Noah Charney

noah charney

Noah's Latest News

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

  • Illustrated History of Forgery: a new book from Phaidon

    The Secret History of Art’s next book will be released by Phaidon in May 2015.  Entitled THE ART OF FORGERY: CASE STUDIES IN DECEPTION, it is an illustrated history of forgery, focusing on art but dealing also with other fields, from wine to religious relics, and organized by motivation of past forgers.

    Learn more here.  And you can watch a short promotional video here.

  • You Should Really Be Reading This: Kate Zambreno & Eimear McBride

    The second entry in my new column for The Believer, “You Should Really Be Reading This,” is live. This month I interview the great Kate Zambreno, and we discuss her pick of the hidden-gem novel that we should all be reading: “A Cannibal and Melancholy Mourning” by Catherine Mavrikakis.

    And in case you missed it, here’s the first entry, featuring Eimear McBride:

  • 10 Scariest Stories Ever Written

    In honor of Halloween, the Secret History of Art is pleased to present a series of short essays on what I consider the scariest stories ever written.  These come from a project I did last year for the New Haven Review, in which I read thirty famous short stories in thirty days, to study the art form.  The theme of the stories I liked most was an atmosphere of what I call “creeping dread” that was present, whether or not the story in question really qualifies as a horror story.  But the result, the pleasurable tingle that we get from a good ghost story, was present in so many of them, that they can safely be considered among the scariest stories ever written, whether or not scaring the reader was the primary goal of the author.  Here is my personal list, with the added bonus of each title being linked to an essay of mine about the story, as it appeared in the New Haven Review.  Happy reading and happy Halloween!

    Story Playlist 14: The Yellow Wallpaper

    Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s tale of a woman slowly going mad.  When the figures start crawling out of the wallpaper…

    Story Playlist 11: A Rose for Emily

    William Faulkner ends this story with a mega-whopper of a surprise that gives me the creeps even as I think of it now…

    Story Playlist 8: The Monkey’s Paw

    The ultimate morality tale of “be careful what you wish for” is a good example of the proto-zombie genre.

    Story Playlist 5: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    I grew up with Washington Irving’s tale in the format of the Disney animated movie, but the original is plenty scary–there’s something devilish about early American, Puritanical settlements (see also “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “The Colour Out of Space”)/

    Story Playlist 4: The Fall of the House of Usher

    Many works by Edgar Allan Poe could feature in such a list, and many focus on his obsession with live burial, but this one gets into your head more than the others.

    Story Playlist 2: The Minister’s Black Veil

    Hawthorne’s tale is a ghost story crossed with a whodunit. We try to figure out what, exactly, is going on, and what happened between the minister and the dead girl, but whatever it is, it’s creepy.

    Story Playlist 31: Sredni Vashtar

    A story that is as bad-ass as short fiction can get.  What kid wouldn’t want to keep a man-eating weasel in their garden shed?

    Story Playlist 25: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

    Joyce Carol Oates combines vampires with “Southern Gothic” in this urgent, sweat-inducing tale based on a true story.  The bad guy’s wearing boots with stuffed toes, so he walks like an animal, always gets me.

    Story Playlist 29: One for the Road

    It’s hard to choose just one Stephen King story: “Children of the Corn” got strong consideration, and both stories, from the same collection, feature horrifying monstrous children–which is always freakier than horrifying, monstrous adults.

    But the winner is…

    Story Playlist 9: The Colour Out of Space

    The scariest story I’ve ever read is H. P. Lovecraft’s weird tale where the villain is an amorphous floating colo(u)r from outer space, which does not sound scary at all, but man oh man, just read this…

  • Study Art Crime in Italy

    The Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) 2014 Postgraduate Certificate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection program will be held from May 29 through August 15, 2014 in the heart of Umbria in Amelia, Italy.

    In its seventh year, this academically intensive ten week program provides in-depth, postgraduate level instruction in a wide variety of theoretical and practical elements related to art and heritage crime. By examining art crime’s interconnected world, students experience an integrated curriculum in an interactive, participatory setting. The programs’ courses include comprehensive multidisciplinary lectures, class discussions and presentations as well as field classes, which serve as the backdrop for exploring art crime, its nature, and impact.

    Each course associated with the program has been selected to underscore the value of, and necessity for, a longitudinal multidisciplinary approach to the study of this type of criminal behavior and enterprise.

    This program has been designed to expose participants to an integrated curriculum occurring in a highly interactive, participatory, student-centered setting. Instructional modules include both lectures and “hands-on” learning in the form of case studies, presentations, in situ field classes and group discussions. At the end of the program, participants will have a solid mastery of a broad array of concepts pertaining to cultural property protection, preservation, conservation, and security.

    Students explore such topics as:

    art crime and its history
    art and heritage law
    art crime in war
    the art trade
    art insurance
    museum security
    law enforcement methods
    archaeological looting and policy
    heritage looting
    art forgery


    This interdisciplinary program offers substantive study for post-graduate students of criminology, law, security studies, sociology, art history, archaeology, and history as well as art police and security professionals, lawyers, insurers, curators, conservators, members of the art trade.

    Important Dates

    November 15, 2014 – Early Application Deadline
    January 01, 2015 – General Application Deadline
    February 01, 2014 – Late Application Deadline
    April 2015 – Advance Reading Assigned
    May 29, 2015 – Students Arrive in Italy
    May 30031, 2015 – Program Orientation
    June 1, 2015 – Classes Begin
    August 7, 2015 – Classes End
    August 8-15, 2015 – Students Housing Check-out **
    Nov. 15, 2015 -Thesis Submission Deadline

    **Some students stay a few days to one week longer to participate in the August Palio dei Colombi, Notte Bianca and Ferragosto festivities.

    For questions about programming, costs, and census availability, please write to us for a complete prospectus and application at:

  • Life Without Enthusiasm is Like Sex without an Orgasm: an Interview with Klemen Globochnik

    An idea saved Klemen Globochnik’s life.  Depressed and with existential doubts, the young Slovene salesman turned away from his black thoughts and to an elaborate, multi-year project that resulted in an inspiration book with a striking title: “Life Without Enthusiasm is Like Sex Without an Orgasm.”  The Secret History of Art spoke to Klemen about his book, inspirational writing, and the trials of selling door-to-door.

    How did you first conceive of the idea for your book?

    The idea first came in February 2012, when I stood on a balcony of my apartment, thinking about ending my life. I was ready to die! I was so tired and weary of repeating same old patterns that led to things falling apart, that I was seriously considering whether my life had a meaning or not. I always believed I have a true purpose in life to fulfil. So if there wasn’t be one for me, I would rather call it quits. But there was also another thought that occurred to me. Since I experienced some highly meaningful lessons over the course of 6 months (during the time of 2011/2012 when being involved in direct sales), I decided to focus only on newly-gained knowledge instead, and share everything that turned out to be successful for me. The result is a modern-day “kamasutra” for personal and professional success, based around 100 inspirational stories, dealing with successful ways to overcome challenges in life. So, the biggest inspiration for writing the book were moments when my life situations were the most challenging.

    Do you feel that you are more writer or editor, considering the theme of your book is also the stories of others?

    The foundation of my book is 100 of my own stories, enriched with my personal and professional experiences. I’ve been writing for more than 16 years now, starting with poetry, lyrics, prose, working as a music journalist, before I decided to write a non-fiction book. I entirely entrusted all editorial services to my Australian editor. The paperback also includes an additional part to the book – 50 success stories from people from all over the world  (USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Africa, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Singapore, Israel, Argentina, Ukraine, Philippines, Austria, Sweden, North Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Romania, etc). Due to reasons of authenticity and genuineness the additional part was not professionally edited. because I wanted those stories to stay as ‘true’ and as individualistic as the people who contributed them.

    If you were to pick one of the sections of your book as a favorite, which would it be and why?

    The fact is that every story in a book somehow changed my outlook on life. I picked out only the most meaningful and transformative experiences. But the ones that caused the true transformation, which eventually sparked the initiative to write this book, are associated with direct sales. I dove into a writing process as a skilled salesperson who decided to go through ‘hell’ just to get to the point of understanding the meaning of the word ‘enthusiasm’.  There is one story that stands out, where I tried something that nobody from my peer group had. Many times, in my direct selling days, my plans were crushed. On one December evening, when things were not going so well, I decided to knock on a few random doors. It was very cold outside and I was wearing nothing but a suit and tie. I had been walking for more than an hour going from house to house, without any success. It was already 8.30 pm and people were closing their doors on me, without even listening to what I had to say. My body was telling me to give up, but my heart kept insisting, ‘you have to stay, just stay a little bit longer.’ I got fifteen rejections and succeeded on my sixteenth try. I made the sale. Back in the office I was praised for my persistence by my mentor and coach as an example of true tenacity, in front of the other employees. I succeeded because I listened to my heart, and not my body. I chose this story, because I’ve learned about the importance of persisting in a situation that would normally be considered as unpleasant or difficult. Like a saying, ‘everything is possible’, but only if you create circumstances to make it possible.

    Has the reaction of readers to your book surprised you in any way?

    Some women take the title too literally, which makes them misinterpret it before they actually read the book. But that doesn’t surprise me, because it’s an obvious trap to fell into. I challenge my readers to not only read the book, but to use its principles in the context of their own lives and only then make a judgment about it. I’m not looking for praise about how well written the stories are (because it’s not fiction) or how great the idea about two covers is, but I’m always open to hearing how useful and applicable the content is. The biggest compliment is when people learn something new about themselves and their own capabilities, when they excel at what they do, because this is the book’s main aim. One female reader told me a story that my “How to” section about focusing on just one thing at a time did not work out for her, because she wanted to progress quickly and with more things at the same time. Knowing this helped her develop a multi-tasking ability due to that failed attempt, which, for me, was even more valuable, because it came out of her own head.

    Is there anything about your book that is particularly Slovene, or is your country of origin largely unconnected with the project?  I’m interested also in your decision to publish in English.

    The book doesn’t have the spirit of any particular country. It has a spirit of someone who is a fighter and a rebel with a true cause, and ‘never-say-die’ attitude. The only relation with my native country is the fact that the majority of stories took place in Slovenia. Instead, I wanted to break the boundaries and unite some of the most basic things that we as human beings all have in common. For example, we all have fears, we all have desires, we all have something we are good at, etc. The decision for the book’s language was a mixture of a national research and personal preferences. It came about after a survey that I did in Slovenia. The results were surprising: only 31 percent suggested that I should write a book on a motivational topic in my native language, while 69 percent of all votes were for English. After that, this decision about the language was a natural and easy one to take. I am also comfortable with the fact, that my work can be immediately available to readers, wherever on Earth the English language is spoken.

    I read an interview about you in which you state that you are a “musicaholic,” that your “fetish is music.”  Tell me about this—and also tell me some bands or songs I should be listening to now that I might not have heard of.

    I’ve been hooked on music ever since I’ve heard Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” which was in 6th grade. This was a defining moment that made me feel in a way that I’ve never felt before. And the most amazing thing is that nowadays an experience with music still feels the same as it did when I was a kid. This is the main reason why I still stick with it and I don’t believe this can ever change. Music gives me the creative energy that inspires me to do all kinds of different expressive things in life. I wouldn’t expose any particular bands or songs (as there are way too many), but I’d say 90’s American rock and metal in general always strikes a chord with me. When certain music presses on your emotions so much that you feel more like a song instead of just liking a song, that’s the thing for you. And it not needs to be only music, it can be whatever intensifies your emotions in a way beyond your control.

    What is “Filter of Lies in 13 Steps?”  Sounds intriguing…

    This was my initial ‘poetry in graphics’ project that was inspired by a Marilyn Manson painting exhibition, made in 2007. I remember that it was quite disturbing for the team that I was working with at a time, but it was inspired by the “Antichrist Superstar” himself, what can you expect?! Eventually, in order to finish it, I changed some details to make it less offensive. I always want to push the envelope with my work. I remember being really enthusiastic about it and this is something I kept to this day. I’ve always been a desperate believer, because belief that you have in yourself is the only thing that nobody can take away from you. I created “Filter” around time that I started to work as a music journalist, so whenever I would go to large festivals abroad, I would always have some booklets with me and give them away as a ‘thank you’ to musicians that I worked with. This comes down to 8 years of my artistic endeavor and carving my path as a writer.

    What will your next book project be?

    At the moment I’m not thinking about upcoming projects. I have a clear idea about my next book though, but I’m fully concentrated on promoting this one. Due to a fact that my book was released in a self-publish manner, it’s going to take some time until word goes around. I don’t see myself as one of those writers that comes up with a new project every year, because I don’t see how this can work out. Jim Davis, the creator of famous cat “Garfield”, drew 2 days a week, when other days he studied how to market his work when he was still unknown. If you believe in the greatness of you work, then sharing it with as many people as possible should definitely be your No. 1 goal.

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