The New York Times gives the details on a new interdisciplinary program on art crimes being taught in Italy but featuring speakers like Virginia Curry, a retired FBI agent with experience in the field:
Noah Charney, an American, is the director of the program and founding director of the group that sponsors it, the Association for Research Into Crimes Against Art (which also consults on what it calls art protection and recovery cases). He said the time was ripe “for academic study to help inform future police enforcement.” According to the association’s Web site (artcrime.info) Italy has by far the most art crime, with “approximately 20,000 art thefts reported each year.”
Citing Interpol, Mr. Charney said art crime was the third-highest-grossing illegal worldwide business, after drugs and weapons. Interpol itself says on its Web site (interpol.int) that it knows of no figures to make such a claim. […]
“This is what happens when good people go bad,” Ms. Curry began, before Power-Pointing through case studies of graduate students, museum directors and professors who succumbed to temptation. (She did note that “you can make more money working for McDonald’s than as a museum intern,” though she did not suggest that this justified criminal behavior.)
Universities around the world offer individual classes on art crime and related subjects: fakes and forgeries; intellectual- and cultural-property protection; looting. But Mr. Charney maintains that his program is the first to provide an interdisciplinary approach, and several scholars of art crime concurred, including Ngarino Ellis at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who said the group “could make some important contributions to the awareness of art crime internationally.” The degree is not formally recognized by an accredited university, though Mr. Charney said he was in discussion with various institutions. (Tuition alone costs about $7,000.)
The first class of students includes art historians, lawyers, museum professionals, art conservators, a private investigator, even a retired United States Secret Service agent, an array that suggests that the subject has broad appeal.
A Masters in Art Crime (No Cloak and Dagger) (New York Times)