Noah Charney

noah charney

Noah's Latest News

In New York Times, on CBS and NPR

Noah was quoted in The New York Times for an article on art theft from China. For more click here. He was on CBS This Morning national television here, and on National Public Radio's biggest program, Fresh Air.

The Art of Forgery Hits the "Bests"

Listed as "Best of Art & Design" -Waterstone's (May 2015)

#1 Best-Seller among New Releases in Art History"-Amazon (10 June 2015)

Events: Spring 2015

Noah will be speaking at the following events in the Spring 2015, in support of his latest book, THE ART OF FORGERY (Phaidon). All are welcome, and should contact the host institution regarding tickets.

Here's the current lineup of live appearances, in addition to the Hay Festival, mentioned above:

UK Events

May 16 Guardian Masterclass "How to write about art" (sold out) London, England

May 17 Dulwich Picture Gallery 2:30pm London, England

May 18 V&A Museum 7pm London, England

May 26 Hay Festival 7pm Hay-on-Wye, Wales

US Events

June 3 Kramer Books Washington, DC

June 4 Institute Library New Haven, CT

June 5 MFA Boston, MA

June 8 92nd Street Y New York, NY

Italy Events

June 22-24 "History of Forgery" course Amelia, Umbria

Bled Film Festival

Noah has been recruited as "Selector of Feature Films" for the first annual Bled Film Festival, which will be held in Bled, Slovenia June 17-21.  This new festival features high-profile stars among its founders, from Hollywood and the Balkans.  Noah will be choosing eight films to be screened and contend for juried prizes, plus four films shown for free in an open air theater on the shores of Lake Bled, often called the most beautiful place on earth.  For more information, visit

Cultural Heritage Research Prize

Noah is one of a select number of jury members for a brand new prize, established by the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy and former Italian Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli.  The Cultural Heritage Research Prize will be awarded annually to someone who distinguishes themselves in the field of cultural heritage protection and recovery.  The prestigious prize includes a substantial cash award as well.  Noah's fellow jurors include  Rutelli, Mounir Bouchenaki, Bonnie Burnham, Jack Lang, Giovanni Nistri, Peter Watson, Hanna Pennock, Ismail Serageldin, and Stefano de Caro.  More information is available here.

Noah's BBC and National Geographic Documentaries

Noah appears as a guest expert and presenter on two TV documentaries this winter.  "The World's Most Expensive Stolen Paintings" appears on BBC2 on December 21, 2013 and "Hunting Hitler's Stolen Art Treasures" appears on Nat Geo Channel on February 5, 2014.

Invited to Consult to UN on Art Crime
Noah has been invited to participate in this year's ISPAC meeting on art crime. ISPAC is the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Committee to the United Nations' Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program.

The History of Art in 12 Paintings
Noah has been chosen by The Teaching Company to prepare a featured course for their prestigious Great Courses series. He will film a course of his design, called "The History of Art in 12 Paintings," which will be published in the summer of 2015. Noah is the youngest professor ever to be featured in the Great Courses series.

Art Crime Conference at the V&A Museum in London (7 November)
Through ARCA, Noah is organizing a day-long symposium on art crime, hosted by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The symposium will be held on 7 November 2013 and will consist of two sessions, one on "Art Forgery and Provenance," the other on "Art Recovery and Rewards." Speakers include Noah, Vernon Rapley, Richard Ellis, Charlie Hill, Claire Hutcheon, and Jonathan Jones. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance.

TED 2014 Finalist
Noah is a finalist to be one of the twenty annual TED Fellows at the main TED event in 2014. Fingers crossed!

Writing for Esquire
Noah is thrilled to announce that he has begun to write for his favorite magazine, Esquire. You can find links to his articles on his Articles page or on his blog.

Noah in The New Yorker
Noah is quoted as an expert on art forgery in a recent New Yorker feature article about Mark Landis.

Noah's "The Secret History of Art" Blog

  • Amazing Revelations on The Ghent Altarpiece

    The Secret History of Art just broke the news about what wondrous discoveries were made during the four-year restoration of The Ghent Altarpiece.


    Check it out here.

  • Five Tips from Running a Successful Crowd-Funding Campaign

    Why do some Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns skyrocket, earning millions? A generous percentage of campaigns at least meet their initial goals (according to TechCrunch, 44% of Kickstarter campaigns do, and 34% of those on Indiegogo), and if the initial goal is met, it is likely to be far-surpassed, as backers think it must be a good thing, and hop onboard. But what separates the campaigns that make their goals but do not shoot off into the stratosphere, those that do, and those that go nowhere at all?


    I would not have any special insight into this, but for two things. I researched for an article on the differences between Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and stumbled across a project for a new wearable device that has since launched on Indiegogo—a headband called ELF emmit that uses electromagnetic stimulation to encourage your brain to behave in a way you’d prefer it to. Full disclosure: I was since recruited to help out on the ELF emmit campaign, primarily writing the text for it. But the fact that I suddenly was catapulted behind the scenes in a campaign is what allowed me to write this article, to introduce some of the tricks that high-end crowd-funding PR firms use to make their projects a success.


    ELF emmit hired the most renowned and successful of all crowd-funding agencies (which is a new and growing specialty, given that crowd-funding is worth some $30 billion per year, according to Forbes), the California-based Agency 2.0 (which raised $17 million for their clients in 2015 alone). So rather than trial and error, the ELF emmit campaign was put through a rigorous, tried-and-true, 200-step recipe for crowd-funding success. These tips, then, come from personal experience and from riding shotgun with the best in the business.


    Start Far Ahead of Time, and Start Prepared

    Agency 2.0 likes to start working on a campaign at least six weeks before it launches, and this is time well-spent. You’ll want to have done research on your anticipated target market, have in mind key influencers and members of the media who might be interested in your product and perhaps writing about it, and also have as much research as possible proving its efficacy, all before you go public. This isn’t always possible—after all, crowd-funding is primarily used by startups with little funds themselves and possibly only a prototype or two, so it is not feasible to expect lots of reviews and extensive published testing before the campaign starts. Most campaigners need the crowd-sourced funds to progress anywhere from the prototype. But the more you have early on, the better.


    Tailor Your Campaign to Your Target Audience

    Know your target audience, or at least take an educated guess. For tech and gadgetry, some 80% of backers tend to be men in their 20s and 30s, but ELF emmit found that 80% of those interested were women in their 30s and 40s. The way you approach a campaign, what media you hope to have cover your project, and the all-important campaign video (which is the only thing backers are almost certain to study, with many forgoing the text on the campaign page altogether), will vary depending on who you think your audience is.


    Email Lists are better than Social Media

    I hate email lists. I get far too many emails each day, and sorting through them feels like work. The last thing I want is more email, so I never sign up for newsletters. Turns out I’m in the minority (and vastly un-hip, but I already knew that). I had thought that people only wanted info, news and ads via social media, like me. And they did, not long ago. But the problem is super-saturation. There is so much traffic in a social media feed, that messages can get lost. It turns out that people are more likely to sit and read all of an email than a social media post and, most importantly, to act on it and go support a campaign. So collecting email addresses is gold to crowd-funding.


    Invest in Facebook Ads

    That said, the vast majority of marketing funds for successful campaigns go into Facebook ads—they are the most cost-effective thing you can pay for. These ads seem to work better at rallying an audience than ads in other social media. By “liking” a Facebook page, you are essentially saying, “Yes, you are welcome to advertise directly to me,” so ads for page likes is key. Followers can be sent updates, videos, and links, and you can engage with your followers through Comments. Analytics also allow you to see who your audience is and how they are responding, and you can alter your ad in subtle ways to shift targets easily. Any marketing funds you have should be funneled into Facebook ads and, as your campaign goes live and earns money, you should dedicate a percentage of that money to reinvest in more ads, to keep things cooking.

     agency 2.0

    If you Can, Hire a Crowdfunding Agency

    PR firms and specialized crowdfunding agencies, like Agency 2.0, usually require a retainer fee plus a percentage of campaign profits, so they are not cheap. But they take a huge amount of work off the shoulders of the campaign, and they only take on a project if they feel they can guarantee its success. (In 2015, for example, Agency 2.0 had a 100% success rate on campaigns they worked on). So if you can get the advance capital to hire one, it’s all but guaranteed to be returned after the campaign. The campaigns that make five figures or more almost all hire specialized firms. But keep in mind that you still need to do a lot of the work: preparing the video, photos, text, additional PR outreach, and most importantly, responding to your backers and commenters in a professional, courteous way. Crowd-funding only succeeds through the good will of backers, who should be your best friends, spreading the good word on your behalf.


  • Does technological analysis destroy the romance of art history?

    The Secret History of Art just published a new article in Aeon Magazine, looking at hi-tech discoveries in Bosch paintings and the repercussions on how they can remove some of the fun from art history.


    Check it out here.

  • How Not to Buy Stolen, Looted or Forged Art at Art Fairs

    Need a hand when visiting your next art fair? The bad guys have lots of tricks up their sleeves to get you to buy something you shouldn’t. In The Secret History of Art’s latest piece in the NY ObserverArt-et-criminalite-Noah-Charney-Fabrizio-Panone_article_landscape_pm_v8, I’ll give you some tips on how not to be fooled.

  • Bosch, Freud, Jung, Cronuts

    Liminal zones or beings occupy the narrow space between two opposites, a bit of both, wholly neither. Twilight is the liminal time between day and night. Venice is a liminal city, between aquatic and terrestrial. A centaur is a liminal being: half horse, half human. A cronut is a liminal snack: half croissant, half donut, all delicious.

    What does this have to do with the paintings of Bosch?

    No creator has better embodied the liminal than Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch, whose work is being featured this year, the 500th anniversary of his presumed death (so little is known of his life that scholars can only guess at his birth and death dates). Exhibitions around the world bring this Renaissance Dutch painter to the fore: at Harvard’s Fogg Museum, at the Museo del Prado in Madrid and in his hometown, the wonderfully-named (and punctuated) ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

    Read the whole article in Salon.

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