Noah Charney. Photograph by Urska Charney

Who is Noah Charney giving his book to this Christmas?

The Museum of Lost Art author tells us his personal highs and lows of 2018 and who’ll be getting a great gift

While Noah Charney’s 2018 book The Museum of Lost Art details many great works that have slipped beyond the reach of mankind, his own work in 2018 has, thankfully, contributed to the greater sum of civilised artistic discourse. Here’s how the US-born, Slovenian-based academic and fine-art sleuth has been spending his time, what he has planned for next year, and who he wants to give a copy of his precious Phaidon book to. 

What was the thing that inspired you most this year? I've enjoyed doing some collaborative projects: a cookbook with Slovenia's leading chef (JB), a handbook for young artists with Slovenia's leading conceptual artist (JASA), and other adventures wherein I'm helping someone else tell an amazing story. 

What was your personal highlight? I was delighted with several almost-awards. My book The Collector of Lives was a finalist for the Pulitzer and my latest Phaidon book, The Museum of Lost Art, came in second place for the Digital Book World Awards. Silver medals are okay by me.  

What annoyed you most? There's a vein of water flowing under my house from township-owned land, and it's been an adventure to get the town hall to fix the problem to keep water out of my basement! (Okay, it's not art-related, but you asked...) 

What can we expect from you in 2019? In 2019, I'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign on behalf of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art. We are a very small research group that established, ten years ago, the world's first academic program in the study of art crime and cultural heritage protection, which we run every year in Italy. We are planning to raise scholarship funding for students from at-risk countries to attend our program and get training in how to protect cultural heritage back home. That's my biggest goal in the near future. Plus, more books! 

Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Xmas and why? I hear from readers all over the world who have read it and send me stories of art lost and found. I feel that it's hit upon a touchstone for a lot of people. But I'm not sure my great aunt has a copy, so she'll be getting one post-haste!


The Museum of Lost Art
The Museum of Lost Art

You too can enjoy those stories by ordering a copy of The Museum of Lost Art here.