Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Stolen moments

In a couple of weeks the second art crime symposium kicks off at Wellington’s City Gallery. The art crimes under discussion don’t involve the production and presentation of bad art but rather the theft, forgery and trafficking of any art. No doubt there’ll also be room to talk over some of the serious (the armed theft of a Tissot painting from the Auckland Art Gallery), the opportunistic (the removal of a £1,000 painting in 1908 from the NZ Academy of Fine Arts and consequent payment to an ‘A G Ransom’ to get it back), the destructive (the slashing of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery’s painting Glasgerion by G Sheridan in 1944) and the ludicrous (Dr Jack Rucinski convincing Robert McDougall director John Coley that he had found Psyche, a painting that went missing in 1942 - when he certainly had not).

Hopefully there will also be time enough to explore the logistics of one of the most audacious art thefts in New Zealand’s history: the disappearing of a life-sized set of seven nativity figures nicked from a storage facility in Taihape.  Joseph, Mary and Jesus et al were the work of Martin Roestenburg, the sculptor who also made the too-big-to-be-stolen giant statue Our Mother of Lourdes in Paraparaumu.

The symposium starts on 15 October and you can book here.