visit the CPCR blog Cultural Security - Research part of: CulturalSecurity.net
home models cultural intelligence cultural property index bios contact

Cultural Security - Research Publications (see also Art World Intelligence)   Visit the CPCR blog.

2016 Cultural Currency: Security-Intelligence Services Shape the Strategic Value of Art in Foreign Policy
in Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves , Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

2015 Cultural Security: Evaluating the Power of Culture in International Affairs
Imperial College Press, London, 2015

2013 "Alternative Power: Political Economy of Cultural Property"
Journal of International Affairs, Columbia University, SIPA, 08 February 2013

2012 "Strategic Value of African Tribal Art: Auction Sales Trends as Cultural Intelligence"
Intelligence and National Security, 27:2, 302-316

2012 "Security of Cultural Property: U.S. Engagement and Potential for Improvement"
E-Conservation Magazine, Issue 23, 71-77

2011 "Art Sales as Cultural Intelligence: Analysis of the Auction Market for African Tribal Art"
African Security, 4:2, 127-144

2011 "Collecting Cultural Intelligence: The Tactical Value of Cultural Property"
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 24:2, 217-238

2010 "Market Value of Culture: Quantifying the Risk of Antiquities Looting"
Blouin Creative Leadership Summit - Latest News, September

2010 "The Art of Cultural Intelligence: Intelligence for Countering Threats to Cultural Property in Conflict"
Forum Archaeologiae, 55:6 (http://farch.net)

2010 Conflict Art: Scholars Develop the Tactical Value of Cultural Patrimony
Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23:2, 299-323

2009Plunderer and Protector of Cultural Property: Security-Intelligence Services Shape the Strategic Value of Art in Foreign Policy
Journal of Art Crime, 1:1, 25-40

2009The Artifacts of Wartime Art Crime: Evidence for a Model of the Evolving Clout of Cultural Property in Foreign Affairs
in Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World, Praeger, pp. 203-224

2008Art-Intelligence Programs: The Relevance of the Clandestine Art World to Foreign Intelligence
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 21:2, 355–374

2007Cultural Security: The Evolving Role of Art in International Security
Terrorism and Political Violence, 19:1, 19-42

cultural security






Erik Nemeth, "Cultural Security: The Evolving Role of Art in International Security"
Terrorism and Political Violence
, 19:1, 19-42, 2007.

Abstract
By examining the historically progressive role of cultural property in terrorism and political violence, this paper reveals the evolving significance of art to international security. Over the past two centuries, abuse of antiquities and fine art has evolved from the spoils-of-war into a medium for conducting terrorism which strives to erase the cultural heritage of ‘the other’. In contrast to wartime destruction and plunder which date back millennia, the growth of the art market over the past fifty years has created opportunities for novel abuses of cultural property. Since World War II, maturing international awareness has recognized the threat which armed conflict and looting pose to cultural property, but in parallel, art trafficking and the politics of cultural property have become tools for transnational organized crime and terrorist groups. The resulting unique intersection of issues in art, politics and counterterrorism forms the basis for a new field—cultural security. After an assessment of topical security threats which suggest the need for such a field, the paper concludes by speculating on international-security risks precipitating from antiquities trafficking and collecting.
(top)



Erik Nemeth, "Art-Intelligence Programs: The Relevance of the Clandestine Art World to Foreign Intelligence"
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence
, 21:2, 355–374, 2008.

Abstract
In the background of immediate threats of terrorism and political violence, a non-physical, insidious threat to international security develops. Progressive abuses against cultural heritage support campaigns of terrorism while simultaneously undermining the political credibility of targeted nations. This paper emphasizes the need for art-centric intelligence to counter the political and financial benefits that terrorist groups gain from the erosion of cultural heritage. Primary types of erosion include wanton destruction of cultural property in campaigns of ethnic cleansing, looting of undocumented cultural artifacts, and collateral damage to historic buildings and religious monuments during military action against terrorist groups. While all types of destruction confer political clout on terrorist groups, wartime destruction and looting of cultural artifacts directly impact nations that combat terrorism. During armed conflict, invading nations incur political liability by negligently damaging cultural property. Similarly, so-called collecting nations incur political liability as private individuals encourage erosion of cultural heritage by creating a viable market for looted antiquities. Through an informal proposal for an art-intelligence program, this paper examines immediate political risks engendered by physical erosion of cultural heritage and speculates on evolving threats to international security as transnational terrorist groups capitalize on the intangible value of manipulating cultural identity.
(top)



Erik Nemeth, "The Artifacts of Wartime Art Crime: Evidence for a Model of the Evolving Clout of Cultural Property in Foreign Affairs"
in Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World, edited by Noah Charney, Praeger, pp. 203-224, 2009.

Abstract
Reflection on wartime treatment of artworks, historic buildings, and religious monuments since World War I reveals the compounding value of cultural property in foreign affairs. The poignant plunder of artworks during World War II has led to a history of restitution that suggests a model for the resolution of wartime art crime. The exploitation of cultural artifacts in developing nations during the Cold War era tests the model for repatriation of antiquities, and the destruction of historic and religious monuments in the post-Cold War period offers an opportunity to apply the model in predictive analysis for strategies in foreign policy. Specific examples illustrate the maturing market value of Nazi plunder. Successful restitution cases and an expanding art market inspire repatriation of looted antiquities. The financial and political significance of artworks decades after the wartime art crime indicate that the clout of displaced cultural property in foreign affairs increases with time.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Plunderer and Protector of Cultural Property: Security-Intelligence Services Shape the Strategic Value of Art"
Journal of Art Crime
, 1:1, 25-40, 2009.

Abstract
International conventions that criminalize wartime abuse of cultural property and bilateral treaties that target trafficking in antiquities reflect evolving consideration for looted art in foreign policy. Since the poignant plunder of Jewish collections by Nazi authorities, restitution of artworks has garnered political clout, and looting of developing nations during the Cold War era compounded the significance of cultural property in foreign affairs. In parallel, the increasing financial volume of the art market over the past half-century has attracted the attention of transnational organized crime and has implications for funding of terrorist groups. This paper examines how security-intelligence services of World War II and the Cold War have controlled the looting and recovery of fine art and antiquities. The examination reveals that, in the post-Cold War period, the areas of application for foreign intelligence on looted art have expanded from diplomacy to security policy.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Conflict Art: Scholars Develop the Tactical Value of Cultural Patrimony"
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
, 23:2, 299-323, 2011.

Abstract
Historically, empires recruited scholars to capture artworks as a complement to military victory. Over the past century, cultural scholars have integrated fine art and antiquities into campaigns of conquest and assessed the political ramifications of damage to historic sites and religious monuments in military intervention. Consequently, historians, archaeologists, and legal scholars have advanced the role of cultural patrimony in international conflict from a rite of conquest to a means of combat. In World War II, art historians in the Nazi regime planned plunder of artworks and destruction of historic structures as a tactic for conquest. During the Cold War, archaeological discoveries in developing nations enabled looting of cultural artifacts, and subsequent legal studies on the transfer of cultural property developed the value of cultural patrimony in the covert battle for control of the Third World. In the post-Cold War as transnational organized crime and terrorism exploit antiquities trafficking and target cultural sites in acts of political violence, scholars in international relations consider culture in security theories. Across the three periods of international conflict, cultural scholars have actively developed the tactical value of cultural patrimony and played a role in transforming the perception of plunder in the context of military victory.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Market Value of Culture: Quantifying the Risk of Antiquities Looting"
Blouin Creative Leedership Summit
, Latest News, Septermber 2010.

Abstract
The traditionally clandestine nature of the art market poses challenges to assessing looting and trafficking in developing nations. In the absence of direct information on transactions in source nations, sales at auction provide a sense of the market value and trade volume of antiquities and primitive art. Auction houses openly publish results of auctions and enable access to sales archives through web sites. On-line access to sales archives creates a substantive pool of data on hammer prices from auctions around the world. Sales archives also contain detailed descriptions of the artworks. The description that accompanies an auction lot can identify the geographic origin of the artwork. Data mining of sales archives for hammer price and origin enables analysis of market value by source nation. The analysis assesses relative market value and, thereby, contributes to an assessment of relative risks of looting across developing nations.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Collecting Cultural Intelligence: The Tactical Value of Cultural Property"
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence
, 24:2, 217-238, 2011.

Abstract
The tightening interrelation of cultural property and international security—cultural security—creates a need for the collection and analysis of specialized intelligence. “Cultural intelligence” enables assessments of the tactical and strategic significance of antiquities, fine art, and cultural heritage sites to national and regional security. This paper defines a framework for the collection of cultural intelligence as a fundamental asset in countering threats to cultural security. Looting of antiquities as a tactic in campaigns of cultural cleansing, trafficking in antiquities as a source of funding for insurgents, and targeting of historic structures and religious monuments in political violence represent distinct threats to regional security. A critical initial step in countering the threats includes marshaling appropriate sources of information. Publications that report on the art market and cultural property globally and players in the antiquities trade offer opportunities as sources of cultural intelligence. Ultimately, the development of tactical and strategic cultural intelligence can reveal trafficking networks and assess risks to cultural heritage sites. As a starting point, this paper identifies viable sources of cultural intelligence. Conflicts in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) provide examples in retrospect, while volatility in Mali presents an opportunity in the context of an emerging security risk. In conclusion, the paper speculates on the applications of cultural intelligence in regional security.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Art Sales as Cultural Intelligence: Analysis of the Auction Market for African Tribal Art"
African Security
, 4:2, 127-144, 2011.

Abstract
The market value of tribal art has implications for the risk of looting in Africa. Consequent trafficking in tribal art compromises security on the continent by eroding cultural identity, fostering public-sector corruption, and providing a source of revenue for insurgents. This paper examines auction sales of African tribal art for the continent as a whole and by individual nations of origin. Graphical analysis of sales data from the past nine years identifies distinct market trends for temporal comparison with security in nations from which the artworks originate. The analysis suggests that collecting trends in “market nations” may reflect perceptions of security in “source nations”.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Security of Cultural Property: U.S. Engagement and Potential for Improvement"
E-Conservation Magazine
, Issue 23, 71-77, 2012.

Abstract
Recent armed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and political violence in Egypt have revealed the strategic significance of cultural property. This paper assesses the role of historic sites and antiquities in foreign engagement. Over the past century, U.S. foreign policy has had successes and shortcomings in leveraging protection of cultural patrimony to strategic advantage. The contrast of successful policy on the protection of immovable cultural property, such as religious monuments, in armed conflict and missed opportunities for tactical intelligence on the trade in movable cultural property, such as antiquities trafficking, identifies potential for development of foreign policy.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Strategic Value of African Tribal Art: Auction Sales Trends as Cultural Intelligence"
Intelligence and National Security
, 27:2, 302-316, 2012.

Abstract
Military engagement of insurgents risks destruction of religious monuments and historic structures, and political and economic instability that follows armed conflict enables looting of antiquities. In combination, threats to cultural structures and movable cultural patrimony compromise cultural security. This paper explores the potential of the art market for open-source intelligence assessments of cultural security. A comparison of the market value of artifacts of different ethnic origins provides a measure of the risk of looting of cultural patrimony by geographic region. Intelligence assessments of the relative desirability of cultural artifacts by region of origin can inform strategic planning to mitigate looting in conflict zones and to alert security services to emerging threats of trafficking in cultural patrimony.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, "Alternative Power: Political Economy of Cultural Property"
Journal of International Affairs
, Columbia University, SIPA, 08 February 2013.

Abstract
Legal and financial developments, and the ramifications for security, expand the significance of the political economy of cultural property. Specifically, the politics of cultural property and economics of the art market indicate a complement to hard and soft power in foreign relations. The source of the power is not the artworks and cultural heritage sites per se but the emotional appeal of art and the role of culture in identity. Antiquities, masterworks, and monuments are one aspect of art, and art is one aspect of culture. As such, markets for artworks and laws for protection of cultural heritage serve as indicators with which to track, and potentially anticipate, the political economy of cultural property in the twenty-first century.
(top)


Erik Nemeth, Cultural Security: Evaluating the Power of Culture in International Affairs
Imperial College Press, London, 2015.

Abstract
This book reveals the evolving significance of cultural property to international security and accordingly proposes a new field of study. Over the past two centuries, abuse of antiquities and fine art has evolved from the spoils-of-war into a medium for conducting terrorism which strives to erase the cultural heritage of ‘the other’. In contrast to wartime destruction and plunder, which date back millennia, the growth of the art market over the past fifty years has created opportunities for novel abuses of cultural property. Since World War II, maturing international awareness has recognized the threat that armed conflict and looting pose to cultural property, but in parallel, art trafficking and the politics of cultural property have become tools for organized crime and emerging nations. The resulting unique intersection of issues in cultural property, foreign policy, and national security forms the basis for a new field—cultural security. After an assessment of topical security threats, which suggest the need for such a field, the book concludes by speculating on the “alternative power” of an emerging political economy of cultural property.
(top)



Erik Nemeth, Cultural Currency: Security-Intelligence Services Shape the Strategic Value of Art in Foreign Policy
in Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves, edited by Noah Charney, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Abstract
International conventions that protect cultural property during armed conflict, along with bilateral treaties that target antiquities trafficking, indicate a need for intelligence on foreign cultural patrimony. The 'acquisition' of Jewish collections by Nazi authorities in World War II precipitated cases for restitution of the illicitly acquired artworks, and the international nature of the cases has developed the political clout of cultural property. Similarly, trafficking in antiquities from developing nations during the Cold War era has led to repatriation claims, which increase the significance of cultural property as currency in foreign relations. A simultaneous increase in the financial volume of the art and antiquities market has attracted the attention of transnational organized crime and creates funding opportunities for terrorist groups. This paper examines how security-intelligence services of World War II and the Cold War controlled both the looting and recovery of fine art and antiquities. The examination reveals the value of intelligence on foreign cultural property in diplomacy and countering threats to national security.
(top)


Santa Monica, California, USA erik.nemeth@culturalsecurity.org ©2001-2016 Cultural Security