A collection of forty-five true-crime stories about the visual arts in Australia: art theft, art forgery, art censorship, art vandalism, and protest art. The title comes from the famous artnapping of Picasso's Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria. One of the artnapper's demands was an art prize called 'The Picasso Ransom'.
While that crime is famous, others stories of crimes, from the colonial to the contemporary, have faded from memory. Amongst them is the first break-in at the Adelaide Art Gallery, an entire exhibition of forged Pollocks, art prosecuted as pornography, decapitated statues, and burnt flags. There are great artists, including Renoir, Rover Thomas, Brett Whitely and Albert Tucker and some notorious criminals, including Murray Farquar, Steven Sellers, and Carl Williams.
It is based on extensive research in newspaper archives, observing trials, interviews, and decades of experience in the art world.