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Framing the Picture

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Title: Framing the Picture
Author: Nelson, Joshua
Department: School of Fine Art and Music
Program: Art History and Visual Culture
Advisor: Hickson, Sally
Abstract: While many have investigated media constructions of newsworthy crimes, the overwhelming focus of these analyses has been upon violent crime in its myriad forms. In marked contrast, this thesis examines the Canadian print media's construction of art fraud - the offence, its victims and offenders - and, in particular, its response to acclaimed artist Norval Morrisseau's reports of victimization. It finds that, just as art fraud is not thought of as normal crime news and is bracketed away elsewhere, the victims of art fraud tend not to be regarded as ideal victims. The Canadian print media rarely framed art fraud as a crime against culture; more commonly, it was depicted as a low-risk crime that pays, with its perpetrators cast as charming rogues or artful dodgers and the most notorious depicted as heroes. This curious portrayal may promote schadenfreude, have incentive effects for some and discourage others from reporting experiences of criminal victimization.
Date: 2013-04
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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