Sunday 18 February 2018

New York's finest art critics don't miss a beat

John Swain in New York

CIA and FBI agents have been sent on a course at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to "refresh their sense of inquiry" by analysing paintings

They are among groups of law enforcement officials, including New York police officers and members of the US Secret Service, who have attended classes at the gallery.

The course, titled The Art of Perception, is aimed at improving officers' ability to describe what they see in the course of their inquiries.

Course leader Amy Herman said: "We're getting them off the streets and out of the precincts, and it refreshes their sense of inquiry.

"They're thinking, 'Oh, how am I doing my job,' and it forces them to think about how they communicate, and how they see the world around them."


Ms Herman, an art historian, developed the course for medical students but successfully pitched it as a training course to the New York Police Academy.

Inspector Kenneth Mekeel, of the New York Police Department, said the course helped officers with their work.

"We always teach them step back, look at what you have, the crime scene, make observations," he said. "There's more to a picture than meets the eye."

Ms Herman said that law enforcement officers made "terrific" art critics.

"They're so smart, they're so observant," she said. "Often, they see things that art historians don't always notice."

Bill Reiner, an FBI special agent, said Ms Herman's classes had helped one of his officers crack a fraud scheme worth up to $100m (€72m). (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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