"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 Master’s program in International Art Crime studies 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.