As America’s only full-time professor of art crime, Professor Thompson studies the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art. She has discussed art crime topics in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Freakonomics podcast, among other publications, and have been invited to lecture at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia, as well as many other venues.
Her book, Possession (Yale, 2016) explores the history of the private collecting of Greek and Roman antiquities; NPR said that it “realigns our own sensibilities about art” and named it a Best Book of 2016.
She is currently researching the ways in which terrorist groups both sell and destroy art to support their genocidal campaigns, as well as the legalities and ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage.
In 2017, Professor Thompson co-curated an exhibit at John Jay of art and literature by detainees at Guantánamo. She is in her fourth year of teaching the Macaulay Honors College seminar Arts in New York City.