notes: the forgery of venus by michael gruber

“the life of an international criminal is not a strenuous one, which is why it’s so popular.” p249

“he poured a glass of wine and drank some of it.  ‘we look at the world today and we see interesting things.  we say we are living in a global village, which is true enough, but what is not so often observed is that it is a village of fuedal times.  legitimacy – the empire, let us say – has collapsed.  religious fanaticism is widespread, of course.  art is simply loot, with no transcendent purposes or value.  on the one hand, in the so-called democracies, we see a political class composed of vapid hypocrites, beauty queens, and thugs, placed in office by propaganda and money.  in the other former empire, we observe the expropriation of state property by simple gangsters.  the rest of the world is ruled as it always has been, by tribal chieftains.  so we observe vast masses of new wealth being seized by people who are largely amoral brutes – on a larger scale, just what happened in the original dark ages or in germany in the thirties.  essentially, therefore, much of the world is controlled by a kind of condottiere.  but unlike the originals, these men like to dwell in the shadows.  i am speaking, you understand, not about the figureheads, the leaders we see on the television, but the henchmen – the corrupt company officers, the fixers, central american and african looters.  and this class blends into actual gangsters, the more respectable drug lords and arms dealers, the asian triads, the yakuzas, and so forth.  and because they dwell in the shadows they desire symbols of their status, so they can look every day and know they are somebody, and this is why art is stolen from museums and collections.’

“‘yeah, but that has nothing to do with forgery.  why are these guys getting involved in this particular opertion?’

“‘ordinarily they would not; art forgery, as i’m sure you know, has historically been a petty affair.  but in recent years all this has changed.  the market value of paintings by the noble dead has increased by orders of magnitude.  hundred-million-dollar auctions are not unknown.  and this kind of money can attract the sort of people we are talking about.'” p259

the forgery of venus, by michael gruber, 2008 william morrow

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About jeanne

artist, grandma, alien

Posted on May 14, 2010, in research. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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