Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More on the Paris Art Theft

There's been lots of coverage of the big art theft from a Paris museum last week. Derek Fincham collects some of it here. Some of the more interesting commentary, there and elsewhere:

ARCA's Noah Charney tells Time: "The theft has all the markings of organized crime, which, since the 1960s, has been responsible for most art crime worldwide. There is no market for such works, and they are most likely to either be ransomed, or to be used for trade or collateral on a closed black market, traded for other illicit goods such as drugs or arms between criminal groups."

Tom Flynn: "Regrettably, art thefts offer yet another illustration of how fundamentally unsustainable the encyclopedic museum has become in the twenty-first century."

Jori Finkel in the LA Times: Do you blame the thief who snagged the paintings or the Paris museum that let them go?

NY Times: Seeking clues.

Washington Post: "Why doesn't thievery of this magnitude occur as often in the United States?"

"Gardner Heist" author Ulrich Boser in the Wall Street Journal: "No criminal mastermind was required here. It turns out that the museum had been about as secure as a woodshed. The alarm system had been malfunctioning for almost two months, and while the museum had ordered replacement parts, they had not yet arrived. It also appears that the museum's guards may have been napping-or at least were remarkably inattentive. While cameras filmed the thief pilfering the works, it wasn't until the next morning that someone actually discovered the theft."

Gardner Museum security chief: "It can happen here."

BBC News looks at the five works, which Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones says "together add up to a better choice of the best art of the 20th century than you could find in most modern art museums."