An elite group of art thieves breaking into an Egyptian museum is a romanticized notion that movies and works of fiction have speculated about for what seems like centuries. For today’s museums, however, protecting ever-popular ancient works of art is a huge and costly reality. The need to protect artifacts from theft, while still allowing patrons to see and learn from these works, is a complicated science. Security on all popular works of art is important, but it is specifically important for ancient works, which are subject to natural erosion and destruction over time as well as destruction due to crime.
The laws pertaining to art theft cases have always been subject to changes and upheavals. As of today, there is a twenty-year statute of limitations on art theft. However, in the past, the government only allowed a five-year statute of limitations for general thefts, including artwork. How long an investigation should continue before the FBI finds a culprit or the case closes without a conclusion has always been subject for debate. This debate continues now that the statute of limitations has expired on one of the biggest art thefts in the world- the theft from the Isabella Gardner Museum.
“No photograph ever changed anything all by itself, for photographs are highly dependent creatures and their influence is entirely contingent on words, circumstances, distribution, and belief systems “ is quoted from ‘under the influence of photography’ by Goldberg. This quote explains a lot about why the photograph ‘Dali Atomicus’ by Phillippe Halsman has a great cultural significance. It has such an importance culturally because it not only explains a lot about physics, looking inside the idea of suspension, but it also has a cultural impact because of the context behind the image and its important message. The photograph’s message seems to be that if you work hard, the product you end up with will be worth it. This image affects me personally because of the message it portrays in such a joyful way.
There are many intrigues surrounding the house of Jacques Coeur, just as interesting, in fact, is the life of the man who owned the house. From a successful businessperson to a man framed for crimes against the king, he and his home have seen it all. Jacques Coeur’s house in Bourges is an important standing reminder of the Middle Ages in France, as well as a moral reminder of the risks of great wealth and debt.
Ben Vautier is an artist not only associated with the artists of the Fluxus Movement in art history, but also those artists out of Nice, France in the 1960s. These artists out of Nice can be analyzed through the lens of The Society of the Spectacle (1967) --DeBord’s Marxist-based philosophy of economy. Ben Vautier’s Window in particular seems less resonant with the Fluxus ideals of many of his other works, especially when analyzed in the same terms as Arman’s accumulation pieces or Yves Klein’s blue monochrome paintings- and several other works of early 1960’s artists that will be mentioned throughout the essay. However, this analysis of Ben’s Window and ‘the spectacle’ changes when looking through the differences between his 1962 living sculpture in The Festival of Misfits exhibition and the 1993 exhibition of Ben’s Window at the Walker Art Center.
Analyzing a constellation of artists in Nice, France, during the late 1950s and early 1960s-- such as Arman, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, and Ben Vautier as well as Claes Oldenburg in New York at the same time-- it becomes apparent that the art of the time is interested in a dialogue about consumer culture and the impact that consumers have on the art market, as well as the post-war conventions of art gallery display especially the gallery window. Arman’s accumulation pieces, however, suggest not only a commentary on institutional conventions of artistic display, but also suggest a commentary on other types of conventional uses of the vitrine as a way to display and categorize objects. Arman’s work with vitrines brings up the convention of displaying artifacts within an anthropological or natural history museum, which can be compared with a display model in a store and can further be compared with an art object in a fine art museum. His work also suggests correlations among the vitrine, the storefront, and the gallery window. This triangulation leads viewers of Arman’s work to understand how collectable and recycled objects function as ‘unusable, yet sellable.’ This is best seen in the two to three years when the French New Realists invaded the New York 1962 New Realists exhibition out of Sidney Janis Gallery pointing to their contradictory mechanisms of display.