I have an interest in studying art crimes. It's an interesting topic with all sorts of tangents, from forgery to vandalism to smuggling to theft. The crimes can be crass and vulgar, or it can be highly clever and sophsiticated. It is one of those stories that doesn't get a lot of play, meaning that the public grossly underestimates its impact and frequency.
Journalists don't think very much of it, either, which explains why the Los Angeles Times can have five modestly-priced Picasso lithographs vanish, and no one notice it for perhaps years:
Reporters had cause to revisit this history earlier this year when then-incoming Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong announced plans to relocate the paper to El Segundo — a move spurred by the 2016 sale of the downtown property to a Canadian developer.
Some staffers began to explore the historic property on nostalgia-laced, self-guided tours. And a visit was paid to the community room to see the Picasso lithographs, perhaps for a final time. They seemed to be the last connection to that vaunted bygone era.
But there was a problem: They were gone.
The artwork had disappeared at some point between 2014 and 2018, a period of great tumult at The Times, as a series of publishers and top editors were shuffled in and out by then-owner Tribune Publishing, which renamed itself Tronc.
Such eagle-eyed people sleepwalking over there.
There are other points of interest: the paper had bought quite of a few pieces of art when journalism was strong, but had to liquidate them over the years. The lithographs aren't exactly a big deal: they are the B-list, but not to know when they went missing is interesting to say the least. The excuse no one saw it because there was "tumult" is kind of an strange excuse to make, meaning people over at the Times are not your go-to people to cover riots, wars, protests, unrest, or any situation with some serious "tumult" because they won't notice anything going down, anyway...