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

February 19, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - , No comments

ART meets SECURITY conference 19 March 2015 in Bruges, Belgium






Visit the ART meets SECURITY website
Schedule
  • 08:30 Registration and breakfast
  • 09:15 Opening the conference - Francis Van der Staey, Optimit
  • 09:30 Drawing the canvas - Hubert De Witte, Musea Brugge
  • 10:00 Could the biggest art crimes have been prevented? - Inge Vandijck, Optimit
  • 10:30 Art crime in war and armed conflict - Lynda Albertson, ARCA
  • 11:00 Morning break
  • 11:30 The art of museum security: what everyone needs to understand to do art security right - Jens Bechmann, Pinkerton
  • 12:00 Art crime, policing and investigation - TBA
  • 12:30 Government indemnity vs. private insurance: the BOZAR case - TBA
  • 13:00 Lunch
  • 14:00 Predictive profiling of the art's adversary - Leen van der Plas, ArtSecure & Dick Drent, OMNIRISK
  • 14:30 It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see: the art in video analytics - TBA
  • 15:00 Trends and technologies in security: the voice of the customer - Megan Miller, Siemens
  • 15:30 Afternoon break
  • 16:00 Your chances to interrupt the adversary: a delicate balance in deterrence, delay, detection and response - Paul van Lerberghe, Optimit
  • 16:30 Climate change: a global threat to art and cultural heritage - Guy De Witte, De Zilveren Passer

Plus, explore and enjoy Bruges with your complementary 3-days Museum Pass.

Security Demand Ticket
Register for FREE!
Government agencies, Cultural & Academic institutions

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Commercial organizations, Suppliers & Vendors







February 3, 2015

Ghosts of the Past: Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies

An International Conference co-organized by Columbia University's Department of Art History and Archaeology & Deutsches Haus ​in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York and the Jewish Museum, New York.


Schedule:
February 19, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street   
Keynote Lecture by Prof. Olaf Peters

February 20, 9:00 - 1:00 PM
Columbia University, 501 Schermerhorn Hall

February 21, 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Columbia University, Deutsches Haus, 420 West 116th Street

For details please see the event website here. 

June 4, 2014

Follow Art Recovery International's NYU Art Crime Conference June 4-6 via "live tweeting" (@artrecovery)

Jerome Hasler will begin "live tweeting" Wednesday morning from the Art Crime Conference designed by New York University and Art Recovery International (Christopher Marinello's new venture). The three-day conference will cover the subjects of fakes, forgeries, and looted and stolen art. You can follow the @artrecovery Twitter account for updates. The first day of the conference, organized under the title of "Art Theft", will include opening remarks by Alice Farren-Bradley, Moderator, Museum Security Network; Associate Director of Recoveries, Art Recovery International Ltd.; Jane C.H. Jacob, President, Jacob Fine Art, Inc.; and Christopher A. Marinello, Attorney and Founding Director, Art Recovery Group. Anthony Amore, Director of Security, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; coauthor, Stealing Rembrandts, will deliver the Keynote Lecture: "Art Theft in America". Milton Esterow, former Editor and Publisher, of ARTnews will speak on "Investigating the Market and Informing the Public"; Joe Medeiros, Director and Writer, will discuss "Mona Lisa Is Missing: The Truth about the Man Who Stole the Masterpiece". You may read the rest of the program here.

July 17, 2013

SMU Announces Dick Ellis and Virginia Curry in "The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime" at Southern Methodist University from October 14-18, 2013

Richard Ellis
Art crime investigators Richard "Dick" Ellis and Virginia Curry will present another seminar in "The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime" at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University from October 14 - 18, 2013.
The seminar will be presented by two internationally noted art crime investigators. Richard “Dick” Ellis is a former detective with New Scotland Yard, where he founded and led the Art & Antiques Squad for more than a decade. Virginia Curry is a former FBI undercover agent and Art Crime Team member whose high-profile cases have been chronicled in such books as Chasing Aphrodite and The Medici Conspiracy (see full bios at end of release). 
Topics to be covered include the following: 
• Museums: A lecture on museum operations will be followed by a trip to a regional art museum, where participants will visit with professionals regarding exhibit curation, conservation, security and provenance issues. 
Virginia Curry
• Auction houses: A talk about the auction business is followed by a visit to an auction house, discussion with staff, preview of an upcoming auction and participation in a mock bidding experience. 
• Art galleries: A lecture on galleries’ roles in identifying tastes, finding clients and working with them to build collections is followed by visits to local galleries and meetings with owners and artists’ representatives to discuss current collecting trends in contemporary and traditional art. 
• Art crime and looted cultural heritage: From Egyptian antiquities to Native American art to Nazi thefts during World War II, issues of rightful ownership, provenance and repatriation of art works continue to challenge art organizations and governments worldwide. Current cases will be discussed by international experts.
Last summer, Mr. Ellis and Ms. Curry presented their symposium at Stonehill College.

Mr. Ellis is also a lecturer at ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection. Ms. Curry presented at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference in 2009.

Here a link to this event on the SMU website for additional information about registering for the seminar.

July 15, 2012

Press Release for the 2012 ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

by Noah Charney, Founder of ARCA

The fourth annual ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection was held June 23-24 in Amelia, Umbria, the seat of ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, a program held in Italy every summer that is the first academic program in the interdisciplinary study of art crime. Among the many important speakers were winners of the annual awards presented by ARCA, including George Abungu, the leading spokesperson for the protection of cultural heritage in Africa; Joris Kila, a co-winner with Karl von Habsburg, who is a specialist in the protection of art and monuments during military operations; and Jason Felch, co-winner with Ralph Frammolino, for his investigative work in the , about the Getty art scandals.

HRH Ravivaddhana Sisowath, Prince of Cambodia
A surprise addition to the roster of speakers at the conference was His Royal Highness, Ravivaddhana Sisowath, Prince of Cambodia. His Highness spoke about the recent seizure from Sotheby’s of the Koh Kher statue by US authorities.

Fabio Isman
Isman, Italy’s leading investigative journalist on the black market in antiquities, and winner of a 2011 ARCA award, spoke of the continued problem of looted Italian antiquities, and the extent of the problem as a whole, which is far greater than most realize. An estimated 7% of all works looted from Italy since the Napoleonic era have been returned—the rest remains abroad. That said, Italy has had more art repatriated than any other country, in any period in history, aside from the immediate repatriation of post-World War Two Nazi-looted art. A Princeton University study estimates that, since 1970 alone, approximately 1.5 million items were looted from Italy. Isman’s research found around 25,000 items that had been identified and returned. What is still out there is staggering. Isman discussed cases within the last six months that show the continued willingness for museums to trade in illicit antiquities.

Laurie Rush
The Writer in Residence on the ARCA Program for 2012, Dr Rush is an archaeologist with the US Army who is charged with training US soldiers and officers about the importance of respecting and protecting local cultural heritage and traditions in combat zones. Conflict offers opportunity for theft, but also and far more frequent the inadvertent damage of cultural property. Rush noted the Italian antiques market magazine Antiquariato, in 2011, wrote that this was the best time to collect Egyptian antiquities, referring to the social turmoil in Egypt, which would surely turn up more antiques smuggled out of the country. Dr Rush is preparing the US Field Commander’s Guide to Cultural Heritage Protection, and is an advocate of paying local families in conflict zones like Afghanistan, who have lost their livelihood, to protect and supervise local cultural heritage sites—they are empowered, paid a small amount that is large to them, and are best situated to respectfully function as long-term protector of a site.

Bill Wei
Dr Wei, of the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage, is an engineer and conservator who spoke of a new system for “fingerprinting” artworks that he has helped to develop. The system is called Fing-Art-Print, and is a non-contact method for the three-dimensional identification of unique art objects.
 
Joris Kila
Dr Kila, who accepted the award on behalf of both winners, discussed his adventures investigating accusations of looting in Libya, and found no such evidence, aside from the now-renowned Ben Ghazzi coin heist, in which thieves elaborately drilled through a thick cement bank vault floor during bombings. Dr Kila also emphasized the tremendous success of precision bombing during the Libya conflict: Ghaddafi had situated key military targets on or next to archaeological sites, to dissuade bombings. And yet the precision bombing was so successful that no archaeological items were damaged, and yet the targets were destroyed, even when they were situated beside the archaeological site. Dr Kila showed photographs of destroyed military transports and radar machinery that stood within meters of a Roman ruin, and yet the ruin was entirely unharmed.

Jason Felch
Felch accepted the award on behalf of both parties. He discussed his immersion in the world of illicit antiquities and major museums, and how he slowly uncovered a vast cache of tens of thousands of documents and images of looted art, many of the documents explicitly proving that insiders at the Getty had knowingly purchased looted antiquities over many years, and were making secret plans to cover up their actions. While the Getty has returned 60 objects looted from Italy, a secret Getty memo uncovered by Felch and Frammolino noted around 350 total looted objects that Getty officials were concerned could be targeted by Italy because they were looted. Felch also described his WikiLoot project, a new endeavor in its infant stages which Felch envisions as a crowd-sourcing online platform to publish documents and photographs related to the illicit trade in antiquities. He intends to publically publish these tens of thousands of documents and photos in the future. The ARCA Conference, and Jason’s activities, were covered recently in The Guardian.

George Abungu
The final award of the day was for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art, and when to George H. O. Abungu. Dr. Abungu, a native of Kenya, has served on multiple chairs and committees related to protection world and African cultural heritage. He was Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya, and is now Vice-President of ICOM, serves on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, among his many distinguished titles and activities. Dr Abungu discussed the protection and preservation of rock art throughout Africa. Rock carvings and paintings dating to thousands of years BC are found throughout Africa, from South Africa to Morocco—and yet they are largely at exposed, though remote, sites and are therefore at risk of the elements, looting, and occasional vandalism.

Paolo Giorgio Ferri
The renowned Italian prosecutor, winner of an ARCA award in 2011, returned to give a keynote speech, discussing his discovery of a forged Euphronios kylix that had been mixed in with authentic looted antiquities and passed off by tomb raiders as original, demonstrating the alarming link between forgeries and the illicit antiquities trade. While artist foundations preserve the legacy of modern painters, there are no organizations charged with preserving the legacy of the ancients. Dr Ferri discussed the importance of enforcing the well-meaning, but not always effective customs laws put in place by UNESCO and the Palermo Convention. He also was asked why the infamous art dealer Robin Symes has not been indicted by Italy. He responded that there were many factors, including the non-cooperation of the UK, the end of the statute of limitations for the main case Italy had built against Symes (the crime took place in 1982 but the evidence was only complete in 2004), and the face that Symes had cooperated with Italian authorities in the recovery of some looted antiquities taken by other dealers, including an ivory mask that was recovered thanks to Symes, and for information about the Fleischman collection laundering operation.

July 7, 2011

Leila Amineddoleh, Courtney McWhorter, Michelle D'Ippolito and Sarah Zimmer will form the panel “Fresh Perspectives on Art and Heritage Crime” at ARCA's Third Annual International Art Crime Conference in Amelia on July 10

"Fresh Perspectives on Art and Heritage Crime", a panel leading the schedule on the second day of ARCA's International Art Crime Conference, will feature Leila Aminddoleh, Courtney McWhorter, Michelle D'Ippolito, and Sarah Zimmer.

Leila Amineddoleh, an alumnus of ARCA’s postgraduate program and Boston College Law School, will present: “The Pillaging of the Abandoned Spanish Countryside”:
"Spain is rich in art treasures: artwork ranging from religious works, modern paintings, ancient architecture, Roman ruins, and Visigoth remnants are densely scattered across Spain’s cities and countryside. Whereas some of the art is world-renowned and protected, much of the art is still hidden in churches and in depopulated towns and is left vulnerable to damage and theft. Spain’s cache of hidden works has great cultural value to the Spanish cultural identity; however, these works are often misappropriated because their existence is virtually unknown or unprotected. This paper sets forth recommendations for Spain to follow to protect is patrimony, most importantly the necessity of creating an extensive catalogue, encompassing both State and Church property."
Leila Amineddoleh has twice published articles in the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter of the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee of the ABA Section of International Law, including “The Getty Museum’s Non-Victorious Bid to Keep the ‘Victorious Youth’ Bronze” (Winter 2011, Vol. III). She is currently Intellectual Property Legal Consultant at Independent Legal Counsel and Of Counsel at Lysaght, Lysaght & Ertel in New York.

Courtney McWhorter is currently completing her final year as an Honors student at Brigham Young University, for a Bachelors in Art History. She has worked as a teaching assistant and is an art student to John McNaughton. She has done extensive travel while studying abroad, visiting places such as Greece, Italy, Austria, and Belgium, as well as completing graduate courses while studying in Mexico. She is also a committee member of the Art History Association. Ms. McWhorter will present “Perception of Forgery According to the Role of Art”:
"How we view forgery is dependent upon how we view art as a society. In this paper I will argue that forgeries have been received differently according to the role art is playing at the time they are discovered. I will show how the role of art began changing during World War II, due to the looting of Nazi leaders, and how this affected forgery, using the case of the Van Meegeren forgeries as an example. I will show how art is valued today according to its historicity, rather than its aesthetic capabilities. Such a claim explains why forgeries could have once been acceptable, but now are not because they falsify history. They are placed into historical contexts where they do not fit and thereby misconstrue the public view of history. This paper is important because it shows that by understanding the perception of forgeries at certain periods, we can better understand the role of art and the values placed upon it in society."
Michelle D’Ippolito is completing her final year at the Univeristy of Maryland College Park, majoring in Anthropology with minors in Art History and French. She has interned for the Smithsonian Institution and the Department of the Interior, where she wrote an online course in basic museum collections care. Michelle has an article, “The Role of Museums in the Illegal Antiquities Market,” under review for publication. Ms. D’Ippolito will present “Discrepancies in Data: The Role of Museums in Recovering Stolen Works of Art”:
"The ability of investigative agencies like Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to effectively recover stolen works of art depends in part on how comprehensive and complete their databases of stolen works are. The scope of these databases and their effectiveness in recovering artwork depends on how many reports of theft are submitted by museums to the investigative agencies. This paper looks at the various influences that inform a museum’s response to theft, including sending in reports of theft. It examines how a concern with public image and a lack of funding affect the resources museums have at their disposal to handle museum theft and provides some strategies to improve the deterrence of museum theft worldwide."
Sarah Zimmer is a part-time faculty member in the Photography department of the Art Institute of Michigan. She has studied in both the United States and Italy.  She graduated from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2010 with a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. Ms. Zimmer's works of art have appeared in many different exhibitions, including two solo exhibitions: “Presenting” at Four White Walls in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2005, and “Presence” at the Galleria La Corte in Florence, Italy, in 2007. Ms. Zimmer will present “The Investigation of Object TH 1988.18: Rembrandt’s 100 Guilder Print”.
In 2008, while working at an archive of an unnamed institution it was discovered that an etching by Rembrandt van Rijn was missing from the collection. According to a letter on file it was approved to be sent out for restoration in 1998. However, no record was ever found to confirm that it was sent out for treatment. It was last accounted for in a 1990 inventory. Months were dedicated to digging through files and paperwork. After attempting to track the object starting with its provenance, port of entry, and adoption into the collection, the paper work dropped off and a more rigorous search began. Emails were sent and searches commenced, until one afternoon in 2009 I received a letter from the head of the institution asking me to halt the investigation with no explanation offered. While the particular piece’s rarity and monetary value hold no comparison to the Rembrandt cut from its frame during the 1990 Gardener Museum heist, the unnamed institution continues to guard the knowledge of the prints disappearance. This object and the circumstances that ensued led me to further investigate and explore a larger system of values using Rembrandt as a model. I began by questioning the institutional value of maintaining the secret of a missing artwork that was not of any particular rarity or monetary significance.

July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 - , No comments

Maria Elena Versari, Annika Kuhn, Elena Franchi and Charlotte Woodhead will be on the panel "Historical Perspectives on Looting and Recovery" at ARCA's Third Annual Art Crime Conference in Amelia on July 9th

"Historical Perspectives on Looting and Recovery", the third panel at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference in Amelia, will feature Maria Elena Versari, Annika Kuhn, Elena Franchi and Charlotte Woodhead.

Maria Elena Versari, the Assistant Professor of Modern European Art and Architecture at the University of North Florida, will discuss "Iconoclasm by (Legal) Proxy: Restoration, Legislation and the Ideological Decay of Fascist Ruins":
"This paper addresses the ways in which the architectural and artistic production created under Fascism has been perceived, legally defined and handled by subsequent governments and authorities and how the status of iconoclastic actions against these works has changed over time. It focuses specifically on the way in which Fascist architecture offers a significant example of how the fate of politically tainted works challenges the conceptual boundaries that define the distance between legal and illegal, approved and criminal actions in the art world."
After graduating with her PhD from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Dr. Versari has taught in both Italy and the United States and published many scholarly works, including Constantin Brancusi (Florence: Scala Group/Rome: L’Espresso, 2005) and Wassily Kandinsky e l’astrattismo (Florence: Scala Group, 2007). In addition to teaching, she is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the online journal Art in Translation.

Annika Kuhn, is a Fellow of the Mercator Kolleg on International Affairs (German Academic Foundation/Federal Foreign Office), conducting research on the illicit trafficking and repatriation of antiquities.  Dr. Kuhn holds a DPhil in Ancient History from the University of Oxford. She will present “The Looting of Cultural Property: A View from Classical Antiquity”:
"The destruction and pillage of cultural property in times of war and peace reach far back in history, to the Greek and Roman periods – be it the excessive looting of Greek temples during the Persian Wars or Nero’s large-scale thefts of statues. This paper will examine ancient approaches to and discourses on the plundering of works of art and investigate early concepts of the protection of cultural objects as media of a collective memory and identity. By discussing selected historical examples, I will particularly focus on the different forms of ancient responses to the loss of significant religious and cultural artifacts, which range from the diplomatic negotiation of returns, the repatriation of looted property as symbolic political acts, the restoration of the religious and cultural order by the use of replicas as well as early antecedents of the ‘codification’ of norms to respect the inviolability of religious and cultural sites and prohibit the illicit appropriation of art. The parallels and differences which the ancient paradigms reveal with regard to modern concerns about cultural heritage will shed some new light on the complex nexus of political, religious, cultural and moral issues involved in debates over the protection of cultural property."
Elena Franchi is the author of two books on the protection of Italian cultural heritage during the Second World War: I viaggi dell’assunta: La protezione del patrimonio artistico veneziano durante i conflitti mondiali (Pisa, Edizioni PLUS, 2010), and Arte in assetto di guerra: Protezione e distruzione del patrimonio artistico a Pisa durante la seconda guerra mondiale (Pisa, ETS, 2006). She has been involved in a project on the study of “Kunstschutz”, a German military unit created for the protection of cultural heritage during the war. In 2009 she was nominated for an Emmy Award - “Research” for the American documentary The Rape of Europa, 2006, filmmakers Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen e Nicole Newnham, on the spoils of works of art in Europe during the Second World War.  Ms. Franchi will present “Under the Protection of the Holy See: The Florentine Works of Art and Their Moving to Alto Adige in 1944”.

Charlotte Woodhead, an Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick will present “Assessing the Moral Strength of Holocaust Art Restitution Claims”:
"This paper will analyze recent recommendations of the United Kingdom’s Spoliation Advisory Panel, which hears claims relating to World War II spoliation of cultural objects, and in particular the different aspects of the moral considerations. It will focus on the two primary considerations of the Panel: the circumstances in which the pre-war owner lost possession of the object (the immorality of deprivation) and any moral obligation of the institution in terms of the circumstances in which they acquired the object (the immorality of acquisition). However, other matters appear to influence the moral strength of the claimants’ claims or the remedy, which they receive. In cases where the claimants or their forbears received post-war compensation the Panel also analyses any potential unjust enrichment of claimants were the object to be returned or monetary recompense awarded. The public interest in the cultural object is also a consideration when determining whether or not to return the object rather than to make a financial award. This paper will analyze how far the Panel’s decisions differ from those which would be based on purely legal considerations (assuming the absence of statutes of limitation) and will make some comparisons with similar panels set up abroad to deal with the restitution of spoliated cultural objects."

Charlotte Woodhead's research focuses on cultural heritage law and in particular the recognition and enforcement of property rights in respect of objects of cultural heritage. She has written articles on the restitution and repatriation of objects from museum collections including the work of the Spoliation Advisory Panel and the repatriation of human remains. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in cultural heritage at the University of Leicester.

July 3, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011 - , No comments

ARCA's International Art Crime Conference to be Held July 9 and 10th - Award Winners Congratulated

by Kirsten Hower, ARCA Intern and Blog Contributor

ARCA's International Art Crime Conference will be held next weekend, July 9th and 10th, in Amelia, Italy.

ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is a non-profit organization which researches contemporary issues in art crime and cultural heritage protection. ARCA’s mission is to serve as an accessible resource of knowledge and expertise necessary to increase the security and integrity of all art and cultural works. As an interdisciplinary research group/think-tank, ARCA aims to bridge the gap between the practical and theoretical elements of this global issue. ARCA utilizes its vast network of partners and colleagues including foreign and domestic law enforcement officials, security consultants, academics, lawyers, archaeologists, insurance specialists, criminologists, art historians, conservationists, as well as a number of others within the arts and antiquities communities to raise awareness of art crime and cultural heritage protection.

ARCA’s annual art crime conference is held at the seat of our MA Certificate Program, in Amelia, Italy, each summer. The focus of our annual conference is the academic and professional study of art crime, and how it can help contemporary law enforcement and art protection. ARCA seeks to encourage scholars and students worldwide to turn their attentions to the understudied field of art crime and cultural heritage protection.

ARCA congratulates its 2011 award winners:

ARCA Award for Art Policing & Recovery
Paolo Ferri
Dr. Ferri has served as Italian State Prosecutor and has been a prominent figure in the return of many looted antiquities from North American public and private collections. He now serves as an expert in international relations and recovery of works of art for the Italian Culture Ministry.

Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship
Neil Brodie
Dr. Brodie is an archaeologist who has written extensively on the looting of antiquities and their eventual sale. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork and was the former director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. His terrific writing on the illicit trade in antiquities stands as a thoughtful and passionate cry for the preservation of a vanishing and finite resource.

2009 Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship
Norman Palmer
ARCA is very pleased to have the opportunity to recognize in person the work of a past award winner, Norman Palmer. He chaired the Ministerial Advisory Board on the Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects (ITAP) from 2001 to 2005 whose work has lead the British parliament to enact the Dealing in Cultural Objects Act in 2003. He has been the chair of the Treasure Valuation Committee since 2001 which advises the Minister of the Arts on discovered portable discoveries. He has published widely on the law relating to cultural objects, personal property and commercial transactions. He is a member of the UK Spoliaton Advisory Panel.

ARCA is pleased to present the following awards to Lord Renfrew and Prof. Merryman who are unable to attend the conference this year.

ARCA Award for Art Security & Protection
Lord Colin Renfrew
Lord Renfrew has been a tireless voice in the struggle for the prevention of looting of archaeological sites, and one of the most influential archaeologists in recent decades. At Cambridge he was formerly Disney Professor of Archaeology and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art
John Henry Merryman
A renowned expert on art and cultural property law, Professor Merryman has written beautifully about art and heritage for many years. He currently serves as an Emeritus Professor at Stanford Law School. He adds this award to his impressive list of awards, including the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and honorary doctorates from Aix-en Provence, Rome (Tor Vergata), and Trieste. His textbook Law, Ethics, and the Visual Arts, first published in 1979 with Albert Elsen, stands as the leading art law text. His writings have shaped the way we think about art and cultural disputes, and have added clarity and rigor to a field he helped pioneer.

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