricted to one subject discipline. 

Is there anything you can recommend for future participants to do in Amelia or Umbria? 

Amelia is a wonderful place to spend a summer and our participants inevitably fall in love with the town and the region and the people in the city and their fellow participants. Many of our alumni come back to our summer art crime conference every year not just for the interesting scholarship but also as an excuse to visit old friends and colleagues. Over the course of a summer it is also easy for participants to explore every nook and cranny of Amelia as it is modest in size but with surprising riches such as a city's spectacular Duomo.

Borrowing a car, or better still, a friend with a car, is a great thing to do because there are wonderful day trips to do near Amelia. There are many wonderful towns worth seeing in Italy, and I'm not just talking about the grand tour cities of Rome and Florence and Venice and Naples. Bomarzo, with its amazing and crazy mannerist sculpture garden, is full of these stone sculptures of giants and monsters that are much larger than life size and which is only a half hour away from where we are based. Orvieto and Viterbo, Civita di Bagnoregio, Narni, Spoleto...are also gems worth visiting. 

Maybe one of the nicest activities to do that is beyond the traditional beaten tourist path is to attend a summer sagra. This village food festivals pop up all over Italy throughout the summer. Each one has a theme focusing on a special food from their area and during these it is like a giant pop-up communal restaurant filled with local townspeople, eating at long tables.  These provide lots of camaraderie and dancing and are a cheap way to enjoy delicious speciality eats with locals.

Can you tell us something about your books outside the field of art and crime? 

While I'm known mostly for my books on art crime I've also enjoyed branching out in recent years. I just finished helping a famous Slovenian chef with his latest cookbook and I had great fun publishing a book about my adventures living in Slovenia called Slovenology.  This book has been very well received and translated into several languages.   I seem to be known for two things: art crime and for being an American expat in Slovenia. I hope I have brought some positive changes and interpretations to both of these subjects!


For a detailed prospectus and application materials or for general questions about this postgraduate program please contact us at education@artcrimeresearch.org


Edgar Tijhuis serves as the Academic Director at ARCA and is a visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology in Ljubljana. He is responsible for the postgraduate certificate program in the study of art crime and cultural heritage protection and since 2009, has taught criminology modules within the ARCA program.

March 19, 2017

Lecture: Criminals without Borders - The many profiles of the (il)licit antiquities trade.



For those interested interested in the realm of illicit trafficking who will be in Rome, Italy April 21, 2017 Lynda Albertson, ARCA's Chief Executive Officer will be giving a talk on "Criminals without Borders."

This one hour lecture, at 6:00 pm at John Cabot University will provide a brief overview of the profile of actors in the illicit art trade, giving examples of how those in the trade avoid detection and prosecution.

This presentation will discuss the motives of trafficking in art and antiquities, highlighting cases from source and conflict countries emphasizing that the trade thrives on commercial opportunity i.e., a means of dealing in high value commodities that are often poorly protected, difficult to identify and easy to transport across national boundaries.

Her presentation will examine specific case examples and will underscoring response mechanisms that work to proactively counter the illegal trade.

The discussion will highlight

--the interchangeable participants in the illicit antiquities trade
--varying motives/opportunities
--how connections through single interactions can form loosely based networks


Lynda Albertson is the CEO of ARCA — The Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a nongovernmental organisation which works to promote research in the fields of art crime and cultural heritage protection. The Association seeks to identify emerging and under-examined trends related to the study of art crime and to develop strategies to advocate for the responsible stewardship of our collective artistic and archaeological heritage. 

Ms. Albertson, through her role at ARCA seeks to influence policy makers, public opinion and other key stakeholders so that public policies are developed and based on apolitical evidence, and which addresses art crime prevention and the identification of art crimes in heritage preservation initiatives.

In furtherance of that, Ms. Albertson provides technical, scientific and regional expertise to national and international organizations such as UNESCO, CULTNET, ICOM, in furtherance of ARCA's heritage preservation mission.   For the past five years, Lynda has focused part of her work on fighting the pillage of ancient sites and trafficking of artifacts, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, conducting research on the illicit trade in antiquities in MENA countries. 

Ms. Albertson also oversees ARCA's inter NGO - Governmental engagement and capacity building in MENA countries in recognition of UN Security Council Resolution 2199, which among other provisions, bans all trade in looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria and encourages steps to ensure such items are returned to their homelands. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CET)
Guarini Campus
Via della Lungara, 233

October 13, 2016

Lecture: ‘The International Illicit Antiquities Network: Dealers, Auction Houses, Private Collectors and Museums’ by Christos Tsirogiannis


Fen Edge Archaeology Group (FEAG) will host a lecture given by Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis on the ‘The International Illicit Antiquities Network: Dealers, Auction Houses, Private Collectors and Museums

Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2016 

Time: 7.30 pm 


Admission Fee: Members £2; Non-members pay £3.’

The talk will present the main members of a trafficking network dealing in looted and smuggled antiquities, contra the 1970 UNESCO convention and will highlight connections between dealers, auction houses, private collectors and museums. Dr. Tsirogiannis will also make use of photographic evidence from confiscated archives of illicit antiquities dealers why antiquities should be repatriated and dealers and museum curators be prosecuted.

Christos Tsirogiannis is a forensic archaeologist researching smuggled antiquities and the market for looted cultural objects. He is a Senior Archaeologist at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit and a lecturer at ARCA's Postgraduate program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.  He studied archaeology and history of art in Greece and worked for the Greek Ministries of Culture and Justice from 1994 to 2008, excavating throughout Greece and recording antiquities in private hands. 

Since 2007, Christos has been identifying illicit antiquities, depicted in the confiscated Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives, in museums, galleries, auction houses and private collections, notifying the relevant government authorities as toxic antiquities are suspected in the licit art market. 

February 11, 2014

The Monuments Man of the Walters Art Museum: Michael Kurtz and Melissa Wertheimer spoke about the life and work of Marvin Chauncey Ross


Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald.
Isenheim Altarpiece.  1512-1516.
Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France.

By Kirsten Hower, Social Networking Correspondent and List-Serve Manager

The Monuments Men were the unsung heroes of the Second World War who have lately achieved some very belated fame through literature, especially Robert M. Edsel’s Monuments Men (Preface, 2009) and Saving Italy (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013). Even Hollywood has caught on to the great story of the Monuments Men with the rather belated release of George Clooney’s new film. While the books and the movies help to give their audiences a perspective on the work of these men during the war, museums are stepping forward with stories of their personal heroes that staffed their museums until leaving for the war.

The Walters Art Museum hosted a talk on Sunday, February 9th, about the life and work of Marvin Chauncey Ross who was their first curator of Medieval Art and Subsequent Decorative Art and a Monuments Man. Ross is credited with finding, among many works, Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece in the Alsatian château of Haute Koeningsbourg.

Ross, sadly, was not there to tell his own story as he passed away in 1975, but Michael Kurtz and Melissa Wertheimer were there to do so in his stead. Kurtz, who is the former Assistant Archivist for Records Services at the National Archives, is the author of America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and discussed the 345 men and women that made up the “Monuments Men.” His talk, titled “Against the Odds: America, the Monuments Men, and Saving European Cultural Heritage,” gave a brief overview of the goals and struggles of the Monuments Men during and after the Second World War.

Wertheimer, a Walters’ archivist assistant, shared her knowledge of Ross’ experiences in the “Monuments Men” that she uncovered while going through the Walters archives that hold 15 cubic feet of papers left behind by Ross. Her talk, titled “Archival Treasures of a Monuments Man,” gave an interesting perspective on the lives of the Monuments Men. Knowing Ross’ occupation during the war, Wertheimer hoped to find his work and correspondence in the archives. After a few false starts and a chance discovery in Ross’ “miscellaneous” documents, she found what she was looking for: letters between Ross and George Stout, as well as other Monuments Men. Additionally, Wertheimer discovered fifteen papers that Ross had written about the issues faced in the war by the Monuments Men, including “War Damage in Chartres” which was published in the College Art Journal.

Wertheimer is intent upon continuing her research into the life and relationships of Marvin Chauncey Ross. One can only hope that she continues to find as many gems as she has so far!

June 20, 2013

Week 3 from Amelia: ARCA Intern Yasmin Hamed on Dr. Noah Charney's Course on Art Crime, Forgeries, Umbrian olive oil, and visiting nearby towns

Spoleto
by Yasmin Hamed, ARCA Intern


After a week of getting to grips with classes and living like Amerini, students in ARCA's Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection hit the ground running this week both in and out of the classroom. Monday’s cold weather was met with a warm welcome from Dr. Noah Charney, founder of ARCA, in ‘Art Crime and its History’.

Following an introduction to art history, we were instructed on how to read the symbols of art and question everything concerning the provenance of an artwork. Day Two of our introduction to the history of art crime was aptly titled ‘Art forgery: The World Wants to be Deceived’. Pouring over centuries of case studies related to all that is fake and forged in the art world, we were introduced to some of the most infamous names in the history of art forgery; John Myatt and John DreweHan Van Meegeren; and Shaun Greenhaulgh. In keeping with the theme of connoisseurship deeply explored in the past two weeks, we examined fakes within the world of wine.

On Wednesday, Dr. Charney asked the student body to reverse its role and contemplate our own art forgery. After going around the room it was clear to see that not only did our class dive at the chance to plan their own art crime, but for some more than others a career as a master thief may work as a possible Plan B! On a more serious note, this discussion revealed the alarming ease of forging and smuggling art and antiquities. Carrying on from last week, the astounding interconnectivity of each and everyone’s own expertise definitely shone a light on the multifaceted nature of the world of art crime. For example, Mark Collins, a current investigator with the Ontario police, was well equipped to create a suspect profile of criminals in the art world.

After a long day of planning illegal activities, the class descended on the local oil mill for an extremely tasty evening. Along with Monica Di Stefano, the class was introduced to the family of Francesco Suatoni, our local amerino oil producer. Having learned all about the history and production process of olive oil and getting a first-hand view of the presses themselves, the class was treated to a tasting of the local Umbrian olives.

The week progressed with a broadening of our definitions of art crime. Examining the theft of books and literature, bibliographer Anna Knutson was once again able to offer her insights to the class on this niche area of criminal activity.

The end of class Thursday held an exam on all aspects of the history of art crime, famous case studies and definition, after which a much needed celebration was in order! The class ascended the hills of Amelia to the apartment of this year’s writer-in-residence Susan Douglas, a lecturer and writer based in Toronto. Some good wine, great food and even better discussions were had, no doubt leaving a few of us more tired than usual for our last day of Dr. Charney’s lectures. Our final afternoon with ARCA’s founder saw us segue from the world of art crime to obtaining some insider knowledge on the world of publishing. Unsurprisingly, a large number of students seemed intent on publishing in some area whether it be through fiction, academic books or journal articles, all of which were covered in detail with numerous insider tips during Dr. Charney’s session.

On Friday night we said an official goodbye to Cristina Tardaguila, a student visiting the programme for just one week. Tardaguila who currently works as a journalist in Brazil, was a welcome addition throughout the week with many insights into the interaction of the media and art crime, most notably with regard to the severity of antiquities smuggling in South America.

The second ARCA weekend trip of the summer beyond the walls of Amelia led us to Assisi and Spoleto, two similar hilltop Umbrian cities with what can only be described as having spectacular panoramic views. Led by our guides Pierluca Neri and Alessandro Manciucca, both Umbrian natives with a true love of the region, we first explored the Church of St. Francis of Assisi among others whilst including a short wander around the cobbled streets of the town’s many craft shops. Spoleto, although similar, had its own unique sights including a trip to an astounding 13th century aqueduct pouring over the valleys surrounding the town.

Yasmin Hamed has a B.A. Double Honours in Ancient History and Archaeology with French. Last year, Ms. Hamed completed her masters in Classical Archaeology at Trinity College in Dublin.

Here's a link to other posts by the ARCA Interns: orientation and the first week of classes with Dr. Tom Flynn. You may find out more about ARCA's education program here on the website.

September 14, 2011

"Fakes, Forgeries and the Art of Deception": A Lecture at the Smithsonian by Colette Loll Marvin

Independent curator and researcher Colette Loll Marvin is lecturing on "Fakes, Forgeries and the Art of Deception" at the Smithsonian on Wednesday, September 21.

Ms. Marvin was a student in the first 2009 class of ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Protection Studies.

Colette Loll Marvin, Paris
You may find out more information about this program at this link, including how to order tickets.

ARCA program attendees or alumni may contact Colette Marvin at marvins4madrid@gmail.com for courtesy tickets.


September 12, 2011

Art Theft Detectives Virginia Curry and Dick Ellis Will Discuss Some of the World's Most Intriguing Cases at Stonehill College on September 20

Art detectives Virginia Curry and Dick Ellis will discuss some of the world's most intriguing cases at Martin Auditorium at Stonehill College on September 20.

Virginia Curry, a retired FBI Special Agent and charter member of the FBI Art Crimes Task Force, has been involved in many high profile art theft investigations throughout her career.

Dick Ellis, an art crime investigator for over 20 years, began the Art and Antiques Squad at New Scotland. He has many notable recoveries such as "The Scream", looted Chinese and Egyptian antiquities, as well as valuable items from private British Collections.

There will be a reception from 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. followed by a presentation from 7:00 p.m. Stonehill College is located near Boston in Easton, Massachusetts.

Mr. Ellis has taught for the past three years at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies. Ms. Curry has written for The Journal of Art Crime and presented at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference in 2009.