Art Crime

Explores the growing trend of art crime through a focus on five primary areas: theft, fraud, smuggling, forgery, and vandalism. These will be examined within the context of international and New Zealand case studies, including the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911, Nazi looting in World War II, and thefts during the Iraq War in 2003. Ways to curb such crime, particularly the development of art crime squads, will also be discussed.

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Course outline

This course explores the growing trend of art crime through a focus on theft, illicit antiquities, looting, vandalism and forgery. These will be examined within the context of global and New Zealand case studies, including the theft of the “Mona Lisa” in 1911, Nazi looting in World War II and thefts during the Iraq War in 2003. Ways to curb such crime, particularly the development of art crime squads, will also be discussed.

The area of art crime is interdisciplinary, drawing on the fields of art history, criminology, law, anthropology and archaeology, to name just a few. This is the only art crime course available through a university in Australasia.

Previous students commended the fact that this course was “quite unlike any other in Art History” and that they “enjoyed the diverse topics covered”. They also said that it “allowed them to apply their existing knowledge about other subjects such as Renaissance and Pacific art in new ways”, such as thinking about their roles in relation to the art market and to art theft.

Students who complete the course have skills which will help them in future studies in Art History or Museums and Cultural Heritage, both here and overseas. You can carry on your interest in this area through supervised projects at both Honours and Masters. Ngarino has supervised students on metals theft in the UK and looting in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, so there is scope for you to develop your research in this field.

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Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you will:

  • Be able to define the key areas of art crime and illustrate each with a case study
  • Be able to identify key components of the art market and art world which influence art crime and how these change in relation to place and time
  • Be able to compare and contrast different case studies of art crime globally, especially in relation to non-Western art
  • Have been encouraged and offered the opportunity to acquire transferrable art historical skills including:
    • The understanding of the social, cultural and political context in which art is made and its later use/function
    • The identification, critical assessment and application of a variety of source materials in the preparation of coursework
    • The writing and editing of course assignments
    • Defining and defending an independent point of view
    • Communicating and presenting ideas orally and in writing
    • Participating constructively in groups

Terms & Conditions

This programme gives you the opportunity to attend regular lectures in a selection of courses, alongside enrolled students as an observer. Please note that you are not eligible to attend tutorials, take part in assessments, sit for exams and will not have access to course material online. You will be provided with a course outline to keep you up to date with the topics discussed in class every week. This is a no-stress learning opportunity.

Details

  • 12 weeks, 3 March - 2 June, Tuesday 10am--12pm
  • $355.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Ngārino Ellis

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