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October 31st, 2010

Posted In: library theft

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October 29th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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October 28th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Een nieuwe innovatie die veel kostbare uren saai telwerk uit handen neemt en bankbiljetten beveiligt vanaf de kassa tot in de bank. Het klinkt te mooi om waar te zijn, maar dit is inmiddels ook in Nederland mogelijk.

Die besparing is te realiseren door het verankeren van de intelligente afroomkluis CCi (afbeeldingen: Counter Cache intelligent) bij de kassa. Dit intelligente kluisje is voorzien van een ECB gecertificeerde bankbiljettenlezer, die niet alleen de biljetten op echtheid controleert, maar bij acceptatie telt en direct in een zogenaamde ‘TruPouch’ verpakking opslaat, onderin het zeer compacte kluisje van slechts 26 centimeter hoog. Deze flexibele ‘TruPouch’ wegwerpverpakking is aan het einde van de dag, of na meerdere dagen, door bevoegde personen uitsluitend afgesloten en verzegeld uit het kluisje te verwijderen. Deze verpakking kan direct in een sealbag naar de bank, in de kluis of mee met de geldtransporteur. Het geld (maximaal ca 450 bankbiljetten) is uitsluitend te verwijderen door de verpakking te beschadigen.
Het intelligente kluisje heeft een eigen IP adres en kan middels een draadloze PDA of via een kabeltje naar een PC of notebook worden benaderd voor informatie over alle stortingen, zoals overzichten met specificatie van een shift, een dag, meerdere dagen naar keuze of de actuele bankstorting. Ook via internet vanaf een andere locatie.
De bankstorting kan automatisch – zonder fouten – vanuit de software worden geproduceerd. Niemand ziet nog geld – veel minder verleidingen dus – behalve het wisselgeld in de kassalade. Niemand komt na afroming bij de kassa nog met de vingers aan het geld.

Op het eerste gezicht lijkt dit systeem uitsluitend geschikt voor grote volumes. Bij nader inzien kan het juist ook bij lage volumes sterk veiligheids- en efficiencyverhogend werken. Het afroomkluisje is ook verkrijgbaar in een nachtbehuizing, waardoor de bankbiljetten er niet dagelijks hoeven worden uitgehaald. Op ieder moment van de dag beschikt u over alle data voor de kasopmaak en pas als het u of de geldtransporteur uitkomt verwijdert u de chartale omzet. Dit bespaart heel veel dagelijks gedoe en risicovolle momenten.
Ook het tellen van wisselgeld in de kassalade kan heel snel en efficiënt. Zelfs met automatische dataoverbrenging naar uw kassa opmaakprogramma, dus ook zonder fouten. Binnen 1 minuut telt u een complete kassalade met munten (zonder aan te raken), muntrollen, bankbiljetten, vouchers etc. met de muisstille MultiCount geldweegcomputer. Bij meerdere kassa’s is het wellicht interessant om die automatisch geregistreerd te laten bijvullen (met een zelfbedieningsautomaat) of gebruik te maken van een muntwisselaar om ook die geldstroom gesloten te houden.
De systemen kunnen zonder enige verplichting tot aankoop zonder kosten worden uitgeprobeerd. In Engeland zijn bij het Imperial War Museum meerdere intelligente afroomkluisjes tot volle tevredenheid al enkele jaren in gebruik. Ook in Nederland zijn er goede ervaringen en functioneren de systemen zonder enige storing. Er zijn vele kostbare uren per week te besparen door een kleine investering te doen.

Voor vragen, documentatie of een demo kan contact worden opgenomen met Ger Bouwman van Secureon. gbouwman@secureon.nl

Secureon
De Muggenwaard 20-237
6988 BX Zevenaar
0313 63 00 92
http://www.secureon.nl/index.php?menu=Geldverwerking

October 28th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

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October 26th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

« L’art africain comme tout grand art, me dira-t-on, en tout cas plus que tout autre, et depuis si longtemps si ce n’est depuis toujours, est d’abord dans l’homme, dans l’émotion de l’homme transmise aux choses par l’homme et sa société.  C’est la raison pour laquelle on ne peut séparer le problème du sort de l’art africain du problème du sort de l’homme africain, c’est-à-dire en définitive du sort de l’Afrique elle-même »

read full text at http://www.museum-security.org/opoku_african_masks.htm

October 25th, 2010

Posted In: Dr. Kwame Opoku writings about looted cultural objects, International conventions, looting and illegal art traffickers

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October 25th, 2010

Posted In: vervalsing

Beveiliging beelden in de openbare ruimte; alarmsysteem & Aantoonbaar Beheer Systeem

Wat betreft de externe stroomvoorziening middels een battery pack: tot voor kort moest dit pack in het beeld geplaatst worden. Inmiddels is besloten deze packs in de sokkel of beneden maaiveld te plaatsen. De ruimte die “in” het beeld nodig is wordt hierdoor beperkt tot het systeem zelf, ter grootte van ongeveer een half pakje sigaretten.

Bijlagen: PDF van het alarmsysteem en het Aantoonbaar Beheer Systeem

Scope Solutions

Deurnestraat 109 – 6843 PP Arnhem

T.  026 84 00 557  M. 06 53 406 155

E.  info@scope-solutions.nl

W. www.scope-solutions.nl

October 25th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Beveiliging beelden in de openbare ruimte; alarmsysteem & Aantoonbaar Beheer Systeem

Wat betreft de externe stroomvoorziening middels een battery pack: tot voor kort moest dit pack in het beeld geplaatst worden. Inmiddels is besloten deze packs in de sokkel of beneden maaiveld te plaatsen. De ruimte die “in” het beeld nodig is wordt hierdoor beperkt tot het systeem zelf, ter grootte van ongeveer een half pakje sigaretten.

Bijlagen: PDF van het alarmsysteem en het Aantoonbaar Beheer Systeem

Scope Solutions

Deurnestraat 109 – 6843 PP Arnhem

T.  026 84 00 557  M. 06 53 406 155

E.  info@scope-solutions.nl

W. www.scope-solutions.nl

October 25th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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October 23rd, 2010

Posted In: vandalisme

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October 23rd, 2010

Posted In: vandalisme

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October 23rd, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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October 23rd, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Van Meegeren’s secret supplies
http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Van+Meegeren%E2%80%99s+secret+supplies/21597
Documents reveal the forger placed bulk orders for lapis lazuli from UK art suppliers Winsor & Newton

By Martin Bailey | From issue 217, October 2010
Published online 20 Oct 10 (News)

A Van Meegeren “Vermeer”

LONDON. A secret Scotland Yard report shows that the notorious Dutch forger Han van Meegeren bought rare lapis lazuli paint for his “Vermeers” from Winsor & Newton. Early in 1931 he purchased what may have been the equivalent of eight years’ total sales of the pigment by the UK firm, which was one of the few anywhere in the world to market it.

Made from ground lapis lazuli (mainly mined in Afghanistan), ultramarine was then more expensive by weight than gold. However, it was used by Vermeer in the 17th century, and Van Meegeren did not want to use modern synthetic blues for fear it would expose his fakes.

The Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch file on Van Meegeren was regarded as sensitive, and was not opened up under the normal 30-year period for official papers. The Art Newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information request, and the 1945 file has now been released.

A report dated 30 August 1945 records that Special Branch was taking up the Van Meegeren case at the request of the Netherlands’ ministry of justice. This followed enquiries concerning the “collaborationist activities” of Van Meegeren. He was then in custody in Amsterdam, trying to prove that he had not collaborated with the Nazis, but had sold a fake Vermeer to German leader Hermann Göring.

Factory bombed

Van Meegeren claimed that in 1931 he had bought ultramarine paint for the Vermeer fakes from Winsor & Newton. Its London factory was bombed during the second world war, but the stockbooks had been salvaged and were inspected by director Frank Popplewell. A Dutch translation of his statement was presented to the Amsterdam court.

The Scotland Yard report records a flurry of four Winsor & Newton orders in February-May 1931 from unnamed customers for a total of just under 12 ounces of ultramarine, worth around £50. Van Meegeren admitted that he had purchased four ounces, but it may well have been more. The police concluded that “there is every possibility that one, or even all the amounts enumerated were supplied to his order”. In a normal year, the company sold only one or two ounces of ultramarine.

For the trial, there was a scientific examination of Van Meegeren’s fake paintings. This showed that he had used natural ultramarine for Christ’s robe in The Supper at Emmaus, 1937 (left). However, he used a modern cobalt blue in the later forgery that was sold to Göring, Christ with the Adulteress, 1942. Natural ultramarine was not available in the Netherlands and during the war he could no longer buy it from Winsor & Newton. In 1947 Van Meegeren was found guilty, and a month later he died of a heart attack.

Winsor & Newton no longer makes natural ultramarine, be cause it is now too difficult and expensive to obtain lapis lazuli.

October 21st, 2010

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

China wants looted Summer Palace relics returned

BEIJING — China has renewed a call for the return of relics looted from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing 150 years ago — an act seen as a cause of national humiliation at the hands of Western armies.The Yuanmingyuan, a summer resort garden for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was pillaged by a joint British and French military expedition during the second Opium War on October 18-19, 1860.Cultural officials have urged private collectors in China to forgo profits from the antiquities trade and return the looted relics, the China Daily reported Tuesday.The Yuanmingyuan park authority has also called on museums to return such items, and for a boycott on auctions featuring relics, the Global Times added.A petition has been started in support of the effort, and martial arts film star Jackie Chan will act as a celebrity spokesman for the cause, it said.A statue of French literary giant Victor Hugo was also erected on the Yuanmingyuan grounds in commemoration of his strident opposition to the looting and burning undertaken by the joint military force.”At least 1.5 million relics from the Yuanmingyuan have either been looted or otherwise lost over the years,” the China Daily quoted Chen Mingjie, head of the Yuanmingyuan park administration, as saying.Xinhua news agency, citing the UN cultural body UNESCO, said some 1.64 million Chinese relics are housed in more than 200 museums in 47 countries, some of which are believed to have been looted from the Yuanmingyuan.In recent years, cultural relic experts from China have sought to categorise and bring back looted Chinese antiquities, but their efforts have been waylaid by legal and historical obstacles, the China Daily said.In February 2009, two bronze fountainheads looted from the palace that belonged to late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge were auctioned at Christie’s for about 20 million dollars each.The sale enraged Beijing, which accused the house of regularly selling smuggled Chinese relics. The mystery Chinese bidder later said he would not pay and the items were returned to Berge.The approximately 100 years that followed the sacking of the Yuanmingyuan represented some of China’s darkest days, the English-language Global Times, the sister paper of the Communist mouthpiece People’s Daily, said in an editorial.But “the fall of China has been reversed… what happened 150 years ago to the Yuanmingyuan will not be repeated in China with its strong military

October 20th, 2010

Posted In: Mailing list reports

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October 19th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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October 19th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Germany Extradites To Ukraine Three Suspects In Case On Caravaggio Painting Stolen From Odesa Museum (18:10, Thursday, October 14, 2010)
http://un.ua/eng/article/291242.html

Ukrainian News Agency
Germany has extradited to Ukraine three suspects in the case on the painting The Taking of Christ, or Judas’s Kiss, a canvas by Caravaggio, which was stolen from the Odesa Museum of Western and Eastern Art.

Ukrainian News learned this from a statement by the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.

The extradition was finalized on October 14.

The suspects were brought to Kyiv by a flight from Berlin.

The said persons are suspected of committing a theft of the painting from the Odesa Museum of Western and Eastern Art in July 2008. They are also suspected of other crimes in different regions of Ukraine.

German law enforcement agencies arrested the suspects in Berlin on June 25, 2010, when they tried to sell the canvas.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine within terms set by the European convention on extradition of offenders of 1957 sent to Germany inquiries on extradition of the suspects.

The German authorities satisfied the inquiry.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on arrest in Germany the suspects applied to the German authorities with a request to provide them political asylum.

On August 30, Germany handed over to Ukraine painting The Taking of Christ, or Judas’s Kiss.

Experts estimate the withdrawn Caravaggio painting to cost some USD 100 million.

The painting is currently kept in the national scientific restoration center.

October 18th, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation

LI museum director sentenced for Egyptian artifact theft
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_museum_director_sentenced_for_m8ewK4q1OIOWlINeCC4BRN
By MITCHEL MADDUX

Last Updated: 4:14 PM, October 15, 2010

Posted: 4:13 PM, October 15, 2010

The former director of a Long Island museum who stole Egyptian artifacts from the institution’s collection — and later sold the rare antiquities through Christie’s auction house — was sentenced today to serve time in federal prison.

Barry Stern, who headed Long Island University’s Hillwood Museum, was sentenced to serve one year and a day behind bars and slapped with a $5,000 fine during a hearing in Central Islip’s federal court.

To disguise his theft from the museum, which is located on the university’s C.W. Post campus in Brookville, L.I.., Stern deleted files concerning the nine objects from the museum’s computer database.

He then delivered them to Christie’s in August 2008 to be sold on consignment. Catalogs from the auction house described the precious objects as coming “from the Collection of Barry Stern.”

Among the antiquities that Stern furnished to Christie’s was a bronze statuette depicting Apis, a bull that in ancient Egypt was kept in lavish accommodations, watched constantly for signs of divine messages, and consulted in efforts to foretell the future. The figure is believed to have been created sometime between 712 to 332 B.C.

Another piece stolen was a limestone Shabti, a type of funerary figurine often buried in tombs with the dead, with the belief that they would perform tasks  for the deceased in their afterlife.

When confronted by the FBI last year, Stern initially claimed that the Egyptian antiquities has been gifts from his parents.

Stern, who was a university employee for 22 years, stole the artifacts around the time his contract as the museum’s director was terminated. He eventually confessed, saying his motivation for the theft was to exact revenge against the university for his perceived mistreatment while an employee there.

Auction house records showed that eight of the pieces sold at auction and netted $51,500. The proceeds were deposited in Stern’s personal accounts, prosecutors said.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_museum_director_sentenced_for_m8ewK4q1OIOWlINeCC4BRN#ixzz12SnC0DTX

October 18th, 2010

Posted In: legal issues and the law, Museum thefts

Tate puts sunflower seeds off limits due to health concerns
http://theartnewspaper.com/articles/Tate+puts+sunflower+seeds+off+limits+due+to+health+concerns/21723
The museum announced this morning that visitors can no longer walk over Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s installation because of fears of creating ceramic dust

By Anny Shaw | Web only
Published online 15 Oct 10 (News)

A child plays with the porcelain seeds in Tate’s Turbine Hall

Ai Weiwei’s Turbine Hall installation of 100 million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds, which visitors were invited to trample over, has been declared off limits because of health and safety fears over ceramic dust. Museum-goers will now only be able to view the Tate commission from the bridge above the hall.

In a statement released this morning Tate said: “Although porcelain is very robust, the enthusiastic interaction of visitors has resulted in a greater than expected level of dust in the Turbine Hall. Tate has been advised that this dust could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time. In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow visitors to walk across the sculpture.”

Members of staff who raked over the installation during the opening on Monday night wore masks to protect themselves from the dust, which rose in plumes as they moved over the sculpture.

However, according to Ai Weiwei, Tate had expressed concern when it became apparent people were pocketing the ceramic seeds prior to the closure of the hall yesterday. “They are afraid that if it continues, people might not be able to see the the same exhibition in a month,” he said at the VIP opening of Frieze Art Fair. Somewhat presciently, when asked whether he was anxious about visitors to the Tate filling their pockets, he quipped that he was only worried people might try to eat them and then sue the Tate if they fell ill.

The closure of the Turbine Hall comes as former Tory minister Lord Young’s health and safety review, which aims to restore common sense to Britain’s compensation culture, was published this morning. The report highlighted a “growing fear” among business owners of having to pay out for unreasonable claims.

October 18th, 2010

Posted In: museum security

More Than 10,000 Unrestituted Nazi-Looted Art Objects Now Listed on Internet; Call to Museums, Dealers to Check Holdings
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-than-10000-unrestituted-nazi-looted-art-objects-now-listed-on-internet-call-to-museums-dealers-to-check-holdings-105158444.html

NEW YORK, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Nazi records and photographs of the looting of more than 20,000 individual art objects from Jews in France and Belgium are now online in a searchable database, which shows that at least half the objects have not been restituted to their original owners. This new listing – searchable by item, artist, owner, and whether items have been returned – should be consulted by museums, art dealers, and auction houses to determine whether they hold any Nazi-looted art, and by families seeking long-lost valuable heirlooms.

Many families know or believe that relatives killed in the Holocaust owned artworks, but may do not know the pieces’ names or artists; this list can help them search family holdings. However, there is no centralized claims process for unrestituted works in this database. Unlike previous attempts to identify looted art, which have focused on museum collections or lists of claims from individual victims or their heirs, this new database aims to reconstruct the totality of what was seized and from whom, as well as what has been restituted, so as to produce a listing of looted art objects still believed to be “at large.”

“Cultural Plunder by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg: Database of Art Objects at the Jeu de Paume,” at www.errproject.org/jeudepaume, is a project of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) with technical support provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It reveals the fate of each of more than 20,000 art objects taken from more than 200 private Jewish collections in German-occupied France and Belgium between 1940 and 1944.

The Third Reich engaged in an unprecedented, systematic campaign to plunder the cultural property of Europe’s Jews through theft, confiscation, and forced sales. A special task force, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), gathered hundreds of thousands of art objects and millions of books and archives stolen from Jews and other victims, as well as from museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions. The ERR worked in Nazi-occupied territories, with branches stretching from Paris eastward to Gorky, Russia.

“Decades after the greatest mass theft in history, families robbed of their prized artworks can now search this list to help them locate long-lost treasures,” said Julius Berman, Claims Conference Chairman. “It is now the responsibility of museums, art dealers, and auction houses to check their holdings against these records to determine whether they might be in possession of art stolen from Holocaust victims. Organizing Nazi art-looting records is an important step in righting a historical wrong. It is not too late to restore art that should have been passed down within Jewish families instead of decorating Nazi homes or stored at Nazi sites.”

In Paris, the ERR documented each of more than 20,000 art objects on index cards or inventory lists, processing and sorting the looted objects at the Jeu de Paume, then dispatching them to repositories in Germany and Austria. The database presents each of these records in electronic form, listing index card numbers, artwork titles, artists, and detailed descriptions of each work. Many entries include photos of the artworks or objects as well as a scan of the original Nazi record. The database can be searched by owner, artist, or collection, or a combination of criteria.

The database brings together the original ERR records that had been scattered after the war relating to the looted art processed at the Jeu de Paume. The records and historical data in the database had been dispersed among three major repositories–the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, the Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) of Germany, and the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) of France.

The website also includes photos of ERR personnel processing and sorting looted cultural property of Jewish families. Photos relating to Nazi art looting usable for print are at www.claimscon.org/artphotos.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) represents world Jewry in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs. The Claims Conference administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and preserve the memory and lessons of the Shoah. For more information: www.claimscon.org. The Claims Conference works in collaboration with the World Jewish Restitution Organization on the Looted Jewish Art and Cultural Property Initiative.

SOURCE Claims Conference

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October 18th, 2010

Posted In: WWII

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October 18th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

The former director of a Long Island museum who stole Egyptian artifacts from the institution’s collection — and later sold the rare antiquities through Christie’s auction house — was sentenced today to serve time in federal prison.

Barry Stern, who headed Long Island University’s Hillwood Museum, was sentenced to serve one year and a day behind bars and slapped with a $5,000 fine during a hearing in Central Islip’s federal court.
To disguise his theft from the museum, which is located on the university’s C.W. Post campus in Brookville, L.I.., Stern deleted files concerning the nine objects from the museum’s computer database.

He then delivered them to Christie’s in August 2008 to be sold on consignment. Catalogs from the auction house described the precious objects as coming “from the Collection of Barry Stern.”
Among the antiquities that Stern furnished to Christie’s was a bronze statuette depicting Apis, a bull that in ancient Egypt was kept in lavish accommodations, watched constantly for signs of divine messages, and consulted in efforts to foretell the future. The figure is believed to have been created sometime between 712 to 332 B.C.
Another piece stolen was a limestone Shabti, a type of funerary figurine often buried in tombs with the dead, with the belief that they would perform tasks  for the deceased in their afterlife.
When confronted by the FBI last year, Stern initially claimed that the Egyptian antiquities has been gifts from his parents.
Stern, who was a university employee for 22 years, stole the artifacts around the time his contract as the museum’s director was terminated. He eventually confessed, saying his motivation for the theft was to exact revenge against the university for his perceived mistreatment while an employee there.
Auction house records showed that eight of the pieces sold at auction and netted $51,500. The proceeds were deposited in Stern’s personal accounts, prosecutors said.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_museum_director_sentenced_for_m8ewK4q1OIOWlINeCC4BRN#ixzz12SnC0DTX

October 17th, 2010

Posted In: insider theft

BOOK THIEF STOLE OVER 12 YEARS
A LIBRARY assistant stole thousands of pounds worth of books and then stored them alphabetically in a bookcase at his home. Barry Charles Angove has worked at Barrow Library as a library assistant since 1996.

Angove, 62, hit the headlines back in 2004 after saving 800 books from the library when it was flooded and the basement flooded.
But earlier this year, his colleagues reported a number of missing books to the police and Angove was arrested.
A subsequent search at Angove’s home in Keith Street, Barrow, uncovered the hoard, worth around £4,800, lined neatly in alphabetical order on a bookcase, which he had stolen during a 12-year period.
At Lancaster Crown Court yesterday, Angove admitted the thefts, which occurred between December 1998 and April 2010.
His defence barrister, Mr Gareth James, said at the hearing: “He took these books and accepts he stole items to the value of £4,800. He has previous convictions for theft, one from another former employer, which are of some age.”
Angove had initially been charged with stealing books worth almost £6,000 from Cumbria County Council but pleaded guilty on the basis that the value had been £4,800.
Miss Sarah Johnson, prosecution barrister, said: “The sum total of the value is just short of £6,000, he accepts just short of £5,000. The crown maintain the value was just under £6,000.”
Judge Heather Lloyd ordered that the lower value did not make a significant difference to the likely sentence Angove would receive and that a trial of issue would determine the exact amount. He will next appear at Preston Crown Court on November 12 to be sentenced, following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Judge Lloyd said: “The fact I am granting bail does not indicate the likely sentence you will receive. All sentencing options are open, including custody.”
Angove, who has worked at the library since 1996, had been suspended without prejudice from work following his arrest and is likely to be sacked since entering a guilty plea to stealing from his employer.
A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said after the hearing: “Stealing from your employer is a fundamental breach of trust as well as a criminal act. As Barry Angove’s employer was the local authority, he was stealing from the public purse as well.
“Cumbria County Council took the necessary disciplinary measures as soon as the theft came to light, suspending Barry Angove while there was an ongoing criminal investigation.
“Now that he has entered a guilty plea, the matter will be further progressed through the council’s disciplinary procedures.”
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk

October 17th, 2010

Posted In: insider theft

Er lijkt nauwelijks een halt toe te roepen aan de diefstal van beelden uit het publieke domein. Al jaren, de afgelopen maanden in toenemend aantal, sturen we berichten rond over diefstal van bronzen beelden. Hoewel brons ‘slechts’ twee tot drie euro per kilo oplevert lijkt diefstal van brons voor de daders voldoende lucratief. Tegen deze vorm van diefstal wordt minder ondernomen dan mogelijk is. Hier en daar wordt besloten de beelden naar binnen te halen – een wel heel ongewenst effect – of ze te verankeren.

Verankeren kan op vele manieren en kan zo geschieden dat diefstal nog nauwelijks haalbaar is. Toch zal het altijd weer geprobeerd worden. Pogingen tot diefstal moeten in een zo vroeg mogelijk stadium gedetecteerd worden. Dit kan met de juiste maatregelen zowel aan de beelden zelf als in de directe omgeving van de beelden. Er zijn ook maatregelen mogelijk om gestolen beelden snel op te sporen mochten ze ondanks alle preventieve maatregelen toch ontvreemd worden. Snelle alarmopvolging en opsporing is zeer belangrijk omdat de dieven slechts 1 doel hebben: de beelden versnijden en shredden om ze per kilo brons aan de ijzerhandel te slijten.

Voorkomen van diefstal en snelle opsporing mocht het toch fout gaan is haalbaar. Nadere informatie toncremers@museumbeveiliging.com of +31624224620

October 15th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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October 15th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Historic sundial stolen from Gresford church
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/relig…
The sundial had stood outside Gresford’s All Saints church since 1732

A 300-year-old sundial has been stolen from outside historic All Saints’ Church in Gresford, near Wrexham.

It is thought the sundial, which had been a feature at the church since 1732, was stolen some time during the evening of 7 October.

It was removed from a stone plinth which also suffered damage during the theft.

Michael Crumplin, a church warden at All Saints, said: “I feel, as anyone would, very shocked by the vandalism and unkindness of such an act to a place of worship and charitable doing.

“And it’s such a special place. Most of this church was rebuilt in the late 15th Century and it has a beautiful interior with many good stained glass windows dating from the time of Henry VII and many fine and interesting memorials.”

It’s not the only incident at the church in the past few months as lead has also been taken from the roof on more than one occasion.

All Saints Church in Gresford has suffered other thefts recently
“It seems to be an increasing problem. We’ve had two thefts of lead recently from the roof and insurance is difficult,” said Mr Crumplin.

Despite this, he thinks the church should remain open to the public: “Our parish vicar, Father Tudor Hughes, has been keen to have an open church, I think rightly, and that will occasionally invite trouble but there’s nothing worse than going to visit a beautiful church and finding it locked,” he said.

Gresford’s All Saints church dates from the late 13th Century, though there is mention of a church at Gresford in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The church’s bells are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales in the 18th Century poem which features landmarks of north Wales.

Another feature of the churchyard is the Great Yew which dates from around 400AD.

The church is one of 16 in Wrexham which make up the Open Church Network.

The network was set up to encourage visitors to explore the history and architecture of church buildings.

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October 14th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Time Limit Ends Antiquities Case Of Ex-Curator
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/arts/design/14true.html?_r=1
By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

Published: October 13, 2010

ROME — The case against Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the J.Paul Getty Museum, ended abruptly on Wednesday, after a court here ruled that the statute of limitations on her alleged crimes — receiving artifacts stolen from Italy and conspiring to deal in them — had expired.

The trial had dragged on intermittently for five years. Numerous witnesses testified for the prosecution, which argued that Ms. True knowingly bought ancient artifacts of dubious provenance for the collection of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The trial was widely believed to be the first instance of a museum curator facing criminal charges for such alleged crimes.

Her Italian legal team had not yet begun to call witnesses in her defense. Ms. True, who was first formally investigated in 2000, has maintained her innocence.

She served as chief antiquities curator at the Getty from 1986 to 2005, stepping down shortly before her trial began. Her indictment was closely followed in the news media and the museum world, where standards pertaining to the acquisition of antiquities have been the subject of significant debate in recent years.

“The case invited scrutiny into what had been collecting practices that were not unusual in the American museum world of the 1980s and 1990s,” Maxwell L. Anderson, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the former president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, said in a telephone interview from New York.

The trial was a wake-up call, he added. “The notion that a single curator could be indicted for what was a practice of American museums led us to review how American museum collections were being built, ” he said. In 2008 the association adopted a “no provenance rule” forbidding members from acquiring antiquities that could not be adequately vetted. Ms. True “sacrificed herself on behalf of other museum directors in America,” Mr. Anderson said.

Paolo Ferri, the prosecutor who built the case against Ms. True and has since retired, said Wednesday that the trial had served as a signal to museums that buying objects without provenance had to end.

Over the years as Mr. Ferri made his case in the Rome courtroom, lawyers for the Italian state negotiated a series of agreements with various American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for the return of objects with hazy provenance.

The Met was the first American museum to come to an agreement, in February 2006. In exchange for long-term loans, it returned 20 artifacts, including a renowned Greek vase known as the Euphronios krater, acquired by the museum in 1972, and pieces of Hellenistic silver purchased in 1981 and 1982.

In September 2007, the Getty — which boasts one of the top collections of ancient art in the United States, built largely by Ms. True and another curator, Jiri Frel — agreed to return 40 antiquities that Italy claimed had been looted from its soil before the museum purchased them.

During Ms. True’s tenure she returned several artifacts to Italy when informed they had been stolen, including a 2,500-year-old kylix, or drinking cup, by the Greek artists Onesimos and Euphronios; a bronze Etruscan tripod; and some 3,500 objects from the archaeological site at Francavilla Marittima in Calabria. And in 1995 she persuaded the Getty to adopt strict standards requiring objects the museum was considering buying to be documented by scholars.

“She was instrumental in changing how the Getty and other museums approached acquisitions,” said Harry Stang, her Los Angeles lawyer.

Maurizio Fiorilli, the lawyer for the Italian state who negotiated the restitution agreements with American museums, described Ms. True as “a contradictory figure” who bought antiquities “without carrying out the proper due diligence,” even as she tried to raise the museum’s acquisition standards. “And she was an employee, faithful to the Getty,” he said in a telephone interview.

In its decision on Wednesday the court acknowledged that the 7 ½-year statute of limitations on the conspiracy charge had expired on July 11; it said the 10-year statute of limitations on the charge of receiving stolen goods had run out in 2007.

Francesco Isolabella, one of Ms. True’s Italian lawyers, said he called her at her home in France after the decision. “She said she was happy that after 10 years the trial was over,” he said, adding that she was relieved that “the tornado that destroyed her life had finally passed.”

Ms. True’s co-defendant, Robert Hecht, 91, is standing trial on the same charges; in his case the statute of limitations is due to expire next July, said his lawyer, Alessandro Vannucci.

A version of this article appeared in print on October 14, 2010, on page C1 of the New York edition.

October 14th, 2010

Posted In: lawsuit, legal issues and the law, looting and illegal art traffickers

Peju Layiwola.  Benin1897.com: Art and the Restitution Question.Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria  Wy Art Editions, 2010.  Illustrations.244 pp.  $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-978-902-703-3.

Reviewed by Joseph Nevadomsky
The Art of Benin Repatriation and the Repatriation of  Benin Art
There are several features of this book that deserve review andcomment. First is the title, intriguing and open to interpretation.The “.com” suggests commercial applications in terms of sharing themarket on Benin brass castings. “Restitution,” too, suggests someform of financial liability rather than the more constrainingrepatriation. (Transfer of money and deeds is easier than movement ofproperty.) Leasing cultural identity or creating new identities ofownership and transfer are viable options as the “.com.” Maybecultural property is a loan agreement into which banks shouldventure, like sub-primes and refinancing. Everything is negotiable inmarket economies. When money talks, heritage walks.
Second, Peju Layiwola’s book is about her art, the production of it,the exhibition that displayed some of it, and the accompanyingsymposium that opened the exhibition. Layiwola, noted forinstallation art, offers an exploration of Benin art, heritage, andrepatriation as she interprets this in mixed media: clay, calabashes,and layered copper among them. The art is meant for us to reflect onthe Benin kingdom, on its downfall and removal of palace objects, andespecially on the political agenda of restitution. This is aided bythe essays of various commentators.
Layiwola is the daughter of Elizabeth Olowu, an accomplished artistand a half-sister of the present Oba (king) of Benin, Oba Erediauwa.Princess Olowu is noted for her cement civic statuary. Daughter Pejuis a studio-trained installation artist and university teacher. Thismagnificently produced book celebrates daughter Peju’s artconstructions, with essays about her and by her, and photographs ofher work and workshop, as well as photos of family, friends, andconference associates. It contains essays from the opening symposiumin Lagos (from where the exhibition traveled to Ibadan, Abuja, andBenin City).
Keenly observed accounts of her creativity permeate thistext–narratives that warmly capture a place and time with emotionalasides and that demonstrate how Layiwola’s lifelong affection forBenin has imprinted her imagination. One example of Layiwola’s workas shown here consists of gourds painted with images, each labeledwith the name of a different Benin king. They are suspended in a waythat reminds one of a roped lattice or patio divider. The onethousand terracottas mostly replicate late (ca. nineteenth century)Oba brass commemorative heads, although they are less detailed.Intended as protest art, they are not as symbolically potent orascorbic as, say, Barbara Donahue’s _Amber Waves of Grain_, anexhibit of thirty thousand ceramic nose cones that representedAmerica’s nuclear arsenal in 1986.
Several essays are a paean to her art, and suitably adulatory. Aforeword by her uncle, the_ _king of Benin, places her skills infamily surrounds; a preface by Tunde Babawale (director of the Centerfor Black and African Arts and Civilization in Lagos) highlights thecontemporary relevance of her art for education; and a note by MimiWolford (d irector of the Mbari Institute for Contemporary AfricanArt in Washington DC) describes how she and Layiwola became closefriends. There are, too, an anonymous “A Profile” about Layiwola, andan introduction by the artist that illuminates her socialization,schooling, and artistic training.
Also by Layiwola, “Resurrecting the Disappeared: ARecontextualization of 1897″_ _is a memory lane recounting of how herfamily background intersects with her art. There may be a comparisonhere to Amir Nour’s 1969 _Grazing at Shendi_, 202 stainless steelsemi-circular arches evocative of childhood memories of goats grazingin the Sudan.
Two other essays also use Layiwola’s background to explore her art.”Material Culture, Maternal Culture, Peju Layiwola’s Art and ItsObligations” by Mabel Evwierhoma (professor of theater arts at theUniversity of Abuja) takes off from the artist’s childhood as anemanation to dwell on feminism and women’s art. Inniversity ofWisconsin) takes us through the exhibition, seeing it as ametamonument that in its iconography depicts a multitude of subjectsthat synecdochically stand for Benin monarchs and subjects bothbefore and after the Punitive Expedition of 1897. For High, ameta-monument is a postmodern construction that requires ambulatoryviewing and critical reflection to comprehend how an art installationglorifies the past and connects it to the nostalgia of the present.
Interlarded among these encomia are serious examinations ofrepatriation by proponents, and this is the third feature of thebook. The essays take the path of political rectitude in declaringBenin objects in Western museums as “looted,” “stolen,” “arroganttheft,” “aggressive art imperialism,” and “pillaged culturalheritage.” The essays are variously incisive, vitriolic, andexplosive, but never petty. Beyond that, while Western museumdefenders of their loot see their domain as a “curatoreum,” which,like a crypt or mausoleum, preserves the dead, the authors here seethe Western domain as a “curatorium,” which destroys culturalidentity as a crematorium destroys the dead. Trying to fathom how toresolve such oppositions is a mug’s game.
Some of these essays are primed to “history” as fraud, andrestitution as legit payback. Sola Olorunyomi (who teachesperformance and media art at the University of Ibadan) offers “Hmmm… 1897? Or an Introduction,” hitting the reader with a discursiverebuttal of a colonial master text: what he calls the “mortifyinglingo of colonial speak,” a reference to the bug-bear “civilizingmission”–and argues that the events of Benin’s past set the textualagenda (p. xx). The reinterpretation of the 1897 British PunitiveExpedition now includes plays (e.g., Ola Rotimi’s _Ovonramwen_[produced in 1971, published in 1974])_ _and the 2009 rap musicaltrack _1897_ by Osaigbovo Agbonze (alias Monday Midnite). In “Art,Anonymity, Anger and Re-appropriation,” Benson Eluma (freelancewriter) comments on the artificial distinction between “looted” Beninart and “contemporaneous” Benin art, or between “authentic” value and”repro” ersatz.
“Negotiations for the Return of Nok Sculptures from France toNigeria: An Unrighteous Conclusion” by Folarin Shyllon (dean, Facultyof Law, University of Ibadan), an expert on cultural property, goesbeyond his knowledge about Nok terracottas to offer details about theBenin Idia ivory hip mask requested for loan by Nigeria from Britainfor the celebrated 1977 FESTAC (the Second Festival of Black andAfrican Arts and Culture). Britain refused, and an excellent replica,equally iconic, carved by a young man from the Benin Arts Councilreplaced it as the logo for the festival. Dipping into subalternstudies, Sylvester Ogbechie (associate professor of art history atUniversity of California, Santa Barbara) in “The Sword of ObaOvonramwen: 1897 and Narratives of Domination and Resistance”_ _tellsus the effects that the collapse of the Benin kingdom had on thepolitical economy of outlier groups, such as the Western Igbo,expressed in the telling phrase by one of the Ogbechie family: “Uwakpu ekpu” (the world turned upside down).
“Of Desecrated History, Memories and Values in Peju Layiwola’s RecentWorks,” by Akin Onipede (Department of Creative Arts at theUniversity of Lagos), is a travail that laments the violation of apeople’s cultural heritage and shows how Layiwola’s art excites theconscience to expose Western chicanery. Kwame Opoku is a polemiciston cultural affairs willing to take on the likes of anti-repatriationadvocates, such as James Cuno (director of the Art Institute ofChicago). Opoku is noted for positing sharp and lucid rebuttals. In”One Counter-Agenda from Africa: Would Western Museums Return LootedObjects if Nigeria and Other African States Were Ruled by Angels?” hetakes up the hoary issue of secure and suitable locations forrepatriated objects; this leads quickly to observations onobscurantist African leaders, indigenous looters, and localnonchalance. He takes head on a practical consequence ofrepatriation: what to do with returned loot and where to chamber it?
There is a lot of petrol in these contributions, a fair share ofangst and anger, retorts, and shifts in linguistic discourse from thelanguage of the managers of art to the language of putative owners.The arguments for the repatriation of Benin objects are remarkablyintelligent rather than histrionic. What remains wobbly and largelyoff stage is the fact that Nigeria’s museums are so unkempt andmismanaged as to not deserve that restitution.
Layiwola’s creations are meant to make a statement and the symposiumpapers published here are meant to highlight that. But there is adisconnect between her art and the repatriation issue. The gourds andclay busts do not have _that_ symbolic or monumental impact. What dothey evoke? Are they compelling? Layiwola’s pieces _can_ be seen asplayful or as profound, whimsical rather than channeling one’sthoughts to repatriation, and a celebration and remembrance ofdynastic continuity; nostalgia for a kingdom past its glory but stillintact in some ways. The gourds, each painted with the name of a kingare a fun garden partition, like large chimes swaying in a rainforest breeze. Other installations are incredibly thoughtful:_Chequered History III _(2009),_ _of polyester, glass, and acrylic,expresses the fragmentation of Africa as a consequence of the BerlinConference of 1884 and of colonialism. _Theatre of War_ (2009),__terracotta and copper, documents a timeline of the PunitiveExpedition and participants. Compare her installations to the Beninplaques that once graced the wall of the left staircase andconfronted visitors upon entering the British Museum, not necessarilya display of imperialism though the aggregation of plaques can besurmised that way, but arguably a glorious display of the historicart of a West African forest kingdom. Maybe Layiwola’s installationsharbor the same ambiguity and discursive complexity.
Of real value is the color catalogue that occupies the second half ofthe book. In addition to workshop photographs, the major installationpieces are described from inception and meaning to production andarrangement. Of particular importance is Layiwola’s insistence onutilizing her art as teaching aids for school children and communitygroups to bring about a level of cultural awareness of historicalpatrimony. She melds art practice and social activism without outrageor stridency.This is really where her art succeeds. While it may notgarner the international attention or allure of Christo’s _The Gates_(2005) or _Running Fence _(1976),_ _her art serves as an anthem and abeacon. Like the _AIDS Memorial Quilt Project _laid out on theWashington Mall in 1987 that commemorates and calls attention tothose who died of AIDS, Layiwola’s art exerts an educational force inits own dominion.
Citation: Joseph Nevadomsky. Review of Layiwola, Peju,_Benin1897.com: Art and the Restitution Question_. H-AfrArts, H-NetReviews. October, 2010.URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30187
This work is licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United StatesLicense.

H-AfrArtsH-Net Network for African Expressive CultureE -Mail: H-AFRARTS@H-NET.MSU.EDUhttp://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~artsweb/

October 13th, 2010

Posted In: Book reviews

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October 13th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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October 13th, 2010

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October 12th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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October 12th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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October 11th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

Row after security breach at art gallery
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/row-after-security-breach-at-art-gallery-1.1060429

EXCLUSIVE: Gerry Braiden

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9 Oct 2010

One of Scotland’s top attractions is at the centre of a security breach row after staff found tourists wandering around inside while the building was closed to the public.

Early morning cleaners at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, home to one of the most prestigious – and valuable – civic art collections in Europe, found the group wandering through the venue after they walked in through a door that had been left unlocked.

Staff, who were taken aback by the intrusion, insist the elevated entrance, facing the car park and Glasgow University, was supposed to have been locked from the night before and that no-one had been near it in the short time they were in the museum.

They have also said keys for the north entrance were found where they had been left the previous night and that the only explanation is a major security blunder.

However, Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s art galleries, museums and sports facilities, while admitting the breach, has told The Herald the doors could only have been left unlocked for a maximum of two hours.

The agency believes early morning cleaners were to blame and that fail-safes are in place to ensure that no door is left unlocked while the museum is closed to the public. The Herald understands that none of the cleaners has faced disciplinary action over the lapse.

The museum, some of whose treasures are worth several million pounds each, including Rembrandts, Renaissance masterpieces and jewels of French impressionism, had hosted a function until late the previous evening and was on the final day of an acclaimed exhibition by The Glasgow Boys.

Sources say staff apprehended the group, believed to be overseas backpackers, around 8.25am on Sunday, September 26, almost three hours before public opening, and the only door opened that morning was an employees’ entrance.

Bolts on the door the intruders used to gain entrance are said to have been in place but snibs left unlocked.

One member of staff said: “No-one was anywhere near the [public] doors that morning. To all intents and purposes they were locked, but these people must have checked the doors because they opened straight away for them.”

Another source said: “It’s a good job the Salvador Dali is currently on loan in the US or it would be in a student bedsit in Byres Road by now. Da Vinci’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder was stolen in a second, as was Munch’s the Scream in Norway. An opportunity certainly presented itself.”

Unions have blamed the private security firm brought in during the ongoing industrial dispute engulfing Glasgow Life for the security lapse but the agency accused unions of “mischief-making”.

Glasgow Life has insisted all locks were in place as fail-safes ensure the museum cannot be secured without them, while doors were checked throughout the night.

A Glasgow Life spokesman said: “Some members of the public gained access to Kelvingrove before the stated opening hours. They were immediately identified and left the premises. There were upwards of 30 staff on-site and at no time was there any threat to the gallery or our collections.” Four years ago, a drunken guest at a high-profile party held in Kelvingrove Galleries sparked a 3am security scare after falling asleep in the toilets, triggering the alarm system when he woke and alerting the police.

In 2002, it emerged a private security firm was being hired to patrol the grounds of the museum at a rate of £600 a night because newly installed floodlights were too bright for the £60,000 CCTV system.

The previous year, thieves tried a commando-style break-in, scaling the walls with ropes, but fled empty-handed after being spotted by a passer-by.

October 9th, 2010

Posted In: museum security

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October 9th, 2010

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October 7th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

Efforts insufficient in curbing heritage trafficking
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-10/04/content_11376572.htm

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2010-10-04 10:02

LUXOR – The international efforts in cracking down on heritage relic trafficking are “radically insufficient” and much more is needed to control the worsening situation, said a senior UNESCO official here on Sunday.

“There has not been enough attention from the world governments for the trafficking of cultural heritage properties,” said Francesco Bandarin, director of the World Heritage Center, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
The trafficking situation is worse and worse and that the ” market is completely out of control,” Bandarin told Xinhua on the sidelines of a two-day seminar on the protection of the New Gourna village, which was built in late 1940s inside the famous Ancient Thebes world heritage site area, in Luxor Governorate, south Egypt.

“We (governments all over the world) are doing too little and need much more efforts,” said Bandarin, also assistant director- general for culture of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

He said the UNESCO, with legal authority on this matter, has the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in 1970.

Action should be enacted by police. “We are cooperating with the Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization), and the local and international police to intercept the things and train people in different states, especially the developing countries so that they can prevent trafficking,” Bandarin said.

Talking about the theft of Van Gogh’s famous painting, the ” Poppy Flower,” from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo in August, the UNESCO cultural official said he had heard of this case and stressed that a lesson should be learned on how to better protect heritage in museums.

In August, the World Heritage Committee inscribed 21 new sites, including 15 cultural, five natural and one mixed properties, making a total of 911 sites on the World Heritage List. However, some famous world heritage sites have been troubled by booming tourism.

A balance should be made between the development of tourism and protection of heritage sites, said Bandarin. “If you leave it to the forces of the market, of course, you will have a disaster.”

Regulation can make tourists a resource, not a threat to heritage sites, he added. Proper management and willingness are required to achieve this, said Bandarin, citing some good examples of adopting booking systems to control the number of tourists according to the capacities.

Civil society also has an important role in protecting heritage, Bandarin said.

“In fact, I don’t think heritage should be protected from the top. Rather, it should be protected from the bottom or the grassroots,” Bandarin said.”The civil society and population should play a fundamental and primary role in protecting heritage and the government can help.”

Bandarin also warned that the change of climatic conditions is “something to be worried about, to watch and to prepare” in heritage protection.

As a global phenomenon, climate change is a process that has to do with many impacts not only on natural heritage such as glaciers but also cultural heritage, he said. For example, the increase of sea levels will affect coastal cities.

October 6th, 2010

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

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October 5th, 2010

Posted In: restitution

Third incident of vandalism hits ArtPrize
http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2010/10/third_incident_of_vandalism_hits_artprize.html

Published: Sunday, October 03, 2010, 6:52 PM Updated: Sunday, October 03, 2010, 8:14 PM

John Tunison | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — In the third instance of ArtPrize vandalism, Joseph Wambaugh, the creator of a butterfly sculpture behind DeVos Place, says someone tossed a ceramic sphere-shaped segment of the insect’s body into the Grand River.

Wambaugh, Allendale, who spent three months making the colorful butterfly, figures the sphere cost about $250.

The damage comes after someone last week slashed the canvas-like material used in a 30-foot tall greeting card in the B.O.B. parking lot, and the Sept. 17 theft of a 10-pound globe from the driftwood sculpture “A Matter of Time” near the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The greeting card damage likely happened late Thursday or early Friday, while Wambaugh thinks his piece was vandalized Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

“I just don’t understand it,” said Wambaugh, a recent Grand Valley State University graduate with a fine arts degree. “This is my first real project being out on my own. That makes it really disappointing to have stuff broken.”

The butterfly is supposed to have three ceramic spheres, tucked inside a metal frame, for the body parts. Now, only two are left after someone swiped the head and tossed it in the adjacent river.

Wambaugh said he could see the broken sphere in the river current last week, but it since has washed away. He moved one of the remaining spheres to the head position and left the middle slot vacant.

Wambaugh secured the head with a clamp and cable to stop anyone else from tampering with it.

It wasn’t the first time he had to fix the sculpture. The night before ArtPrize began on Sept. 22, high winds that damaged other outdoor pieces also cracked two of the spheres when they fell to the concrete. He managed to glue one sphere back together and replace the other with an extra sphere he had at home.

Wambaugh expects to participate in next year’s ArtPrize, but said he’ll take into account the possibility for vandalism.

“I’ll definitely take more steps to protect it, and possibly look for an indoor venue,” he said.

October 4th, 2010

Posted In: vandalism

Ariz. Officials Work To Protect Ancient Art
http://www.wkrg.com/raw_news/article/ariz.-officials-work-to-protect-ancient-art/1017971/Oct-03-2010_1-35-pm/

by (AP) WILLIAMS, Ariz.
Published: Sun, October 03, 2010 – 12:19 pm CST Last Updated: Sun, October 03, 2010 – 1:35 pm CST
Investigators Have Yet To Identify Any Suspects In The Case Of A 1,000-year-old Rock Art Panel That Was Damaged In Northern Arizona Over The Summer, But Officials Say What Happened…

Williams, Arizona – Investigators have yet to identify any suspects in the case of a 1,000-year-old rock art panel that was damaged in northern Arizona over the summer, but officials say what happened on the Kaibab National Forest is a reminder of the ongoing assault on archaeological sites in Arizona and across the Southwest.

A hiker reported the damage in August at Keyhole Sink, named for a keyhole-shaped lava flow. The word “ACE” was written in silver paint over the rock art, known as petroglyphs.

Kaibab officials aren’t sure exactly what the letters mean, other than a potentially expensive restoration job that might not work.

“It’s beyond words,” Kaibab archaeologist Neil Weintraub said of the damage. “It feels like an attack on this site. What has it done except give people pleasure for years?”

Officials say sites around the Southwest are being vandalized from graffiti and looting to littering and garbage-dumping. Sites are defaced with paint, bullet marks, paintball stains and messages scratched into rocks. Professional thieves remove pottery, hack out chunks of ancient art-covered rock and dislodge anything they can carry away.

The sites are vulnerable because they’re not behind locked doors, and monitoring is intermittent at many of the locations.

There aren’t enough people to check them frequently, there are simply too many sites, and often, they’re hard to reach.

“We can’t monitor them all, and neither can the land managers,” said Nicole Armstrong-Best, interim coordinator for Arizona’s Site Stewards program, which oversees a group of volunteers who monitor local, state and federal sites all over the state.

There are about 800 volunteers who monitor the 3,000 most significant or most affected sites the program tracks.

More than 130 vandalism reports have been filed by the stewards since October 2009, when a computerized reporting system was put in place. Reported incidents include petroglyph thefts, paint damage, graffiti and dumping of debris. In a few cases, even shrines and cairns have been built on the sites.

Mike Johnson, deputy preservation officer for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office in Phoenix, said urban growth in the West means more people looking to crowd into diminishing open space, putting more pressure on archaeological sites. At the same time, he said technology like GPS helps people find sites, and Internet marketplaces permit thieves to easily market what they’ve stolen.

Johnson said the BLM is working to increase steward visits and patrols by uniformed officers at sensitive sites, and to increased cooperation with American Indian tribes, for whom these sites are sacred reminders of their ancestors.

At Keyhole Sink, officials say they may have to consider installing cameras and motion detectors to protect the site.

Until the paint is removed, Weintraub said, people who come there from around the world will be disappointed.

“We’ve lost the value of people being able to come there, see the stuff, sometimes sit there alone and imagine how it was for the ancient people who lived there,” he said.

___

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

October 4th, 2010

Posted In: art law, law enforcement and investigation

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October 4th, 2010

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Arty walkthrough
http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article806819.ece

V. R. DEVIKA

Courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Priceless collection: The museum
A famous art heist left a few walls in Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum stark empty, but that has not deterred tourists from visiting the place even today…

If your name is Isabella, chances are you will be given a royal welcome and a free entry into a charming and unique museum in Boston in the U.S. No, my name is not Isabella but I heeded the advice of a friend who said I must visit this unique museum. The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum sits quietly in Fenway, in Boston, a place reclaimed from a smelly swamp and made into an upmarket, much sought-after area. Not many tourists visit the Isabella Stewart Museum but it is worth a visit.

No changes

Isabella was a society woman in the late 1800s, who shocked the Boston purists with her unconventional behaviour. She collected precious art and created a home for these collections. Her will stipulated that nothing should be changed, exchanged, sold or added to the galleries. As a result, the walls still remain empty even after the great robbery. In 1990, two men came at midnight disguised as policemen, handcuffed the guards on duty and in 81 minutes ripped a Vermeer, three Rembrandts — including his only seascape, five Degas drawings, and a Monet from their wall placements. This was one of the biggest art heists in history.

Over the years, the theft has produced many books and articles about who pulled it off. There is a reward of $ 5million for anyone who can help get the art works back in an undamaged condition. Now the statute of limitations has passed for prosecution of the theft itself and the attorney in Boston now says he will not prosecute anyone who has the paintings and offers to return them.

Since the discovery of the theft, the FBI and private detectives have tracked hundreds of leads and dealt with dozens of intermediaries for individuals who contend they can lead investigators to the missing artwork. Invariably, the trails have come to dead ends, as information could not be corroborated or tipsters proved to be fakers, with an eye only for the reward money of $ 5 million. In late April 1994, the museum received a message that Gardner officials regarded as the most promising lead ever in the case. An anonymous letter writer said he could facilitate the return of the paintings in exchange for $2.6 million and full immunity from prosecution for the thieves and those who held the paintings. Because the overture involved a request for immunity from prosecution, the museum turned the letter, postmarked in New York, over to the FBI. The letter writer showed considerable knowledge of the paintings and of the international art world. He said the stolen paintings were being stored in archival conditions, and had not yet been sold. The writer proposed a clandestine way for the museum to respond. If the Gardner was open to negotiating a ransom deal, it should send a signal by arranging to have the numeral “1” inserted in the US-foreign dollar exchange listing for the Italian lira that would be published in The Boston Sunday Globe on May 1, 1994. And, in fact, that Sunday, the numeral “1” was listed a few spaces in front of the actual US dollar exchange rate for the lira.

Matthew V. Storin, editor of The Globe in 1994, said he was told of the letter’s contents and agreed to insert the numeral — being careful not to make the currency listing itself inaccurate — at the request of Richard S. Swensen, the special agent in charge of the FBI Boston office.

The following week, the museum received a second letter. The letter writer was encouraged to see that the museum was interested in negotiating an exchange but was alarmed by the aggressive reaction by federal, state, and local law enforcement. “Right now I need time to both think and start the process to insure confidentiality of the exchange.” And then he never wrote to the museum again.

Investigators have also sought clues to the identity of the thieves in the particular objects they stole, and those they left behind. They wonder, for example, why the men took pen-and-ink sketches by Degas from the Short Gallery and left behind a far more valuable Michelangelo nearby. The motion detectors also show that the thieves never bothered to go to the museum’s third floor, where the most valuable piece in the museum’s collection — Titian’s “Europa” — hangs. Where the paintings were, empty frames now fill the museum’s walls. But, while there is sadness at the loss, the museum has recovered, say regular visitors. The museum has become “the vibrant centre for the arts it was in Gardner’s day.”

Planned art

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840 – July 17, 1924) was a flamboyant woman. She was one of Boston’s most exciting figures, known in the society papers as “Mrs. Jack.” Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at a very formal Boston Symphony) wearing a white headband emblazoned with “Oh, you Red Sox” was reported to have “almost caused a panic”. After her husband’s death in 1898, Gardner began work on her museum. She modelled it on the Renaissance palaces of Venice and Italy. The building surrounds a glass-covered garden courtyard, the first of its kind in the U.S. Gardner intended the second and third floors to be galleries. She lived on the fourth floor when in residence.

Gardner insisted that the galleries be designed as a palatial home, not a museum. She left a will in which she stipulated that the displays should never be altered. In one gallery is a painting of her, as she steps in from a balcony with her jewellery swaying in the movement. At the end of the visit, in the last gallery, is a beautiful painting of Isabella Stewart Gardner in a black dress. It looks like she placed herself there to take leave of the visitors to her home.

Keywords: Isabella Stewart Museum

October 3rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts

1 October 2010 Last updated at 14:53 ET
Two antique lead statues stolen from Mortimer home
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-11457229

Two antique lead statues worth about £15,000 have been stolen from a Berkshire home.

Burglars got into the garden of the house in Mortimer Lane, Mortimer, before stealing the 5ft-high (1.5m) figures.

One is of a woman carrying a basket, which is worth about £12,000, while the other is of a mermaid, worth £3,000.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the thefts, which happened between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

October 3rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Lawsuit Filed In Pebble Beach Art Heist Case
http://www.ksbw.com/news/25239646/detail.html

Alleged Victims File Defamation Lawsuit

POSTED: 7:59 am PDT October 1, 2010
UPDATED: 9:12 am PDT October 1, 2010

MONTEREY, Calif. — Two men who said they are the victims of a multimillion-dollar art heist in Pebble Beach last year have filed a lawsuit against Monterey County and members of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by Dr. Ralph Kennaugh and Benjamin Amadio claims defamation and false light statements were made by Monterey County, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Mike Kanalakis, Monterey County Sheriff spokesman Mike Richards and 25 John Does.
PDF: Pebble Beach Art Heist Complaint
The lawsuit comes nearly a year after Kennaugh and Amadio reported a theft of artworks from their rental home at Pebble Beach on Sept. 25.
The stolen collection — which includes works by Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt and Van Gogh — was estimated to be worth as much as $80 million.
The first court date for the case has been set for Feb. 25, 2011.
A press conference to discuss the lawsuit is scheduled to be held at the Monterey County courthouse on Tuesday.
Both Amadio and Kennaugh said they believe the heist was an inside job and done by a professional who had knowledge of what art was at the home.
As for the investigation into the art theft, sheriff’s investigators said they haven’t seen any new evidence, which left them with their original question: Did the artwork ever exist, and was there even a crime?
So far, the sheriff’s department has sent nothing to the district attorney’s office which would be necessary before any charges could be filed against anybody.
Refresh KSBW.com for more on this developing story.

October 1st, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation, lawsuit

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October 1st, 2010

Posted In: musical instrument theft

NY lawyer convicted in Dead Sea Scrolls case
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gznCOrQo0Iw8H1s_BUyqyDXHcO8AD9IIHPS81?docId=D9IIHPS81
By COLLEEN LONG (AP) – 18 hours ago

NEW YORK — A scholar’s son was convicted Thursday of using online aliases to harass and discredit his father’s detractors in a heated academic debate over the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A Manhattan jury found Raphael Golb guilty of 30 counts against him, including identity theft, forgery and harassment. He was acquitted of one count of criminal impersonation.

Golb didn’t react as he heard the verdict in the unusual criminal trial over claims of Internet impersonation — even more unusual because of its arcane subject. He said outside court he wasn’t surprised by the verdict, because he felt the judge’s instructions to the jury were biased. He planned to appeal. As he sat on a bench, he said: “I’m stoic.”

“I’m looking forward to the appeal,” he said. “But not with joy, just because that is what happens next.”

Prosecutors said Golb, 50, used fake e-mail accounts and wrote blog posts under assumed names to take his father’s side in an obscure but sharp-elbowed scholarly dispute over the scrolls’ origins. Golb acknowledged on the stand that he crafted the e-mails and blog posts, but said the writings amounted to academic whistle-blowing and blogosphere banter — not crime. He said he was using irony, satire and parody to expose a plagiarist.

Defense Attorney Ron Kuby said the case was a clear violation of the First Amendment.

“Today what happened was the District Attorney of New York County and the trial court made hurting somebody’s feelings a criminal act,” he said. “And in New York, hurting people’s feelings or being annoying is not a crime, we call that Monday.”

The jury deliberated about five hours. Golb was acquitted of impersonating one scholar, but convicted of identity theft, harassment and criminal impersonation of Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, a longtime rival of his father’s whom he said plagiarized research and was never punished. Schiffman took the case to authorities.

Golb’s father and Schiffman, who is chairman of New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies have long disagreed on the origins of the texts. Schiffman says they were assembled by a sect known as the Essenes. Norman Golb, a University of Chicago professor, believes the writings to be the work of a range of Jewish groups and communities.

Scholars are split on the debate; there are supporters of both arguments.

Raphael Golb, a linguistics scholar and lawyer with degrees from Oberlin College, Harvard University and NYU, said he was angry the plagiarism accusations were never brought to light and that his father’s theory was being smeared online.

Golb created an account under Schiffman’s name and sent messages from it to Schiffman’s students and colleagues. They pointed to blog posts about the plagiarism allegation and asked the recipients to help keep it quiet. “This is my career at stake,” some of the e-mails said.

The blog posts, too, were Raphael Golb’s work under other names, prosecutors said. They said he also opened up e-mail accounts in the names of other scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Schiffman denies copying Norman Golb’s work and says he’s never had a personal problem with the Chicago historian.

He said in a statement Thursday that he was appreciative of the work on the case.

“Let us hope that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business — interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity,” he said.

Jurors left without speaking to reporters. During the three-week trial, they were given a history lesson on the more than 2,000-year-old documents, found in caves in Israel in the 1940s by a Bedouin shepherd searching for a lost goat. The texts contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible and have provided important insight into the history of Judaism and the beginnings of Christianity.

Access to the scrolls was tightly controlled by a group known as the monopoly. Jewish scholars — including Norman Golb — were not allowed to evaluate them. The controlled access to the scrolls continues, Golb argued during his testimony. He said his father was excluded from participating in workshops and museum exhibits on the texts while other more popular scholars were invited.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said stealing money isn’t the only type of identity fraud.

“Using fictitious identities to impersonate victims is not what open academic debate seeks to foster,” he said.

Golb faces at least four years in prison on the top charge when he is sentenced Nov. 18. He is free until then.

While Internet impersonation claims have generated lawsuits, prosecutions are rare unless phony identities are used to steal money, experts say.

In one high-profile prosecution, Missouri mother Lori Drew was accused of helping her daughter and a friend pose as a teen boy on MySpace to send hurtful messages to a 13-year-old neighbor girl. The girl committed suicide.

A federal jury in California, where MySpace has its servers, convicted Drew of misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization. A judge overturned the verdict and acquitted her.

Associated Press Writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.

October 1st, 2010

Posted In: lawsuit, legal issues and the law