We recently received what sounded like a slightly begrudging inquiry from a gallery that said they hadn’t had an incidence of theft in 30 years…until someone walked off with a painting. What was probably going through their minds was that if this happens only once every 30 yrs. Why waste money on securing objects? A not uncommon rational. The implications for them are small scale compared to the Green Vault Museum in Dresden, Germany where a recent theft resulted in a loss of nearly $1 billion worth of extravagant pieces of jewelry. The theft was facilitated by the fact that the electricity was compromised, knocking out the alarms. Ample time was afforded to smash vitrines and clean the place out. This was apparently an inside job. The chances that anything will be recovered even if the people responsible are caught are next to zero. What may be even more amazing is that two weeks later in Berlin a theft occurred at the Stasi Museum. The comment from management was predictable. "But we are a history museum and don't expect people to break in". Then the unthinkable happens From no protection to easily compromised security, I’m reminded of the theft of five masterpieces from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 2010 in which the thief characterized the job as “dizzyingly easy”. No guards, faulty security system, unlocked window grills. Had any of those been in effect/operational, it might have given him pause before executing his plan. I can enumerate any number of thefts in the last few years that prompted shock on the part of whomever was in charge. And yet it was clear to me that whatever security they had wasn’t properly supervised, wasn’t backed up, wasn’t tested regularly, and wasn’t properly managed with regularly changing passwords. So many professionals and collectors in galleries, museums, homes and other places that showcase art probably agonize over spending money to secure art. They think that perimeter security is enough. Or they don’t even consider security. Then the unthinkable happens, and they’re incredulous. “Why would anyone do this?” is a common refrain. My question is, given the very obvious lack of safeguards that so many facilities display, why wouldn’t they? Frequent questions concern whether it’s advisable to mix methods of security protection and whether tethering paintings to walls was worthwhile. My answer is “Of course, do whatever you need to do to feel secure.” As you may know, tethering a painting to a wall with wire, in and of itself, will not prevent a theft. Like several other rudimentary methods, it offers resistance and that resistance and the resulting delay in execution may be enough to save the paintings from being taken. Some gallery professionals will react to that tactic by saying, “Why bother?” As recently as 2010, many galleries put marbles behind the frames of paintings to signal an attempt to move them. Some would say, “Incredible.” I say, “Why not?” There’s always a reason and a way to protect art and assets, compatible with your current security measures. The message here is to do something, rather than nothing, for your own peace of mind.

Do anything rather than nothing for your own peace of mind

Bill Anderson Blog

We recently received what sounded like a slightly begrudging inquiry from a gallery that said they hadn’t had an incidence of theft in 30 years…until someone walked off with a painting. What was probably going through their minds was that if this happens only once every 30 yrs. Why waste money on securing objects? A not uncommon rational.  The implications …

Opportunities with Changes in the Market

Bill Anderson Blog, News

The home security market has, for years, been stuck in the same groove. Modest gains have been made in growing beyond the 22-23% penetration of households with standard wired and RF wireless perimeter/intrusion systems. With home automation and the prospects that people can actually buy a system from Amazon and install it themselves all bets would appear to be off. …

Green Vault

Thoughts on the Green Vault Theft

Bill Anderson Blog, News

Reports put the theft from the Green Vault museum in Dresden on Nov. 25 at $1.1B. That’s Billion! That makes it by far the largest art theft in modern times. The Gardner heist in 1990 of 14 yet-to-be-recovered masterworks is estimated at a paltry $.5B and, until Green Vault, the largest. Apparently the collection was not insured, which makes any …

The New York Public Library Trusts Art Guard

Bill Anderson Blog, News

The NY Public Library recently reached out to Art Guard to provide our unique security solution for many of their most prized treasures. This is an honor and certainly recognition of our museum-level protection for over $1 billion worth of art and other valuables in well-known institutions, such as the Gardner Museum in Boston, Minneapolis Institute of Art, San Francisco’s …

Art Guard’s Technology Recognized in Robb Report Article

Bill Anderson Blog, News

We are proud to have our technology singled out in the luxury-lifestyle magazine, Robb Report, in a recent article titled “Forget Panic Rooms and Alarms, State-of-the-Art Security Is Now Insanely High-Tech—and Nearly Invisible”. The Robb Report is a dynamic influencer magazine for high net worth individuals worldwide. Their selection of our MAP technology, which protects valuable assets, is no less …

4 Questions with an Art Collection Security Expert

Bill Anderson Blog, News

Unfortunately, art theft happens In 1990, 13 works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Degas, and others have never been recovered—and the museum continues to investigate. They are currently offering a $5 million reward for any intel on the recovery of these works in good condition. Security is a major …

Canvass Art Customers About Object-Specific Protection Possibilities

Bill Anderson Blog, News

This article was published in the April issue Security Sales & Integration. “I don’t often get granular on specific sensors supported by monitoring centers, but it’s worth it for certain elements of monitoring that have a great need and appear to be underutilized. One type of monitoring that doesn’t get enough attention is objects-specific monitoring. Monitoring External & Internal Threats. Most …

3 Helpful Marketing Tips for Your Next Show

Bill Anderson Blog, News

Your next opening should follow a checklist of some obvious and not-so-obvious details. The obvious is having all the necessary materials on hand, such as the artist’s bio, pricing sheet, and guestbook, prepping the artist on talking points and having easily identifiable personnel throughout the gallery to talk about the works. However, for your team to bring to life this …

Alula + Art Guard: Protecting the Priceless

Bill Anderson Blog, News

Late at night on March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers — one of them bold enough to sport a false mustache made of wax — talked their way past security guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. After handcuffing the hapless guards, the pair made off with a half-billion-dollars’ worth of paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, …

4 Simple Ways to Protect Your Art

Bill Anderson Blog, News

I read about thefts of art and assets on a pretty regular basis from various news feeds, some from museums and galleries and, mostly in Europe and North America. If there’s a common thread it’s that the victims appear to have been completely unaware of the threat. The only logical explanation, as I’ve said before, is that we’re naïve to …