Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

December 24, 2013

Christos Tsirogiannis Interviews Marc Balcells in the Fall 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis interviews Marc Balcells in the Fall 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime:
Dear Reader, 
I would like to introduce you to my colleague at ARCA, the new co-editor the Journal of Art Crime, Marc Balcells. 
Marc started paying attention to art and cultural heritage crimes in 2009, when he moved to New York City, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship. Never, in his wildest dreams, he would have imagined that, as a criminologist, his research interests would have led him there. However, the more Marc reflects about how things unfolded in his career, the more he realizes it were meant to happen. 
First of all, Marc studied Law in his city, Barcelona. In the several Criminal Law courses he took there was no mention to art crimes whatsoever, even though the Spanish Criminal Code punishes this form of crime in several of its articles. By 2001, after four years of law school, and being twenty one, he specialized in Criminal Law, but again, there was no mention of cultural heritage crimes in that Masters program. No art thieves in his list of prosecutions, either.
Christos Tsirogiannis is a Greek forensic archaeologist. He studied archaeology and history of art in the University of Athens, then worked for the Greek Ministry of Culture from 1994 to 2008, excavating throughout Greece and recording antiquities in private hands. He voluntarily cooperated with the Greek police Art Squad on a daily basis (August 2004 - December 2008) and was a member of the Greek Task Force Team that repatriated looted, smuggled and stolen antiquities from the Getty Museum, the Shelby White/Leon Levy collection, the Jean-David Cahn AG galleries, and others. Since 2007, Tsirogiannis has been identifying antiquities in museums, galleries, auction houses, private collections and museums, depicted in the confiscated Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives, notifying public prosecutor Dr. Paolo Giorgio Ferri and the Greek authorities. He received his Ph.D. last October at the University of Cambridge, on the international illicit antiquities network viewed through the Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides archive.

You may finish reading this interview in the Fall 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. Design for this issue and all issues of The Journal of Art Crime is the work of Urška Charney. Here's a link to ARCA's website on The Journal of Art Crime (includes Table of Contents for previous issues).

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.

December 3, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Noah Charney's Q&A with Joshua Knelman

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, editor-in-chief Noah Charney interviews Joshua Knelman, a journalist living in Canada who's first book, Hot Art, is about investigating stolen art.  In it he profiles Don Hrycyk and follows the story of several heists and their subsequent investigations.  Along the way he speaks with a number of ARCA staff and colleagues.

"We chatted with Joshua about his research and how he came to write this book," Noah introduces.

Here's the first question Noah Charney asks Joshua Knelman:

Which art theft do you discuss in your book and how did you choose those cases in particular? With over 50,000 reported art thefts per year worldwide, and with the Carabinieri databased packed with over 3 million stolen artworks, it must have been tough to choose where to focus.
I chose to focus on cases related to me by a wide range of sources, and followed the threads, hoping to identify criminal patterns.  I was less interested in following one art theft case than in figuring out how art theft as a phenomenon works.  So it wasn't a matter of one particular case.  The book showcases a wide variety of art thefts ranging from blockbuster art heists, to art gallery smash and grabs, to the almost invisible plague of thefts from private residences.  It was this last category which seemed to be less covered, but persuasive.  When I began the book, I have to admit, I was hoping for a Thomas Crown Affair story I could follow, bu the reality turned out to be far more complex, and, to my mind, more interesting.
You may read the rest of this interview by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.