Showing posts with label ARCA 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ARCA 2014. Show all posts

June 26, 2014

Report from ARCA Amelia '14: Inside the lecture hall with criminologist Marc Balcells amongst medieval festivities in Amelia

The end of Marc's class.  Photo by S. Kelley-Bell
By Summer Tappmeyer, ARCA '13 graduate and ‘14 intern

Three weeks of being in Italy has flown by so quickly! We have had such a spectacular time so far, and it’s not even halfway through the program. The third week started off with Marc Balcells’ course: “Breitwiesers, Medicis, Beltracchis, Gurlitts and Other Shady Artsy Characters: A Course on How to Analyze Their Crimes Empirically.” Marc had a few adventures in travel in order to make it to Amelia: coming from New York where he has been teaching at John Jay College of Law, with a brief stopover in Spain to visit family, and then finally settling into the city for the beginning of his course. Despite Marc’s long journey to Amelia, he started off his class with a bang. An ARCA 2011 alumnus, Marc has unique insights into student life. It was a pleasant surprise to have someone who has previously walked in our shoes only a few years ago. 

This criminology course focused on the theoretical framework of the subject, as well as gave insight into the different foundations of the Classical, Positivist, and Critical school of thinking. Marc proved to be a fascinating professor, as he engaged the class in discussions and told us stories using his animated personality to bring those stories to life. One of the greatest aspects of this course is that you do not have to have a criminology background. Marc was adamant about us being able to understand the “nuts and bolts” of the essentials of criminology and was able to simplify information in a way that allowed the students to understand the concepts and theories. Overall, Marc was able to command and capture the attention of his audience, making us all feel incredibly comfortable to engage in scholarly debates throughout the duration of his course.

The Champion of Volterra.
Photo by L. Albertson
The city of Amelia was able to cool off this week, due to the plush amount of rain it received during the third week of our stay. We appreciated the break from the heat, but that did not leave much time for extracurricular activities and a few of our weekly adventures had to be postponed. Most students enjoyed the pitter-patter of rain as they slept at night though, and by the weekend the rain was gone and scheduled activities continued. As soon as Marc’s class ended on Friday, the ARCA 2014 class went across the street to “Park Bar” and savored a refreshing afternoon spritzer. Since this was the professor’s last evening in Amelia, we all gathered around a few tables to learn more about Marc and his experience as a student with ARCA three years ago. Saturday and Sunday consisted of rest and relaxation. A few students went on a shopping spree in Rome, others enjoyed a rare chance to see none other than the Rolling Stones play in Rome at Circo Massimo.

Amelia hosted a medieval crossbow competition Saturday and Sunday for everyone to enjoy. The Balestra Antica da Banco is the national championship and offered everything from costumes to the special seated crossbows. Amelia also celebrated a religious holiday known as Corpus Domini. This celebration included a procession through the town on a bed of flowers.

We are looking forward to welcoming Noah Charney and his new course, "Art Forgers and Thieves", this week.

This weekend the ARCA 2014 Conference will bring together students and professionals in two days of panels on art crimes ranging from Nazi-looted art to stolen antiquities in Cyprus and Cambodia.

June 19, 2014

Report from ARCA Amelia '14: Second week of courses by Flynn and Ellis bookended with visit to Orvieto

The end of Dr. Flynn's class.  Photo by Summer Kelley-Bell
By Camille Knop, ARCA '14 Intern

Professor Tom Flynn’s course, ‘The International Art Market and Associated Risk’, resumed last Monday with discussions on the tensions between the aesthetic and economic values of works of art. The class concluded two days later with the screening of Furcht, a 1917 German Expressionist film written and directed by Robert Wiene that explores the colonialist roots of collections and the magical haptic quality of works of art that moves one to possess them (even at the risk of one’s safety, in this case). In order to fulfill the course requirements, students composed a 1,500-word response to Gregory Day’s article, “Explaining the Art Market Thefts, Frauds, and Forgeries (And Why the Art Market Does Not Seem to Care).” This exercise allowed students to synthesize and expand on the consequences of the logic of art when put at odds (or not) with the logic of capital.

The End of Dick Ellis' class. Photo by Summer Kelley-Bell

Professor Dick Ellis’ course (“Art Policing, Protection, and Investigating”) the second half of the week included student presentations on art-related crime, focusing on issues regarding due diligence, motivations, and legal and jurisdictional frameworks. Cases ranged from paintings stolen from private property, to an Egyptian pectoral stolen from a university library, to manuscripts smuggled out of Mali, to underwater archaeological looting. The weekend began with many students joining Professor Ellis at two local spots in Amelia: Bar Leonardi and Bar Vertigo.

Despite the forecast of heavy rain, students enjoyed various weekend activities without the stress of any coursework. On Saturday morning, a small group of eight went on an optional trip to Orvieto, which rests on a small plateau of volcanic tuff. After arriving at the foot of the city by bus at around 9:00 a.m., they enjoyed a ride up the funicular that took them right to the edge of the city walls. While some students visited a Roman double-helix well, others wandered around the city, which was preparing for an annual festival that afternoon. Eventually, everyone reunited in the Duomo di Orvieto, whose impressive exterior decoration drew them in like flies to bright lights. Luckily, the group left minutes before a large thunderstorm, which had been seen making its way through the valley towards the city.

Duomo di Orvieto. Photo by Summer Kelley-Bell
By the end of the second week of the ARCA program, the initial nervous excitement of orientation and move-in had worn off, and students began to feel more comfortable as they established their daily routines. In my case, the owners of Caffe Grande, concerned with my poor Italian, have been helping me expand my vocabulary from simply “Grazie!” and “Ciao!” by teaching me alternative greetings through some very animated gestures and universal sign language. Although I was not yet prepared to help a lady who had asked me for directions that week, I was still ecstatic over the fact that I had even been asked! By the end of the second week of classes, ARCA students, including myself, have begun to feel (and apparently appear) less like newcomers and more like Amerini.

You may read about the first week of the program here.

June 12, 2014

Report from ARCA Amelia '14: Inside the lecture hall, Dick Ellis on art investigations and Tom Flynn on the art market; outside: students explore Narni and Amelia

by Paula Carretero, ARCA '14 Intern

Friday, June 30th marked the official start of the 2014 Graduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, with the arrival of the students to Italy. Students managed to arrive and find their way from Rome to Amelia after navigating the occasionally chaotic Italian transport infrastructure. The bus strike going on that day for sure made it interesting for the students, but everyone arrived safely to the welcome cocktail at La Locanda del Conte Nitto , one of the restaurants in town that, friendly as always, took in all the ARCA students as a welcome to the start of the summer. Over the weekend, students started exploring the city and guided tours were organized during which some of the city’s most wonderful corners were discovered. Among them, students walked into the centro storico of the town, wandering through the medieval streets and exploring some wonderful places: such as the Duomo, the Roman cisterns, and the Teatro Sociale
"Interns in the Cisterns" by Camille Knop

Week one of classes started with Dr. Tom Flynn, a RICS-Accredited Art Market and Art Appraisal lecturer at Kingston University in London.  His course in this year's program was “The International Art Market and Associated Risk.” Though the first half of the week, students explored the history and evolution of the art market; how early collections were gathered in the Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Kunstkabinett, Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms); the mechanisms of auctions houses, dealers and collectors; and issues on the value of art. The vast experience of Dr. Flynn, and the relaxed atmosphere in class, helped in creating interesting debates that were enriched by the multiple backgrounds of students from all over the world.

Dick Ellis took over the second half of the week with the course on “Art Policing, Protection and Investigating.” The founder of Scotland Yard’s Art & Antiquities squad introduced the students to the world of art theft, covert operations, money laundering using art, and the mechanism of organized crime as well as thieves motivations to steal art. By the end of the week, students were blown away by the vast experience of Professor Ellis and his generosity in sharing his wisdom with the class.

View from the top of Narni (Photo by 
ARCA Intern Camille Knop)
After this first week full of activities, and with the students’ heads full of plenty of new and valuable knowledge, a well-deserved weekend break arrived. Some of the students, using their remaining energy, took part in a trip to Narni on Saturday, a nearby town. The students enjoyed discovering and walking around the medieval-like streets of the town and went to visit some of the most important monuments like Rocca Albornoz, a 14th century fortress that became the home of popes and cardinals. In Subterranean Narni, the guided tour included the old convent of San Domenico, ancient Roman water tanks, prison cells used during the Inquisition, and 12th century frescoes in a medieval church (here's a link to an article on archaeologist Robert Nini who discovered the former Benedictine abbey in 1979 through an entrance from an old man's garden).

The ones who stayed in Amelia did not miss the chance to explore in their own way. Some of them went to the movie club organized at Chiostro Boccarini each weekend and started getting to know and interact with the Amerini, the citizens of Amelia, to confirm that they are as friendly as their reputation says. Finally, and to help fight the hot temperatures that are starting to arrive, some of the students spent some time hanging out around the pool house and recovering energy for the upcoming weeks. Summer has just arrived and courses are just beginning, but many other adventures are yet to come.