What can you do with a major in art history? To answer this question, take a trip to the career website and look at the dreary post-graduation statistics for art history majors. It’s no wonder why Jon Markell–a Cal art history alumnus–chose the road of desperation by pursuing an adventurously profitable (albeit, temporary) starring role in “Indiana Jones and the Tax Deductible Artifacts!”

According to The Daily Californian, Jon Markell and his wife, Cari–both owners of the Silk Roads Gallery in Southern California–inflated the appraisals of stolen Southeast Asian artifacts for smuggler Robert Olsen. This allowed for profit whenever the couple assisted Olsen with museum donations, whose recipients may include the Berkeley Art Museum.

Right now, BAM is just an innocent bystander, iffy about whether it’s actually in possession of illegal items. If they were under heavy suspicion, the FBI would have raided them in conjunction with last week’s Southern California invasions. Now that definitely would have been the talk of the town–though we doubt the sweep would go the way we imagine, anyway.

Meanwhile, an Oakland art haven should prepare for a raid by people of another kind: bargain-hunters and art-lovers. After going digital with their collections (and perhaps to apologize for their lawbreaking alumnus), the art history department on campus donated 35,000 professionally mounted prints to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. The prints now sell for $1 each–perfect for the budgets of recent art history graduates.

Museum May House Illegally Taken Works [Daily Cal]
Berkeley museum accepted items from couple in stolen-antiquities case [San Jose Mercury News]
UC Berkeley prints on sale for $1 each [SF Chronicle]


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