A short article of mine for Flaunt Magazine: on how best to steal art from LACMA
The Secret History of Art – Noah Charney on Art Crimes and Art Historical Mysteries
Ghent may be the coolest small city in Europe. It combines an incredible history (for a long while it was the second largest city in Europe, behind Paris), with great art (Van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is the single most-influential painting in history), kind people (who speak excellent English, making it easy for visitors), charming atmosphere, exotic gothic architecture, and a vibrant, avant-garde youth culture (with 60,000 university students in a city of only around a quarter million). But what surprises many visitors is just how good the food is. Belgium isn’t known for its food, waffles, beer, and moules-frites aside. There are top restaurants, of course (with quite a few Michelin stars), and everyone loves fries, waffles, and beer, but a culinary tour of Belgium doesn’t have quite the same ring as its equivalent in France, Italy or Spain. A trip to Ghent, however, might just change your opinion. I recently spent four days in Ghent, but it’s a city I’ve visited often and come to love. It all began when I was researching a book, a history of Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, one of the most famous paintings in the world, colloquially called The Ghent Altarpiece. It was the first major oil painting, and was hugely influential from the moment it was completed, in 1432. It is also the most-frequently-stolen artwork in history (featuring in the upcoming Monuments Men film). I was also interested in exploring the culinary side of the city and I was not disappointed.
My How I Write interview this week, in The Daily Beast, is with James McBride, fresh off his win of the National Book Award.
The Secret History of Art Podcast will begin featuring selected audio interviews from the popular weekly How I Write series in The Daily Beast, in which I interview fellow authors about the writing life and tricks of the trade. We begin with my interview with mega-best-selling author of Eat Pray Love fame, Elizabeth Gilbert. You can subscribe to The Secret History of Art Podcast for free via iTunes on the computer or directly through your smartphone, iPad or iPod. Interviews with Ann Patchett, Jared Diamond, Tracy Chevalier, and many more will follow.
The Secret History of Art’s first article for The Guardian newspaper was an “editor’s pick” and the most popular article of the day. It investigates whether the Nazis stole the Mona Lisa. In short, they thought they did, but in fact they stole a copy, boxed up as the original, and sent on a wild goose chase through the south of France, while the original never left Paris. Check out the article here.
The Secret History of Art just returned from a very busy business trip to London. While there I filmed a pilot for a new series that I’d host on forgery, if green-lit. I spoke at an ARCA-organized symposium on art crime, held at the V&A Museum–it was sold-out and will receive a lot of media coverage. Then I met the director of a documentary film that is paired with the upcoming “Monuments Men” movie, in which I will feature (off to Belgium and Austria next week for filming). I met the Guardian newspaper arts editor and received my first few article assignments. I was interviewed for articles in the Guardian and the Times. And I met another production company developing TV programs that I’ll host and write.
The Secret History of Art is off to London for a short business trip. I’m filming for three TV programs, one new series on forgery that I’ll present, and two one-offs, one on art theft for the BBC, and another on the Monuments Men for National Geographic.