Art Crime

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Overview

This is the only book by a criminologist to look at the full range of crime involving works of art: forgery, fraud, theft, smuggling, and vandalism. It is up to date, drawing on much material from the boom years of the art market in the 1980s and continuing up through the 1990s, and assimilating information from a variety of sources: art magazines, newspaper accounts, and the relatively small amount of scholarship on art crime by art historians and criminologists. In addition to considering the motives of thieves, the book looks at the way art theft is socially organized: the types of thefts that are committed, the ways thieves locate art to steal and how they gain access to it, their use of insiders and fronts, and the way they launder stolen art. The relationship between art theft and organized crime, especially drug traffickers, is investigated. After looking at explanations of art vandalism and the way vandals explain their behavior, the book concludes with a consideration of policies to curb art crime. The entire book is written in a highly entertaining way, packed with case studies of numerous crimes and stories of smuggling, grave-robbing, and skullduggery, that will appeal to a general audience as well as professionals and academics in criminology, sociology, and art history.

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Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
Criminologist Conklin's engaging and informative study of crime in the art world is the most thorough examination of this complex subject to appear in years. Art crime includes forgery, fraud, theft, smuggling, and vandalism of fine art, antiquities, and ethnographic objects; more often than not, it goes unreported. Experts hate to admit to being fooled by forgeries; dealers and collectors often indulge in fraud to inflate value but control costs; and many thefts are actually commissioned. Conklin describes examples of each type of art crime and, in the volume's most innovative sections, analyzes the social organization of the art world and the methods by which its denizens establish the value of art. It's curious that although art is treasured as an expression of humanity's spirituality, making art crime almost a sacrilegious act, art is also perceived merely as an investment just like gold, stocks, or bonds, thus arousing greed and dishonesty. Conklin goes on to track the skyrocketing of art prices over the past three decades and to characterize the modus operandi of art thieves and fraudulent dealers. He concludes by suggesting policies for combating art crime, an international phenomenon that has been growing exponentially.
Booknews
Criminologist Conklin (Tufts U.) looks at the full range of crime involving works of art: forgery, fraud, theft, smuggling, and vandalism. In addition to considering the motives of thieves, he looks at the way art theft is socially organized: the types of thefts that are committed, the ways thieves locate art to steal and how they gain access to it, their use of insiders and fronts, and the way they launder stolen art. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275947712
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Pages: 336
  • Lexile: 1460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN E. CONKLIN is Professor of Sociology at Tufts University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Value of Art

Fakes and Forgeries

Fraud

Art Theft: Opportunities and Motives

The Social Organization of Art Theft

The Distribution of Stolen Art

Vandalism

Curbing Art Crime

Bibliography

Index

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