ArtCrime2018: “Provenance matters”

The New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust held its annual Art Crime Symposium, with the theme “Provenance Matters”, at the City Gallery, Wellington on Saturday 22 September 2018.

The Symposium was opened by Her Excellency, The Rt Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.

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The presentations started with a fascinating insight into the troubled provenance of Edward Bullmore’s Icon No.3, provided by one of our founding trustees Penelope Jackson.

Andrew Moffat then described the fractured history of the “toppled trooper”, a New Zealand Wars statue.  Andrew is a curator, historian, writer and researcher, currently the Exhibitions Content Developer at Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth. 

After a break for morning tea, Linda Tyler, Director of the Centre for Art Studies at the University of Auckland, detailed a fascinating situation in which an exhibition history has been built for some fake Frances Hodgkins works.

We then heard from Melbourne-based curator and and researcher Felicity Strong about the use and abuse of provenance research in art fraud.

In the afternoon, Nina Lala, an insurance litigation lawyer with a specialist interest in art law, considered the R v Gant & Siddique case involving fraud and questionable authenticity.

Jonathan Barrett then enlightened the audience about the technology of blockchain, and how it could resolve the problems of provenance.  Jonathan is a commercial law lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington.

The last speaker of the day, Leigh Paterson, considered appropriation and censorship in graphic design.  Leigh is a lecturer in Communication Design at Otago Polytechnic, College of Art, Design and Architecture 

To end the day, all the presenters returned to the floor for a Q&A session with the audience, chaired by Trustee Penelope Jackson.


A fascinating day of presentations concluded with a cocktail function in the foyer of the City Gallery, at which attendees mingled and discussed the topics and ideas they had heard throughout the day.

We are are looking forward to our fifth anniversary Symposium in 2019!


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