Andrew Shortland and Patrick DegryseJun 3, 2022
When Art Isn’t Real
The World's Most Controversial Objects under Investigation
Leuven University Press 2022
In When Art Isn’t Real: The World's Most Controversial Objects under Investigation (Leuven University Press, 2022), Dr. Andrew Shortland and Dr. Patrick Degryse examine how an initially valueless object becomes worth hundreds of millions. And vice versa.
The art world is a multi-billion-dollar industry which captures world headlines on a regular basis, for both good and bad reasons. This book deals with one of the most-discussed areas of controversy: high-profile objects that have experts arguing about their veracity. Some may have been looted, others may be fakes, some may be heavily restored or misattributed. Often, in these cases, analytical science is called on to settle a dispute.
The authors of this book have decades of experience in this field, working on a range of objects dating from prehistory to the twentieth century. They present seven of the most famous cases from the Getty Kouros to the Turin Shroud – some of which are still contested, and examine how a few words from a connoisseur or scientist can make a virtually valueless object worth hundreds of millions. And vice versa.
“We want to give readers some feel for the people involved. A feel for those period or material experts who give their opinion on an object’s validity from its looks, feel, even smell. A feel for the analysts, who employ their sicnetific equipment to the object and give their opinion from the numbers and pictures that are derived from them. A feel for the experts working with, in parallel with, and occasionally against each other.”
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.