If you have ever thought tax fraud could not be sexy, Edge of the Crowd’s inaugural culture podcast Crimes Against Art is here to introduce you to the world of art crimes and crimes against art.
Michelle Guo and Isobel Lake are passionate about the eccentric tales of art world crimes and have many thoughts on the never-ending assaults against the art world.
Where art crimes encompass art forgeries and fraud such as the Knoedler Gallery scandal, and art thefts like the Isabelle Stewart Gardner heist in 1990, they could also just be a bit of bad sense, with slightly dodgy art restorations providing constant fodder for our entertainment.
Art crimes can expand beyond the confines of visual arts, with many scandals conflating the broader arts sector of performance art and theatre, the literary and media industry, the fashion world, and even touching on the corporate spaces of tech and law firms.
Crimes Against Art is a slightly broader topic of discussion, touching on areas including the desecration of cultural monuments during wartime, cultural appropriation, cultural repatriation by major institutions, but also NFTs, and the appropriation of the artworld’s cultural cachet by corporate capitalism.
Although art crimes telescope beyond the simple theft of a Picasso, at their heart these scandals reveal how we value art as a society, and the power these objects hold over us. These incidents force us to confront the tensions between the material and monetary value of art, and their perceived cultural importance.
Even if we can generally agree that art is an important and good thing for modern society, art crimes test how that value plays out. How much do we really care when a millionaire collector is duped by a fake work? Or an inexplicable performance piece such as Maurizio Cattelan's infamous banana taped to a wall?
As Michelle and Isobel open up the conversation in the inaugural episode Crimes Against Art, you can expect all these questions to be interrogated throughout the series.
For all the other shows on Edge of the Crowd’s podcast network, you can visit here.