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Ziv Schneider is currently a grad student in NYU whose biggest project seeks to preserve the memories of the most invaluable missing pieces in art history. In her virtual reality museum, dubbed The Museum of Stolen Art, Ziv features artworks that “cannot be viewed physically anywhere in the world.”
Designed to look like a real museum, the individual exhibitions feature lost, stolen, or destroyed art hung on white walls, making up a labyrinth of hallways where visitors are guided through. There are some 160,000 listed items on the Art Loss Register, giving Ziv a massive array of material to raise awareness. The first three collections will be dedicated to exhibiting lost pieces looted from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Gardner’s Stolen Art
On March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised themselves as Boston police officers, entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, handcuffed the guards, and walked out with 13 works of art, worth over $300 million. Among the stolen were pieces by Rembrandt (3), Vermeer (1), and Govaert Flinck (1).
Archaeological looting in Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq resulted in one of the largest thefts of art in history. The museum’s collection consisted mostly of man-made artifacts dating up to seven thousand years ago. With over 13 thousand objects stolen, the staggering loss led to endless investigation, bringing back about half of the objects safely.