INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from Artsy
Art forgeries are surprisingly common, to the point that scandals hit the news regularly. No one is safe from deception—forgers can be skilled enough to dupe experts at some of the world’s most prestigious museums. So what do these institutions do when valuable objects within their collections are challenged as being fake?
Among the most famous disputed works is the Getty Kouros. Last month, after years of debate and controversy, the Getty Museum finally conceded that its ostensibly ancient Greek statue is actually a modern forgery, and removed it from view. The museum had purchased the kouros—the art historical term for a statue of a nude youth—in 1985 for around $9 million.
Historians began questioning the statue’s authenticity the moment it emerged onto the public scene. The museum attempted to address forgery concerns in 1992 when it hosted a colloquium of scholars and scientists. Some experts asserted that the statue’s unusual and anachronistic style evidenced its modern origin. Critics also pointed to significant stylistic differences between the statue’s head and its feet, which made it difficult to trace to any known ancient Greek workshop. But others argued that the statue was real, and that its eclectic style was not sufficient to rule the work a fake. Lacking scholarly consensus, the authenticity of the work remained in limbo.
When art historians disagree over an artwork, sometimes scientific analysis of the object’s material can definitively date the piece. But it isn’t always so simple. Scientific analysis initially confirmed the Getty Kouros as an ancient object prior to the museum’s purchase, primarily because researchers found evidence of a chemical process that (they thought) could only occur naturally over centuries. Only later did scientists realize this process could be replicated in a lab. Skilled forgers are known to use age-appropriate materials to create fakes, and the forger in this instance artificially aged the marble.
The kouros' provenance is also murky. It appeared on the market in 1983 when dealer Gianfranco Becchina offered the work for sale. (Becchina later became infamous for dealing in looted works.) He provided documentation that purportedly traced the statue’s excavation back to Greece in the early 20th century. But there is no site of origin or excavation documentation to validate this claim, and provenance documents from the dealer turned out to be fabricated.
Until recently, however, the statue remained on view, next to a wall label reading “Greek, about 530 B.C. or modern forgery.” It was only in April, after major renovations at the Getty Villa, that the kouros disappeared from view and was placed in storage. “It’s fake, so it’s not helpful to show it along with authentic material,” Timothy Potts, the museum’s director, told the New York Times.
This is not the first time a museum has wrestled with the authenticity of a work in its collection. Collectors have been duped for millennia, and the forging of antiquities actually dates back to antiquity itself. The number of forgeries grew during the Renaissance, when collectors began aggressively acquiring ancient art.
As the Getty Kouros saga shows, one of the difficulties in classifying a work as a forgery is that attribution is fluid. Experts disagree over authorship, opinions shift over time, and technologies develop to reveal new information. Not surprisingly, authentic works have been downgraded, only to be reattributed later. Famously, the Metropolitan Museum of Art downgraded a Velázquez work, bequeathed to the museum in 1949, from a work created by the painter himself to one by the “workshop of Velázquez” in 1979. Forty years later, in 2009, the Met re-authenticated the painting as a real Velázquez. The attribution, made after the artist’s signature style was revealed by a cleaning and technical study of the piece, was proudly accompanied by academic publications and press releases.
Unfortunately, the Met has also unwittingly displayed forgeries, such as a group of Etruscan terracotta figures. The three figures, purchased between 1915 and 1921, were ostensibly discovered in an Italian field, but were actually created in a workshop. The works were put on display in 1933 and remained there for nearly three decades, during which time scholars voiced concern about the attribution.
Scientific analysis eventually confirmed this skepticism. Researchers found that the Met’s figures included a pigment that wasn’t used by the Etruscans. In 1961, the museum officially announced that the works were forgeries. The figures once identified as “5th Century B.C.” were relabeled as “modern.” Like with the Getty Kouros, the Etruscan warriors went into storage, only viewable to scholars and students.
One of the most alluring forgeries can be found at the British Museum: a crystal skull, known as an Aztec symbol of death. There are a number of crystal skulls in private and public collections, fascinating because of the mystery surrounding their origins and purported supernatural powers. Some posit that the skulls were carved thousands of years ago and that they have healing powers. There are even suggestions that their existence indicates that aliens visited the Aztecs.
Although a captivating story, science has proven that these skulls are neither ancient nor magical. Electron microscope analysis revealed that the skulls were made with modern instruments, and that they likely date to 19th-century Europe. And since none of the skulls were found during official archaeological excavations, the British Museum conjectures that they are all fakes.
While the museum recognizes its own skull as a fake, it devotes a lengthy page on its website to the object. Interestingly, the page does not use the terms “fake” or “forgery,” but concedes that the skull is “not an authentic pre-Columbian artefact” and “did not come from a source within the ancient trade network of Mexico.” The museum also acknowledges that its skull does not have supernatural properties; rather, it suggests that the skull encourages visitors to learn more about Aztec culture.
So, yes, forgeries understandably may not command the same respect and value as authentic works. But they can still attract people to museums, and can focus one’s attention on the real history and ancient culture behind the modern rip-offs.
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Reposted from WAMU
Museum visitors are accustomed to having docents guide them around the exhibits. But what if your guide was a metallic, glassy-eyed robot?
This isn’t Star Wars: Return of the Docents. It’s a program now underway at a half-dozen Smithsonian museums.
The robots — all named Pepper — are about four feet tall and bright white. They have big eyes and undeniably adorable little smiles. They don’t have legs, but they do have arms and hands that make eerily human-like gestures when they talk. They also don’t have an assigned gender.
The robots are currently deployed to guide visitors through areas of confusion at the selected Smithsonian museums, and draw people toward under-appreciated spots.
Where did they come from? San Francisco, of course.
After successfully pitching the idea of robot docents to the Smithsonian’s board last year, the Bay Area tech company Softbank Robotics decided to donate 30 Peppers. The company has already rolled out robots in Japan and Europe, mostly in retail settings. This is the first time Peppers are being used in a North American museum.
“We’re happy and proud to be able to partner with one of the premier museums in the world,” said Steve Carlin, Softbank Robotics’ chief strategy officer. He said his company hopes the Smithsonian rollout will serve as a pilot for other museums in the future.
A Pepper is stationed at the entrance of the African Art Museum on the National Mall, just past security. With its waving hands and cheerful greet (“Hi, my name is Pepper! Welcome to the National Museum of African Art!”), the robot is nearly impossible to miss.
Michelle Edwards, the museum’s docent coordinator, said that new visitors often feel confused right when they arrive. The information desk isn’t near the entrance, and the bulk of the museum’s exhibits are underground. That’s why Pepper’s first job was simple: Welcome visitors and direct them towards the exhibits.
But once Edwards saw the robot in action, she realized it could be doing more.
“I began to look at is as kind of an education tool,” she said. “So right now, our robot is speaking words in Kiswahili.”
Yes, the robot speaks Kiswahili (also referred to as Swahili). It invites visitors to say jambo (hello) with it, and gives them information about the museum’s new exhibit on Africa’s Swahili coast.
Rachel Goslins, the director of the Smithsonian’s Art and Industries Building, said she’s thrilled to see a Pepper being used this way. She’s leading the Pepper project, and said that when she first heard about Softbank Robotics’ donation, she had “a vision of a closet full of dusty angry robots coming to life in the middle of the night.”
“If it’s just a robot on the floor of a museum, it’s just a gimmick,” she said. “If it’s not solving a problem or helping advance a mission, then it’s not worth doing.”
Anecdotally, the Peppers seem to be working. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is using its Pepper to draw visitors toward its least-visited section, the interactive learning areas on the second floor. Goslins said the number of guests visiting that floor has doubled since a Pepper was deployed at the entrance a few weeks ago.
There are some challenges, Smithsonian staff say. It can take a while to correctly program the robots to do exactly what you want. Plus, the robots still need some human supervision when they’re out on the floor, which can be a time suck for staff.
“I don’t have kids, and so now that I have Pepper, I’m like, is this really what it’s like?” Edwards laughed. “I get into the office, and oh, there’s Pepper looking at me.”
Right now, Peppers cost about $25,000 each on the open market. They have have a number of capabilities that are not currently in use at the Smithsonian, including the ability to recognize facial expressions like smiles and frowns. Peppers can then extrapolate whether that person is happy or sad, and tailor their response to the emotion.
The goal, according to Steve Carlin, is to market them to hotels, restaurants, banks, museums — essentially anywhere there’s a client or customer relationship at work.
If this initial stage goes well, the Smithsonian will expand the program to more locations this summer. For now, you can find Peppers in D.C.’s Smithsonian Castle, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and National Museum of African Art. They’re also deployed at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland.
Reposted from Security Management
This year, more employers hope to make progress in building inclusive workplaces through diversity recruiting efforts and will continue to experiment with new interviewing and selection techniques, according to experts.
Over 9,000 recruiters and hiring managers across the globe identified these trends, among others, as being the most impactful when surveyed by LinkedIn for the professional networking site's Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report.
LinkedIn found more than half of companies already embrace recruiting for diversity, while novel interviewing and selection techniques have generated interest but not enough to knock the traditional, one-on-one interview off its pedestal.
Building a diverse team will be more than a nice-to-have, becoming a required leadership skillset, said Ashley Goldsmith, chief people officer for Workday, a finance and HR software company based in Pleasanton, Calif. "This new requirement will also be measurable with performance metrics tied to the makeup of teams," she said.
Some fundamental ways that recruiters can improve diversity in their organizations include conducting outreach in local communities; wording job postings to target diverse groups; showcasing diversity in recruitment marketing and interview panels; training interviewers about unconscious bias; and involving employee resource groups in the sourcing, recruiting and hiring process.
"Pretty much universally, this topic seems to be critical for most organizations, especially around gender balance," said Brendan Browne, LinkedIn's vice president of talent acquisition. He added that understanding how to source from diverse talent pools, trying to prevent bias in the assessment and hiring process, and evaluating workplace culture for inclusion are major steps employers can take to increase diversity.
More practitioners are realizing that hiring for diversity is not enough. Employers risk employee disengagement and attrition if diverse hires don't feel included and accepted.
"It doesn't matter that you hired more women or more of whatever it is you needed to look like a United Colors of Benetton ad," said Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, a recruiting industry thought leader and the president of HRU Technical Resources, an IT and engineering staffing firm in Lansing, Mich. "If those you hired don't feel like a part of the organization, you'll never keep them anyway."
This level of diversity is really hard, Sackett added. Practicing inclusion takes an entire overhaul of a company's culture and ongoing maintenance. "It's actually easy to check boxes and get to a point where you'll look politically correct as it relates to the diversity of your employees. It's super hard to get to a point where people feel like they truly belong."
HR needs to take a hard look at the organizational culture to make sure that differing opinions are respected and people are encouraged to be themselves.
Traditional interviewing is costly and takes too long, and typical selection criteria don't result in effective candidate evaluations anyway, according to experts.
"It's kind of a disaster when you spend 20 hours of company time interviewing someone," Browne said. "Do candidates really need to meet with 10 or 12 people? If you've ever been on an interview and had to come back three or four or five times and meet more and more and more people, it's exhausting."
Instead, forward-looking companies are exploring skills assessments, job tryouts and hiring for potential instead of experience. LinkedIn found that a majority of employers are interested in using:
Online soft skills assessments that measure traits like teamwork and curiosity.
Job auditions, where candidates are paid to do real work while supervisors observe them.
Informal team interviews with potential co-workers, where both sides have a chance to talk about the role and gauge whether there is a fit.
Selection criteria are also undergoing a refresh. More employers struggling to find perfect candidates will adopt the mantra of hiring for attitude and training for technical skills, experts believe. "Not being 100-percent qualified is no longer a deal-breaker," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of talent acquisition solutions company CareerBuilder. He referenced a recent CareerBuilder survey that showed 66 percent of organizations plan to train new workers who may not have all the required skills but show potential to excel.
"While hard skills reign in sectors like technology and health care, less-teachable soft skills will continue to be critically important—even in a more technology-driven work environment," said Alan Stukalsky, chief digital officer for Randstad North America, the U.S. division of the global staffing and HR services provider. "Employers will increasingly focus on training new hires, especially when they find the culture fit they are looking for or superb soft skills."
That's exactly what Maren Hogan, CEO of Red Branch Media, an Omaha, Neb.-based B2B marketing firm for HR technology, does. "When I hire people, I'm not hiring a job description," she said. "When I'm looking to add another employee to my team, I'm looking at their attitude, how they approach communication with me, what it is that moves them and how they work best. Do they value learning and skill development?"
In addition to prehire assessments and informal group evaluations, Hogan recommended mapping out the type of personality you want in the role. "Considering what traits will provide value to your organization will give you a candidate persona that can lead everything—from where you advertise the job to the language used in the ad itself."
Reposted from The New York Times
An art history professor, Giovan Battista Fidanza, was taking a group of students through the baroque Church of Santa Bibiana two weeks ago, when he made what he called a “macabre discovery.”
Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s over-sized statue of St. Bibiana, the sculptor’s first public religious commission, dating to 1624, was missing the ring finger on the right hand.
The statue had been lent to a much-ballyhooed exhibition of Bernini sculptures at the Galleria Borghese, which ended on Feb. 20. The finger broke off when workers were returning the sculpture to its niche on the main altar of the Santa Bibiana church, on April 24. “At least it didn’t pulverize; it came off in one piece,” the Rev. Augusto Frateschi, the parish priest, said Friday in a telephone interview.
Restorers re-affixed the finger last week, but not before the Italian media got wind of the damaged digit, catapulting the statue into a terse moment of newspaper and television notoriety.
The incident also stirred an ongoing debate in the Italian art world on whether art works should be lent for exhibitions, given that the risks greatly outweigh the benefits, critics say.
“After this incident we have much to reflect on, as art historians, which you are becoming,” Professor Fidanza told students at a seminar on the damaged statue that he held Friday at University of Rome Tor Vergata, where he teaches. “We know that moving works of art is always a huge stress for them,” he said, noting that artworks suffered from shifts in temperature, humidity, and from the transportation itself.
When a work of art is damaged, even if later repaired, “the integrity of the work is lost forever,” he said. The broken finger “is a wound to the Baroque era.”
Before the exhibition, the statue had only been moved once before — in 1943 — to protect it while Rome was under attack during World War II. Last September it was transported to the loggia of the Borghese Gallery, where it was restored — in public — ahead of the exhibition, which opened in November. (Professor Fidanza questioned on Friday whether the statue — which had already been cleaned in 1997 — required a fresh makeover. “Restorations should be like surgical operations — you don’t operate for a cold,” he said.)
For some, the sculpture should never have been moved from its niche in Santa Bibiana at all.
“It is the first time where Bernini experimented with the unity of the visual arts, the fusion between architecture, painting and sculpture through the spectacular use of light,” Alessandro Valeriani, an expert in Baroque art who also teaches at Tor Vergata, said at the seminar. “To remove the sculpture from its context deprives it of the meaning that Bernini intended: a statue that interacts with the surrounding space.”
If nothing else, the uproar over the lost digit has lured visitors to the church, a little-known Baroque jewel off the normal tourist trail, that also includes frescoes by another Baroque master, Pietro da Cortona.
“Visitors to Rome should be lining up to get into the church” because of its artistic importance, Professor Fidanza said Friday.
Perhaps now they will.
We live in a time of increasing conflict and tension. The clash of civilizations, a frequent topic in college classrooms, seems to be playing out in vivid high definition on news channels across the globe. In nations around the world, citizens are verbally squaring off against friends and neighbors over political, racial, and social differences.
Security and public safety organizations are tasked with keeping the peace in our tumultuous societies. And these organizations are becoming as diverse as the communities they represent. As a result, many of these organizations' leaders—such as security managers—find themselves in the challenging situation of motivating and leading teams comprising individuals from an array of different racial, cultural, and ideological backgrounds.
This type of leadership is difficult. It often takes place in an environment unsettled by nearly constant and instantaneous communication. And in many workplaces, tension and the potential for conflict are increasing, for several reasons.
For one, the country's changing demographics and economic challenges mean that there are four generations of workers sharing offices today. This leads to a diverse pool of employees with widely varying generational morals, behaviors, and values.
In addition, nearly half of all Millennials come from ethnic minority groups. Given their diverse cultural backgrounds, these younger individuals may have differing views on sensitive workplace issues compared to their older and more traditional Baby Boomer colleagues, or even members of Generation X.
To some extent, each member of the team will view these issues through their own cultural identity. And so, issues involving whether or not they support or oppose recent shifts in societal norms can spur differences in opinion, which may create tension. Even worse, the manager may inadvertently trigger a conflict by taking a side. After all, managers too belong to a specific culture, ethnicity, or generational identity.
With that in mind, what follows are some suggested best practices to help security managers lead a diverse workforce in today's chaotic environment. Of course, when sensitive issues arise in the workplace, there are no magic solutions or actions that guarantee successful resolution. However, keeping these principles in mind will help managers maintain self-awareness, fairness, and diplomacy. They will also help managers to be mindful of common human biases that can creep into actions and how to steer clear of them through honest self-examination.
I've known my best friend since we were freshmen in college, and we agree on most issues. Furthermore, when we do disagree, we've never fought over it. That has held true in the almost two decades we have known each other.
However, soon after last year's controversial rally in Charlottesville ended in the death of a civilian and two police officers, we found ourselves in a debate over the preservation of Civil War monuments and the broader national crisis between law enforcement and communities of color.
Prior to that debate, the racially related differences between us had ranged from invisible to comical. But as the discussion heated up, I found that even two close friends who stood as best men at each other's weddings could still stumble into a perilous debate over their own cultural identities. I found that a Russian-Jewish immigrant and an African-American Jew could have widely divergent perspectives on the same events, despite significant similarities in our affinities, beliefs, and value systems.
My experience is applicable to workplace relationships. The viewpoint of your employees is as real to them as yours is to you; ignoring or demeaning their perspective can lead to deteriorating relationships. My best friend and I pushed through our disagreement in a few days, due to the history of trust and mutual respect that we had built together. Imagine the damage that could be done between people who barely know each other, or between managers and new team members who are complete strangers.
Thus, security leaders should be careful in these situations. When potentially sensitive cultural or political matters arise, managers should be mindful not to express opinions in a way that implies that those with differing opinions are stupid or lazy. Conversely, managers who find ways to express that they respect differing views, and find them legitimate, are often rewarded with stronger and more respectful relationships with staff.
We can learn a lot about how to respect differing viewpoints from good security educators. Students will often interject personal feelings into discussions, especially on use-of-force topics, and these feelings may vary from student to student, which presents a challenging situation for the instructor. A good security educator might respond by accepting the feeling of the student, and then providing additional information about an alternate explanation.
Thus, the teacher may respond as follows. "Sure, I can see how it may seem that the officer's actions were inappropriate in this incident. However, if you consider legal precedence for cases like this, the officer's actions, while perhaps not ideal, were nonetheless legal."
We must accept that the world is changing, and that our workplace employs a variety of people from a multitude of backgrounds. We will encounter people in the workplace who are different from us—different formative experiences, different cultural mores, different outlooks and perspectives on what is happening around them.
Being different is neither good nor bad, it just is. Managers should not prejudge their employees based on how they look or dress, where they came from, or what they seem to value in life. All that is important is their performance in the workplace and whether they are a productive member of the team.
Don't think of someone as a bad employee or a good employee. Focus on their actions and whether the actions are productive or disruptive to the organization. Keep evaluating these actions fairly, and do not allow yourself to fall back on lazy stereotyping.
Here is an illustrative example. In my work as a security manager in the public sector, we worked with a community center that had some gang violence issues, such as fights on the basketball court, and similar altercations. As a result, we began looking for an athletic young man to hire as a security officer for the facility, because everyone assumed that's what it would take to control those patrons.
As it happened, our most effective security officer was an older female, who acted like a compassionate parental figure to the teens and young adults in the facility. She earned their respect, and they followed her instructions without question.
Allowing emotions to cloud your judgment is a dangerous trap for any manager. Managers may believe that a team member is under-performing when the underlying issue is not poor performance, but disagreement on certain issues. Conversely, I have watched poorly performing team members receive red carpet treatment because of their friendship with the boss.
This can be especially troubling when the manager shares demographic characteristics with the favored team member—whether that be religion, race, or cultural background—or shows favoritism to an employee who is of the opposite sex. Even if there is no tangible preferential treatment, the perception of special treatment may be damaging to a manager's credibility. The recent spike in media attention to matters of race and gender relations has made this an even more sensitive, and potentially fraught, issue. And any actual discrimination based on a protected class could violate company policies and federal Title IX laws in the United States.
Management decisions must be made with the clarity of rational reasoning and unbiased performance evaluations. This is impossible to achieve when emotions are clouding judgment. Good managers try to combat this in themselves. They assign work based on the strengths of the employees and judge their employees based on the results that they have produced.
Equal access. Everyone wants to be "cool with their boss," and it is almost a status symbol when someone can say that they get regular time with the boss to pitch their ideas. It takes patience and an open mind to maintain an open-door policy, but the benefits can be tremendous. As a security manager, I have avoided potentially catastrophic employee relations issues because someone walked into my office and said, "hey sir, I just wanted to talk to you about something that kind of bothers me…"
However, it is only human for people to prefer spending time with people like themselves. Security managers are not immune to these biases, and some employees may get more and longer meetings with the boss than others. This can cause resentment and discord among staff. Thus, its important for managers to remember that, no matter how enjoyable it is to talk to particular employees, everyone on the team is unique and they all bring valuable perspectives to the organization.
Opinion sharing. With generational and cultural diversity comes a greater diversity of opinion. Members of your team may have varying views on prominent issues in the news, be it immigration, gun rights, gay marriage, and performance evaluations of political leaders. In general, the security workplace should not be a venue for discussing, arguing, or advocating these opinions.
An employee's right to have an opinion about cultural or political topics conflicts with another employee's right not to have to listen to it while at work. Managers who want to avoid confrontations over these sensitive topics should refrain from discussing them at work and strive to maintain a comfortable atmosphere in the workplace. This can occasionally require some sort of intervening action.
I remember coming into our security dispatch center the morning after Barack Obama was elected U.S. president to find two of my dispatchers in a debate over whether the country was now better or worse. One officer, a former union boss from New York, was expressing his view that he could now die peacefully because he had lived to see the first black president of the United States. The other officer was terrified that his world as he had known it was over, and that the country was on the verge of collapse.
Quickly, their disagreement spiraled into a heated argument on the issue of racism—whether it had contributed to the election result or whether it would now spike given the victor. Because the conversation potentially affected not only the relationship of the two officers but also the safety of our operations, I decided to move one officer to another part of the facility for the rest of the shift, to ensure a cool-down period.
The broader lesson from that experience was the need for clear HR policies that discourage employees from engaging in potentially volatile non-work-related conversations. Such policies should not focus on topics of conversation as much as on the potential for disruption, reduced performance, or discriminatory behavior.
For example, the policy should not prohibit discussions of a specific issue or election, but should prohibit any behavior that leads to disruption and loss of employee productivity. Thus, two coworkers can have a polite conversation about a political topic and not violate policy, but should their conversation dissolve into rude or inappropriate behavior, management has the policy to support shutting it down.
Security can be a stressful and emotionally draining profession. Officers in the field may deal with hours of boredom interrupted by moments of potentially life-threatening terror. Those based in the office may stress over risk management, scheduling snafus, and broken contracts. In any workplace, there must be an opportunity for people to blow off stress, recharge, and to get back to work.
This can include interactions when it is okay to be silly and activities that let people have fun. Managers should be able to flip that switch in a way that is recognizable and comfortable for employees. That also means that managers can allow lighter discussions and playful arguments, as long as it is clear they are respectful and that sensitivities are not being trampled. Security managers must also know when to stop such interactions if they become inappropriate or contested.
For example, allowing employees to banter about their favorite sports teams and last night's game, or the merits of recent movies and performers, can be a natural way to build comradery and make collaboration in the workplace more natural. The manager can participate in the fun, but at the same time be ready to stop the discussion if conversations dissolve into anger or otherwise become unprofessional. For example, a manager should never allow friendly bantering to turn to conversations that include name-calling, racial slurs, sexist expressions, or other language that may be offensive to any team member. Employees may have different standards of offensiveness, so the manager should ensure that the language is appropriate for all.
Sometimes, employees try to encourage their manager to offer opinions in debates. This can be an attempt to seek validation by the boss. This can be a tricky situation that should be approached cautiously. No matter which side you pick, you may alienate someone. In a friendly debate over favorite sports teams or favorite foods, this is not a big deal. But in a civil, experience-based discussion that involves issues like discrimination, taking a side could have lasting consequences on your relationship with those on the other side. Sometimes, it is wisest to defer, based on the sensitivity of the issue.
Finally, a small percentage of employees are drawn to conflict and drama and politics in the workplace for different reasons. In these cases, the manager should be careful of being lured into a debate by an employee with an agenda, such as a desire to undermine the supervisor's credibility with the rest of the team.
Consider Gender Issues
Accepting responsibility is a key tenet of leadership. A good manager remains humble and accepts that no one is perfect and all make mistakes. Mistakes that involve office diversity and inclusion can be costly, and the longer they are allowed to fester, the worse the consequences will be.
For example, when I was an ROTC unit commander, I was conducting a uniform inspection on a unit of about a dozen cadets. I stopped in front of the third or fourth cadet in the line, and, as always, I inspected from top to bottom. Although I was standing in front of the cadet, I called out the chin hair that needed to be shaved off. The cadet then punched me in chest and stormed out of formation.
I had not realized the cadet was a female until after I made the comment; I was so focused on avoiding favoritism that I was deliberately not paying attention to the gender of the cadet I was inspecting. My immediate reaction was indignation that she had punched me, and then had left my formation. It took several hours for me to come to the realization that her actions were the result of mine. I had insulted a cadet in front of her peers.
It took the better part of a week for me to apologize and receive forgiveness from her. The damage that I incurred with the rest of her unit lasted much longer. Some of her peers who thought I had done this on purpose started losing respect for me altogether.
The possibility for similar unintentional mistakes exists in the security workplace setting.
Consider what would happen if a manager who routinely referred to their employees by Mr. and Ms., or sir and ma'am, was assigned an employee who identified as gender neutral, or was undergoing gender reassignment at the time of employment. Would that employee feel discriminated against if they were the only one who was referred to by their name only? How would the team feel if the manager started referring to everyone by their first name, due to the arrival of that one new employee?
The solution to scenarios like these often lies in cutting through any miscommunications and going directly to the source. In my case, I had to accept responsibility for my mistake, and when I approached the cadet I both apologized and explained what had happened. Once she forgave me, she became the person that helped others understand that this was an honest mistake. In the workplace, as part of the onboarding process, the manager should consult the employee on how they would like to be addressed. The employee's validation of the manager's approach will be visible to the other employees in the office, and miscommunication may be avoided.
Catch Up to the Future
Societal norms are being reevaluated and changed so rapidly that some people have not had time to realize that their actions or words in the workplace might not be appropriate. Moreover, the widespread availability of video-capable technology and the speed with which video can be spread have created an environment where management's actions or inactions can be immediately evaluated and judged by their own employees and the media, leading to more serious consequences for those who cannot find a way to work together with their diverse team.
Diversity, while challenging, is the source of a great team's strength, because it provides multiple unique perspectives, skill sets, and strengths to the organization at large. Those managers who can accept and encourage diversity, and are willing to make the effort to maintain an environment in which all team members can comfortably thrive, will find their units to be stronger and more successful than their competition.
Reposted from the Guardian
A teenage girl plotted to launch a gun and grenade attack on the British Museum after her attempts to become a jihadi bride were thwarted, a court heard.
Safaa Boular was 17 when she allegedly decided to become a “martyr” after her fiance, an Islamic State militant, was killed in Syria.
She was so determined to attack London that she enlisted the help of her older sister after she was charged with planning to go to Syria, the Old Bailey heard on Thursday.
Rizlaine Boular, 21, had already admitted planning an attack in Westminster, that was allegedly to involve knives, with the alleged help of their mother, Mina Dich, 43, the jury was told.
Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, told how Safaa Boular’s alleged plotting followed a failed attempt to marry the Isis member Naweed Hussain.
The couple declared their love for each other in August 2016, after three months of chatting on social media, the court heard.
Atkinson told jurors Boular wanted to join Hussain in Syria where they would carry out an attack. He said: “Their plan then was that together they would, as Hussain put it, depart the world holding hands and taking others with them in an act of terrorism.”
The court heard Rizlaine Boular had also tried to go to Syria two years before.
After Safaa Boular’s plan was uncovered, she allegedly switched her attention to Britain, keeping contact with Hussain through the encrypted messaging service Telegram.
The security services deployed specially trained officers to engage in online communication with them, jurors heard.
Atkinson said: “It was clear that Hussain had been planning an act of terrorism with Safaa Boular in which she could engage if she remained in this country. Both Hussain and Safaa Boular talked of a planned ambush involving grenades and/or firearms.”
She also told an officer posing as an Isis militant that all she needed was a “car and a knife to get what I want to achieve”, the court heard.
Atkinson said: “Based on her preparation and discussion, it appears she planned to launch an attack against members of the public selected largely at random in the environs of that cultural jewel and most popular of tourist attractions, the British Museum in central London.”
An attack would have caused at least widespread panic and was intended to cause injury and death, the court was told.
When she learned Hussain had been killed in April 2017, Boular’s determination was strengthened, the court heard. She was allegedly encouraged by her mother and sister to become a “martyr”.
But within days, she was charged with planning to go to Syria and was unable to carry out her “chilling intentions”, Atkinson told the court.
He said: “However, that those intentions were not just chilling but sincere and determined is demonstrated by the fact that she did not abandon them even when she was unable to put them into effect herself. Rather, she sought to encourage her sister Rizlaine to carry the torch forward in her stead.”
Atkinson told jurors that Rizlaine Boular, of Clerkenwell, central London, had admitted preparing acts of terrorism, which was apparently to be a knife attack in Westminster.
Safaa Boular, now 18, who lived at home with her mother in Vauxhall, south-west London, denies two counts of preparing acts of terrorism.
The trial continues.
Reposted from The Art Newspaper
A new body dedicated exclusively to resolving art disputes, the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAA), will be formally launched 7 June in the Hague by the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) and the nonprofit Authentication in Art. Instead of being decided by judges and juries, cases will be heard by arbitrators who are seasoned lawyers familiar with industry practice and issues specific to art disputes. Scientific and provenance experts, who are often essential to proving authenticity and title to an artwork, will be appointed by the court rather than hired by the disputing parties. Authenticity, fraud, copyright, stolen art, and contract disputes are all within the court’s purview.
The tribunal’s main goal, says its founder, the art lawyer William Charron of the New York firm Pryor Cashman, is to produce accurate decisions the market will accept. “Courts are reactive bodies. They don’t go out and independently try to search for the truth on their own. They take the evidence that is presented by the parties and they do the best they can”, Charron says. “The thinking with CAA is, if you have art practitioners as the deciders, they’re going to be better positioned to evaluate the evidence.”
Another goal is to save time and money, as art lawsuits are often hampered by delays. “There is a steep learning curve for judges” to become familiar with the issues in art cases, and “a final decision comes after a long time”, Charron says. The lawyer Luke Nikas, a member of the working group Charron assembled, observed during his involvement in the Knoedler art forgery lawsuits that “extensive resources and court time was devoted to whether scientific testing was sufficient”. But on the flip side, Nikas says, when experts' testimony is introduced in court by the parties, “there’s a concern they are biased…[CAA] experts are responsible to the objective of truth. Their loyalty is to the arbitration panel,” not the client that hired them.
The CAA’s arbitrators and experts will be selected from a pool approved by the NAI, which is providing administrative support. The cost will depend on the number of panelists needed, on top of the NAI’s standard rates. CAA decisions shall be legally binding under international arbitration enforcement rules, such as the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Although the CAA is based in the Hague, proceedings may be held anywhere in the world. They will be conducted in private, but at the end of a case, the arbitrators will issue a written decision explaining how they reached their conclusions. The decision will not disclose the names of the parties but will identify the work of art. “In the art market, people prize their anonymity”, says Charron, “but we were also concerned with… creating a decision-making apparatus that the market is going to respect.”
Some aspects of the CAA may prove controversial. For example, under the new court’s rules, restitution claims brought long after a work has been taken may be barred where they have not been “pursued with reasonable diligence… or where evidence has been lost due to the long passage of time”. This may conflict with the statute of limitations to recover Nazi-looted art under the US Hear Act or with laws applied in cultural heritage cases. Unless the parties agree that these other laws apply, the court’s rules kick in, says Charron. (The Hear Act could still be invoked in arguments.)
Charron and his working group—which includes Nikas, Megan Noh from Cahill Cossu Noh & Robinson LLP; and Judith Prowda from Stropheus Art Law and the Sotheby’s Institute of Art—are trying to educate the market about the new court, speaking with auction houses, catalogue raisonné producers and others whose contracts specify how disputes will be resolved. “The real issue is getting people to accept something that’s new”, says Nikas.
Reposted from National Geographic
Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is known as a "palace turned inside out" because of its beautiful courtyard. In 1990, the Gardner was robbed of 13 paintings worth a collective $500 million, the largest property theft in history.
An empty frame marks the spot where Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" once hung in the Gardner. Vermeer's "The Concert," another painting stolen in the 1990 heist, is the world's most expensive missing work of art, valued at over $200 million.
The Louvre's main entrance is illuminated at night. The world's biggest art museum, the Louvre was robbed in 1911 when museum security was much more lax.
Arguably the world's most famous work of art, the ”Mona Lisa” is now displayed behind thick plexiglass and a wooden barrier to protect it from the 15,000 visitors who flock to the Louvre each day.
Named for a former Prime Minister of Egypt, the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt—notable for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works—was robbed in 1978 and 2010.
Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh's ”Poppy Flowers,” also known as ”Vase and Flowers,” was stolen twice from the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum. Worth at least $50 million, it remains missing.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was, in 1972, the site of the ”Skylight Caper:” Armed thieves rappelled through a skylight and made off with $2 million worth of paintings and jewelry.
The MMFA's then-Director of Public Relations examines photos of the 18 paintings stolen in the 1972 heist. Due to the dramatic method of entry, police suspected the thieves were experienced members of an international crime ring.
Vienna's Fälschermuseum (in English, the Museum of Art Fakes) displays forgeries of famous masterworks.
”The Procuress,” believed to be a forgery by Han van Meegeren, is one of the famous phonies on the walls of the Museum of Art Fakes.
The depth of a da Vinci. The luminance of a Vermeer. The vibrancy of a van Gogh. They’ve shaped the canon of Western art—and they’ve all been the center of sensational art thefts.
Though high-profile heists may seem the stuff of movies, art crime is actually a multi-billion-dollar business that often doubles as a money laundering front for international terrorist or organized crime groups.
To get a taste of the drama without the danger, visit these world-class museums that have been the site of art heists—some still unsolved.
It might be hard to imagine a time before the Mona Lisa smiled enigmatically from a million souvenir mugs and pop culture references, but Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century masterpiece wasn’t always quite so famous. In fact, its 1911 theft from Paris’s Louvre Museum—and the well-publicized search that ensued—is largely responsible for its current notoriety.
The Louvre had hired handyman Vincenzo Peruggia to install protective glass cases over paintings including the Mona Lisa. Instead, he hid overnight in a closet and walked out of the door the next morning with the stolen painting under his smock. Despite being interviewed twice by police during the course of their investigation, Peruggia was not caught until 1913, when he tried to sell the painting to a Florentine art dealer.
Today, the Mona Lisa is a main attraction at the world’s largest and most visited art museum. About 15,000 people visit the Louvre each day, so plan ahead. The museum recommends booking tickets in advance (though admission is free on the first Sunday of every month from October through March). If you’re looking to spot the Mona Lisa or other famous works, consider arriving before the museum opens to get a good spot in line—or choose to spend your time exploring the many amazing works that often go overlooked.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has twice been robbed. In September 2011, and again in October, an unidentified thief stole two small stone sculptures which had been displayed without protective cases. One, a 2,500-year-old sandstone carving, was worth around $1 million—and turned up two years later in the home of an unsuspecting yoga instructor, who had bought it for $1,000. The other sculpture remains missing.
But the more dramatic of the two crimes was a 1972 midnight heist in which three armed robbers rappelled through a skylight, overpowered and tied up three guards, then made off on foot with 50 artworks, among them 18 renowned paintings.
The ensuing investigation—full of cryptic pay-phone messages, suspected ties to terrorists and organized crime, and a failed $10,000 ransom—is still unsolved. The “Skylight Caper” is Canada’s largest art theft: Initial losses were estimated at $2 million, though some art historians have estimated that the stolen paintings, including a Rembrandt, have since appreciated in value.
Despite the absence of its most famous items, the MMFA retains a collection of nearly 50,000 works. Located in Montreal’s historic downtown, the striking building doesn’t have a parking lot, so consider taking advantage of nearby public transportation.
Cairo’s Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum is another victim of double thefts—but in this case, of the same painting, a single-square-foot still life of poppy flowers painted by Vincent van Gogh.
The work was first stolen in 1978, but was found two years later in Kuwait (though details of the case remain scarce). In 2010, the painting was cut from its frame, and though Egyptian officials erroneously announced its recovery hours later, the $50 million ”Poppy Flowers” remains missing. An inspection of the museum revealed that only seven security cameras and none of the fifty alarms were working, and 11 culture ministry employees were found guilty of negligence.
One of Egypt’s best museums, the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum’s collection includes works by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Auguste Renoir and Paul Gaugin. Round out any trip to Cairo with a visit to the museum, located on the banks of the Nile River a half hour’s drive from the Great Pyramids of Giza.
The 1990 Gardner Museum robbery is the granddaddy of the bunch. The 13 stolen works, including pieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Manet, are worth a combined half billion dollars, making it the single largest property theft in history.
At 1:24 in the morning on March 18, two men disguised as police officers—one with a wax moustache—buzzed at the door of the celebrated Boston museum, claiming they were responding to a disturbance. Once the security guard let them in, they handcuffed him and the other officer on duty. They spent the next 81 minutes collecting their loot, even making two trips to the car.
Though still being actively investigated, the case is unsolved—and no less dramatic than the original theft. After 38 years of disappearing evidence, ransom letters, coded messages in The Boston Globe, and midnight trips to warehouses have turned up no sign of the missing works, the reward for information leading to all the paintings’ safe return has been raised to $10 million.
To mark the paintings’ absence—and await their hopeful return—the Gardner still displays the empty frames, a favorite shot for Instagramming visitors. Its world-renowned collection of historic and contemporary art is housed in a beautiful mansion in Boston’s Back Bay, and its delightfully active Twitter feed shares information about programs and performances.
Vienna’s Fälschermuseum has never been the scene of a crime. But on its walls hang works that, with the slightest change in attribution, would be crimes themselves.
Opened in 2005 to celebrate the odd history of forgery (and educate the public on how fraud can be stopped), the Museum of Art Fakes houses over 80 works by famous forgers like Han van Meegeren, whose imitation of Vermeer was once considered one of the Dutch master’s greatest pieces. Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse are some of the other heavyweights whose works inspired the imitations found here. (Learn how forgeries may be hiding in the Museum of the Bible.)
Visitors to the tiny museum can try to spot telltale signs and “time bombs,” clues that a work isn’t what it seems. Just blocks from the Danube River, the museum can be found near the Hundertwasser House, an architectural oddity popular with tourists.
This forged Mark Rothko painting was part of an art dealer's 15-year scam that fooled collectors into buying more than $60 million of counterfeit paintings attributed to Rothko and others.
In June 2013, German police broke up a multimillion-dollar international forgery ring producing bogus works attributed to Russian avant-garde artists like Vasily Kandinsky.
Dutch master forger Han van Meegeren's forgery of Vermeer's The Last Supper hangs on display at the De Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam, surrounded by other faux Vermeers.
In 2002, the Greenhalghs, a family of art forgers, convinced the Bolton Museum to buy this faked statue of an Egyptian princess for nearly $600,000.
Born in 1906, Elmyr de Hory was a Hungarian-born painter and art forger who is said to have sold more than a thousand forgeries to reputable art galleries all over the world. de Hory died in 1976.
Reposted from Security Intelligence
Inherent to any conversation about cyber awareness training is the reality that organizations need to change their cultures, which can’t happen without strong leadership. As we’ve seen with mobile security strategies, though, business efficiency and productivity too often trump security.
The very idea that organizations need to change their corporate cultures to truly make security awareness part of their profit and loss statements might be too Pollyanna for some. The goal might be lofty, but it doesn’t have to be, and the change doesn’t need to happen overnight. After all, it’s better to take smaller steps toward slow change than to do nothing and fall victim to cyberthreats.
Promoting Cyber Awareness From the Top Down
When security awareness and training mandates don’t come from the top, there is very little potential for change. Creating a cyber-aware culture also demands a shift in the way organizations treat security. The role of the chief information security officer (CISO) is evolving, and while some are making headway toward becoming influencers at the top level, many CISOs don’t feel respected within their organization. Cybersecurity is still largely seen as part of IT rather than a profession in itself.
All the while, phishing remains a popular method of gaining initial access among cybercriminals, and 49 percent of companies that have already suffered a significant attack are targeted again within a year. Enterprises can no longer kick the can down the road and accept “good enough” as a viable solution to mitigating the risks of human error.
Many organizations understand the risks associated with the human factor but lack the time, staff or other resources to fully understand what a cyber-aware workforce means to the organization. But when it comes to creating a culture of security awareness, there are no stupid questions.
Here’s one to ponder: Why do 65 percent of CISOs spend sleepless nights worrying about phishing scams, and why do 61 percent fear disruption to processes caused by malware? It’s likely because they know that human beings represent the weakest link in their security chains.
Another question to consider: Would CISOs worry less if they felt confident that their organizations were cyber aware? Building a culture of security is not a Pollyanna dream — especially if it is supported from the top down.
Let’s face it: Any human being within any organization could fall victim to a scam. If you think you are exempt from that because you are the CEO, I’d advise you to leave your ego at the door. Phishing scams don’t discriminate, and the security of your organization is not about you or how clever you are — it’s about risk.
That’s why building a cyber-aware culture begins with risk management. According to Reg Harnish, CEO of GrayCastle Security, “A successful cybersecurity culture cannot exist without first identifying your organization’s risk tolerance.” Once you understand which systems need protection, you can make informed decisions about how to secure enterprise data and set expectations about employee behavior.
Do’s and Don’ts for Changing Corporate Culture
Changing a corporate culture is not the same as security awareness training. Awareness training is a critical part of creating a cyber-aware culture, but it is only one piece of the fiber that defines an organization. Culture is more broadly defined by its social norms. Security leaders should keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when endeavoring to change employee behavior.
Do Expect Mistakes
Because employees are a critical line of defense when it comes to protecting against cyberattacks, it’s important to value them as much as you do any other security tool. Recognizing that no defense is foolproof, security leaders should also prepare for the inevitability of human error, regardless of how well employees are trained.
Don’t Punish Errors
When users are blamed for, reprimanded or even fired for their mistakes, they are far less likely to report incidents when they occur. Why on earth would you approach the security team to confess that you accidentally clicked a malicious link when you could be fired? You wouldn’t.
Do Build Morale
A more effective approach is to make employees feel like partners so that they know where threats are coming from and can work collaboratively to help each other avoid security incidents.
Do Not Rely on Annual Training
The standards of teaching and learning that apply in the classroom don’t change when adults become part of the workforce. If the goal is to educate, the training needs to be multifaceted, ongoing and consistent. Use alternative assessments to determine the effectiveness of the training programs you are using. If you don’t see progress, try something new.
Do Set Achievable, Companywide Security Goals
The key is to start small. A measurable goal might be to reduce the number of employees who click on a malicious link during a simulated phishing attack. When setting goals, ensure that they can be tied back to the employees. Connect the security of the organization to their own personal privacy. To convince employees to change their behaviors, security leaders must first help them understand how their actions impact the security of the organization.
A Culture of Cyber Awareness Is Attainable
When security leaders set reasonable, incremental goals and demonstrate a willingness to try new training methods when traditional approaches fail to yield results, creating a culture of cyber awareness doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. In fact, it’s an absolute necessity given the volatility and increasing sophistication of the threat landscape. Cybercriminals are masters of manipulating human nature to convince employees to do their nefarious bidding. It’s time for security leaders to better understand the human element of cybersecurity and use these insights to protect their employees and enterprise data.
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