Art crime conference planned at NYU


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Art Recovery Group and Jacob Fine Art are to hold the third annual Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Symposium at NYU Law School’s Lipton Hall in New York City on 4-6 June 2015.

The conference, organized in collaboration with New York University’s School of Professional Studies, will bring together some of the world’s leading commentators and experts to confer on a range of recognized and emerging threats.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Harry Ettlinger, the last surviving member of the Monuments Men, art forger Ken Perenyi, James Butterwick, a specialist in the Russian avant-garde, and Doreen Bolger and Marla Diaz, respectively Director and General Counsel of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Over 50 speakers, panellists and keynotes have been chosen from major museums and auction houses, law enforcement agencies and government departments as well as independent scholars and authors, legal and art market professionals, loss victims and scientists.

Perspectives from the commercial art trade will come from Sandra Cobden, vice president and General Counsel at Christie’s, and Jane Levine, global head of Compliance at Sotheby’s.  Jane C.H. Jacob, President of Jacob Fine Art, said: “The art market recognizes the need for greater professionalism and transparency and we are proud to be at the centre of those efforts.  The popularity of this conference demonstrates that due diligence, ethics and authenticity have never been more important to the business of art.”

Exploring one of this year’s most topical subjects, Amr al Azm, Middle East History and Anthropology, Shawnee State University and Michael Danti, U.S. Department of State and the American Schools of Oriental Research, will lead a panel on the protection of cultural heritage in the wake of IS activities in Syria and Iraq. Alice Farren-Bradley, Recoveries & Claims director for Art Recovery Group, whose expertise is in ancient history and archaeology, commented: “This year’s conference program continues to illustrate how serious and international a problem art crime is. It is clear that current issues affect every part of the art market and cultural heritage sector and require a committed, coordinated response.  We are proud to help further the debate on how cultural heritage crime can be tackled both at home and abroad.”

Bonnie Magness-Gardner, program manager of the FBI Art Crime Team and Laurie Rush, Army Archaeologist at Fort Drum will offer input from their governmental experiences.  James Martin, Orion Analytical, John Cahill, Cahill Partners, Sharon Flescher, IFAR, and New York Senator Betty Little, along with counsel will discuss the problems facing art experts.  The efforts to protect Jackson Pollock forgeries from entering the annals of art history will be led by counsel involved the Knoedler case, along the FBI and author of the Pollock Catalogue Raisonné.

The conference also offers accounts of world famous recovery cases, such as the recent recovery of three Nazi-looted works from the Gurlitt trove and the recovery of a Renoir painting discovered in a car boot sale having been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Christopher Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery Group, said: “With this annual conference we have been aiming to establish the ‘Davos of the art market’ – a focused discussion of the real issues in art and cultural heritage and the practical solutions to solving them. This year’s program is one of the strongest we’ve ever held and we are excited about what will be discovered and achieved over these three days in June.”

Each day of the conference will address a particular theme, focusing on stolen art, looting and spoliation, and fakes and forgeries respectively, and end with a panel discussion on possible solutions. It continues to provide an unparalleled forum for academics, art market professionals, lawyers, students and members of the press interested in the legal, geopolitical and commercial state of art and cultural heritage crime.

Terry Shtob, Faculty and Academic Chair, Arts, Humanities & Writing Programs at New York University School of Professional Studies, speaking of the event, said: “NYU SPS is delighted to co-organize the Art Crime Conference again and is proud of the standard of speakers we have attracted this year.  With more than 20 attorneys presenting, the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits provided through the conference will offer professional development to our attendees.”

A full list of confirmed speakers will be released in the coming weeks.



Picture credit: Victor/Creative Commons license.