Showing posts with label study of art crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label study of art crime. Show all posts

September 1, 2013

ARCA's Art & Cultural Heritage Conference 2013: Felicity Strong (University of Melbourne), Theodosia Latsi (Utrecht University) and Verity Algar (University College, London) presented in Panel 4

(Left to right): Kirsten Hower (moderator), Felicity Strong,
Theodosia Latsi, and Verity Algar
Sunday morning, June 23rd, Kirsten Hower, the academic program assistant for ARCA's summer certificate program, moderated a panel on art-related crimes with presentations by three students and/or recent graduates.

Felicity Strong, PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne, spoke on "The mythology of the art forger":
In the twentieth century, there has been the rise of depiction of the art forger in non-fiction biographies and memoir. Distinct from scholarly research, these depictions of individual art forgers have developed a common mythology, which weaves through each story of the art forger. The art forger is mythologised as a hero; the failed artists rallying against a corrupt art market, dominated by greedy art dealers and scholars. In Australian and British culture, this mythology has its roots in the wider mythology of hero criminal, such as in the stories of Robin Hood or Ned Kelly. It also feeds into a broader anti-intellectualism and mistrust of the establishment, particularly in contrast to the depiction of art curators and connoisseurs in the depictions. This mythology is evident in a number of biographies of notable forgers, such as Han van Meegeren and Elmyr de Hory, which intersect with the sub-genre of memoir, in the personal accounts of Tom Keating, Eric Hebborn and Ken Peryani. These accounts fuel the ability of the forgers to create their own public persona and feed into the wider mythology of the art forger. Analysis of non-fictional depictions of the art forger may offer an insight into why it is not considered as serious as other crimes and worth of closer scrutiny by the broader community.
Ms. Strong is in her second year of research at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has a Master of Art Curatorship and has worked in commercial galleries in Melbourne and London. Her PhD research is focused on discovering the extent to which perceptions of art forgery are influenced by depictions in cultural context, such as in literature, on screen and within an art museum environment.

Theodosia Latsi, MA in Global Criminology, Utrecht University, presented on "The Art of Stealing: the Case of Museum Thefts in the Netherlands". Ms. Latsi has studied Sociology in Panteion University of Athens, Greece and has recently graduated from the master of Criminology at Utrecht University. She is currently conducting research voluntarily for the Trafficking Culture Project and offers periodically assistance at CIROC (Centre for Information and Research on Organised Crime, Netherlands).

Verity Algar, art history student, University College London, presented on "Cultural memory and the restitution of cultural property: Comparing Nazi-looted art and Melanesian malanggan":
Using two disparate case studies -- claims for the restitution of artworks confiscated by the Nazis being lodged by Jewish families and concerns regarding the presence Melanesian malanggan in Western museum collections -- I will discuss the importance of collective, or cultural memory in the context of making decisions about whether to restitute objects. The two cases can be differentiated by the approach to social memory taken by the groups involved. Many Jewish people are keen to have their property returned to them, whereas the people of New Ireland do not want the malanggan, which they spent months carving, returned to them. I discuss the problems that arise when legal definitions of ownership clash with cultural notions of property and illustrate this using Marie Altmann's successful restitution of five Klimt paintings from the Australian government and the malanggan example. I draw on the language of restitution claims and the display of Nazi-looted art at Israel's Yad Vashem museum and will apply Appadurai's theory that objects have "social lives" to overcome the dichotomy between the cultural value and monetary value of an object. I conclude that cultural memory is a useful concept to apply to restitution claims. Its impact can vastly differ from case to case, as illustrated by the divergent attitudes to memory and cultural property in the Jewish and Melanesian case studies. Cultural memory needs to be defined on a cultural-specific basis. The concept of cultural memory allows cultural objects to be part of the collective cultural memory of one group of people, whilst being legally owned by an individual.
Ms. Algar is a second year B.A. History of Art student at University College London, where she minors in Anthropology. She is interested in the legal regulation of the art market and restitution cases, particularly those relating to wartime looting.

July 13, 2009

ARCA Conference in the Study of Art Crime

The ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime
11 July 2009 in Amelia, Italy

Conference Schedule
10:30am Introduction by Noah Charney
11am Award presentation to Vernon Rapley
12-1pm Bernadine Benson and Derek Fincham
1-2:30pm Lunch
2:30-3:30pm Virgina Curry and Arthur Tompkins
3:30pm ArtGuard Award presentation to Francesco Rutelli
3:45-4:15 Francesco Rutelli talk
4:15-5pm Coffee Break
5pm Award presentation to the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage
5:15-5:30 pm Colonnello Luigi Cortellesca talk
5:45pm Vallombroso Award presentation to Professor Norman Palmer
6pm-6:30pm Award presentation to the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage
6:30-7 Colonnello Luigi Cortellesca talk
7pm Closing Comments by Noah Charney

‘Primo Convego Internazionale Patrimonio Artistico: furti e recuperi’ gathered together academics and experienced crime investigators to discuss issues in stolen and recovered art objects and honor their peers on 11th July in Amelia, Umbria.

Noah Charney, Director of ARCA and professor of art history at the American University of Rome, opened the day-long event at the Biblioteca Communale di Amelia, the home of the inagural postgraduate program in Art Crime, bestowing the ARCA Award for Art Policing and Recovery to Vernon Rapley, Director of Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiquities Squad.

Detective Sergeant Rapley graciously accepted the award followed by a presentation on the cases and expansion of the department through ArtBeat, the cooperative program with academics and museum professionals. Not only has the relationship decreased museum thefts and increased recoveries since 2005, but the close relationship has improved access and communication between Scotland Yard and the art market, the first step in improving security for art objects. Rapley’s department is focusing more on forgeries and fakes since thefts declined. Scotland Yard will make its database of stolen art objects available to the public next year.

Bernadine Benson, a University of South Africa lecturer on Police Practice, presented her methodology for identifying the illegal market for antiquities in South Africa, a model that many people in the audience said could be applied to other countries desiring an academic model for training police officials on procedures for handling illicit antiquities trading.

Derek Fincham, a Westerfield Fellow at the University of Loyola, New Orleans, School of Law, presented a provocative perspective: the art market is complicit in criminal activities through secretive practices regarding the provenance and sale of objects. Fincham’s comments supported an earlier statement by Vernon Rapley that auction houses would not release to Scotland Yard the names of the buyers who bought forgeries by Shaun Greenhalgh.

Presenters and attendees lunched at the wine bar of Punto Divino for a four-course meal before returning for the afternoon session.

Virginia Curry, a former FBI agent, fresh from an Etruscan archaeological dig, discussed examples of trusted academic and museum professionals who have misused their roles to exploit access, power, and opportunity to steal entrusted objects or enter into conspiracies. “Those same people smart enough to earn doctorates,” she said, “think they are too smart to get caught.”

Curry found in her experience that public institutions are reluctant to report thefts for fear of losing funding. In addition, she found that laws of evidence can also tie the hands of police.

Judge Arthur Tompkins, a District court judge in New Zealand, proposed a permanent International Art Crime Tribunal based upon the successful models of the International Crime Court and using principles from the World Trade Organization.

After a coffee break at Caffe Grande, returnees to the conference found municipal police, Carabinieri and members of the press – Francesco Rutelli, an Italian Senator and former mayor of Rome and a Minister of Culture, had arrived to accept the ArtGuard Award for Art Security and Protection.

ArtGuard, Bill Anderson explained, develops and markets affordable and simple individual alerts for paintings and art objects for budget strapped public institutions but the gadget has become so successful that it has been picked up by the National Gallery in Washington, DC and the Morgan Library, among other prominent institutions.

Signore Rutelli, with the effortless grace of an experienced Italian politician and the head of his political party, accepted his award and congratulated the audience on gathering to support the recovery of art crime. Rutelli stressed that Italy’s art recovery efforts were focusing less on litigation and more on dialogue and reciprocity, loaning objects from Italy of similar or more important value in exchange for repatriating stolen objects from American museums. Rutelli said that an object without a history, without a known archaeological context, is an object without a soul.

ARCA bestowed the ARCA Lifetime Achievement Award in Defense of Art to the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Colonnello Luigi Cortellesca, the second in command of the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, graciously accepted the award and addressed the audience in full military uniform, describing the organization and highlighting cases. In contrast to Scotland Yard’s policy of treating art crimes as theft and prosecution of criminals first, Colonello Cortellesca said that his units priority is in recovering the art which is irreplaceable since criminals would repeatedly offend and other opportunities would arise to apprehend them.

Afterward, the group enjoyed the majestic view of the Umbrian countrywide, full of olive trees and sunflowers, from the garden of the Palazzo Farratitini with a tour of the ballroom and hotel rooms on the second floor.

A four-course dinner at Amelia’s Locanda Restaurant, with it’s views of the original Roman street, feted the speakers and attendees. The conference was a great success, bringing together politicians, police, and academics from different nations, in the midst of the summer program  focusing on the Study of Art Crime and Cultural Property Protection.

- by Catherine Sezgin