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The Art News blog on Antiquities, Archaeology, Art Collecting, Art Education, Events, Exhibitions, Museums, and More…

Repatriation Interruptus: Met’s Good Faith Attempt to Work with Italy Stymied By Seizure

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Repatriation Interruptus: Met’s Good Faith Attempt to Work with Italy Stymied By Seizure

Repatriation Interruptus: Met’s Good Faith Attempt to Work with Italy Stymied By Seizure

July 31, 2017.   ANTIQUITIES HUNTER AND ZEALOUS PROSECUTORS SPIN A LOOTED ART STORY Today’s announcement of the seizure of an ancient Greek vase from the Metropolitan Museum in New York is an example of how prosecutors and a self-styled artifacts hunter can make hay with claims that were already being dealt with in good faith between a museum and a source country government. The real story is that a major museum bought an artwork in 1989, exhibited it for decades, was denied access to information about it for more than 25 years, and is now attacked for holding “loot.” Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis claims the credit for discovering a looted object, by using decades-old photographs and records the Italian government…

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Art Professionals Oppose Draconian EU Proposal

Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Art Professionals Oppose Draconian EU Proposal

Art Professionals Oppose Draconian EU Proposal

July 28, 2017.  EU REGULATION IS BASED ON FAKE NEWS & BAD FACTS A European Union proposal to “regulate” the ancient art market is on a fast track to destroy it. Arts organizations such as the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) say that the European Commission’s regulation is based upon its unquestioning acceptance of fake news and phony numbers. They say that the EU Commission failed to consult market experts, and that the Commission’s lack of the most basic understanding of how the art trade works will result in destroying the legitimate trade. The proposal for an EU Regulation is presently being submitted to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. On July 13, the…

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Congress Holds CPAC Accountable

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Congress Holds CPAC Accountable

Congress Holds CPAC Accountable

July 25, 2017.   CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATORS NOW REQUIRING STATE DEPARTMENT TO REPORT ON SELF-HELP MEASURES TAKEN BY COUNTRIES SEEKING U.S. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE Congress has finally taken steps to ensure that the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) actually documents the effort (or lack of it) that art-source countries make on their own behalf to inventory and protect sites and museums. The law that CPAC operates under requires that a country requesting import restrictions meet this requirement: 19 U.S.C. § 2602(a)(1)(B) that the State Party has taken measures consistent with the Convention to protect its cultural patrimony. The Cultural Property Advisory Committee has often been accused of ignoring this requirement; this author recalls it recommending an MOU when the only step taken by…

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Exhibition in Austin: Epic Tales from Ancient India

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Exhibition in Austin: Epic Tales from Ancient India

Exhibition in Austin: Epic Tales from Ancient India

July 24, 2017.  PAINTINGS FROM THE BINNEY COLLECTION AT THE SAN DIEGO MUSEUM OF ART BRING INDIAN HERITAGE TO AUSTIN The University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art is hosting the exhibit Epic Tales from Ancient India: Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art through October 1, 2017. Part of the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, this exhibit of narrative art includes 90 paintings depicting the significant cultural stories and styles from the regions of South Asia during the 16th through the 19th century. The exhibition will be arranged in literary sequence, placing the paintings in the context of the story from which they are derived. Included in the depictions are excerpts from great works like the “Bhagavata…

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Indian Monuments Threatened By Removal of Legal Protections

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Indian Monuments Threatened By Removal of Legal Protections

Indian Monuments Threatened By Removal of Legal Protections

July 24, 2017.   ALARM SOUNDED ON GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION, INDIFFERENCE, AND NEGLECT Will the next Indian elevated highway be built in front of the Tomb of Akbar in Agra? An opinion piece in The Hindu newspaper, Making of a Monumental Crisis, spotlights how Indian legislation on monuments has been undermined by government policies that favor development above preservation. History professor Nayajot Lahiri of Ashoka University writes that the latest government proposal – to strip away the narrow protections of a 1959 law prohibiting construction immediately next to a national monument – will be disastrous for India’s already endangered heritage. According to Professor Lahiri, recent Cabinet notes show that the Ministry of Culture is now effectively acting as a clearinghouse for the…

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Hobby Lobby Breaks the Rules

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Hobby Lobby Breaks the Rules

Hobby Lobby Breaks the Rules

July 20, 2017. CORPORATION GOES FOREIGN TO BUY ANTIQUITIES A large US corporation, Hobby Lobby, appears to have dismissed red flags and warnings regarding acquiring antiquities overseas, and reaped the consequences. Ignoring instructions can be dangerous, especially when they could be paraphrased as “DO NOT remove Tablets A from Foreign State B or insert into United States!” Hobby Lobby is a closely-held US corporation. Valued at about $4 billion, it operates a successful national chain of about 600 large-box arts and crafts stores, selling do-it-yourself decorating sets, knitting yarns, model kits, plastic floral arrangements, and the like. The corporation’s founders’ evangelical Christian roots are expressed in its operating policies – stores are never open on Sundays, for example.  Its founders…

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UNESCO Declares Tomb of the Patriarchs/Al Haram Al-Ibrahimi to be Endangered Palestinian World Heritage Site

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on UNESCO Declares Tomb of the Patriarchs/Al Haram Al-Ibrahimi to be Endangered Palestinian World Heritage Site

UNESCO Declares Tomb of the Patriarchs/Al Haram Al-Ibrahimi to be Endangered Palestinian World Heritage Site

July 18, 2017.  UNESCO SAYS SITE OF THE BURIAL OF ABRAHAM, ISSAC and JACOB IS IN DANGER FROM ISRAELI “VANDALISM” On July 7, UNESCO declared the core of the Old City of Hebron to be a Palestinian World Heritage site. UNESCO also added it to the World Heritage in Danger List, specifically naming the burial place of the biblical patriarch Abraham and his son Isaac and grandson Jacob as at risk. This site is holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Muslims refer to the site as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi or the Ibrahimi Mosque, while for Jews, it is the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Palestinian representatives to UNESCO had sought to fast-track a motion to declare the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs…

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Colombia Seeks Bids for Salvage of $1Billion Shipwreck

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Colombia Seeks Bids for Salvage of $1Billion Shipwreck

Colombia Seeks Bids for Salvage of $1Billion Shipwreck

July 14, 2017.   WILL TREASURE BUILD A FOUNDATION FOR COLOMBIAN INSTITUTIONS AND SCHOLARSHIP? A fabled Spanish shipwreck may soon see the light, if investors are willing to engage with Colombian officials and agree on a plan to lift its treasure from the sea for Nearly a week after announcing a proposal from a private investor to bring the Spanish shipwreck, the San Jose, and its multi billion-dollar treasure to the surface, Columbian president Juan Manuel Santos Calderón opened bids from other investors willing to help with the salvage of the vessel. Considered to be “the most valuable treasure found in the history of humanity” by President Santos and some leading experts, the value of the San Jose’s treasure of silver,…

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Libya Claims Jewish Heritage is Libyan Patrimony

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Libya Claims Jewish Heritage is Libyan Patrimony

Libya Claims Jewish Heritage is Libyan Patrimony

July 12, 2017.  EXPANSIVE LIBYAN EMBARGO DEMANDS JEWISH ARTIFACTS. Update July 27, 2017. CCP and AAMD Speak Out at CPAC Meeting – Reported by HAARETZ. It is the longstanding policy of the Department of State that people do not have legitimate claims to their history or their art; only governments have claims to art and history. A request to block all art and artifacts from Libya up to 1911 from entering the United States appears to be the next step in a movement to bar entry of all art from the Middle East to the US. The Libyan Request for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) will limit access of all Libyan-Americans to their heritage,…

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Tuareg Art and Crafts May Be Next on US Embargo List

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Tuareg Art and Crafts May Be Next on US Embargo List

Tuareg Art and Crafts May Be Next on US Embargo List

July 11, 2017.   ETHNIC ART OF NOMADIC TUAREG ON CHOPPING BLOCK? A popular type of ethnographic art may soon be subject to a US embargo, if Libya has its way. A Libyan Request to halt imports of tribal Tuareg art is a further expansion of the already very broad restrictions on importation of global art into the US. Tribal and ethnographic art professional and collector group ATADA has submitted a highly critical response to Libya’s demand for US import restrictions to be imposed on ethnographic art up to 1911 from the Tuareg and Berber people of Libya. Libya claims that import restrictions are justified because there is “evidence for the looting of… sites with Berber ethnological material.” The Cultural Property Advisory…

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Due Diligence: Access to Databases of Stolen Antiquities Denied

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Due Diligence: Access to Databases of Stolen Antiquities Denied

Due Diligence: Access to Databases of Stolen Antiquities Denied

July 10, 2017.  KEEPING INFORMATION SECRET HARMS MUSEUMS AND MARKETPLACE A parade of repatriated antiquities have made their way back to Italy from the United States in the last few months, highlighting a damaging lack of information on stolen and looted art that should be publicly available. Without it, it is unnecessarily difficult for museums and the market to determine whether items in their collections are legal to possess. A U.S. library, a museum and two New York galleries have all found objects in their collections to which Italy claims possession. The problem? The current owners had no way to access the information that identified items as missing or stolen. Proper due diligence requires access to complete information for verification…

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State Department Rushes Request for Libya Embargo

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on State Department Rushes Request for Libya Embargo

State Department Rushes Request for Libya Embargo

July 3, 2017.  ONE WEEK NOTICE AND ONLY ONE HOUR ALLOWED FOR MUSEUM & PUBLIC COMMENT FOR 5 YEARS  IMPORT BAN. Clearly, the State Department does not want to hear considered comment by museums, citizens of Libyan heritage, or anyone else from the public concerned about access to art from Libya or safe harbor for its threatened artifacts. The Department of State issued a Federal Register notice on July 3, 2017, the day before a Federal holiday and in the middle of a long holiday weekend, announcing that the Cultural Property Advisory Committee will review the request by the Government of Libya for an embargo on entry of art into the U.S. for all of Libya’s archaeological and ethnological material…

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Libya Requests US to Send Artifacts Back to War-torn Libya

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Libya Requests US to Send Artifacts Back to War-torn Libya

Libya Requests US to Send Artifacts Back to War-torn Libya

June 30, 2017.  Gift to Libyan Government, Threat to U.S. Citizen Access to Art and Heritage, or Both? STOP PRESS! The Department of State has sent a notice on July 3, 2017, the day before a Federal holiday and in the middle of a long holiday weekend. The Cultural Property Advisory Committee will review the Libyan request for an embargo on art on July 19-20. Only one week is allowed for comment. See: State Department Rushes Request for Libya Embargo, July 3, 2017. A ramped-up request to block art from Libya from entering the United States raises clear problems of compliance with US law – and appears to be the next step in a movement to embargo Middle Eastern art…

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Broken Promises, Dirty Dealings by Tongan Government

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Broken Promises, Dirty Dealings by Tongan Government

Broken Promises, Dirty Dealings by Tongan Government

June 30, 2017.  600 YEAR OLD SACRED SITE BULLDOZED TO MAKE WAY FOR SHANTYTOWN Less than two years after promising to protect the complex of Sia Heu Lupe and related mounds in Popua, the Tongan government has deliberately destroyed it. Sia Heu Lupe is a 600-year-old heritage site on shallow tide-water and reef lands in Tongatapu. Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has refused to state where the money for the subdivision that is replacing the heritage site has come from. He denies that any plans exist or that environmental studies or open bidding were needed to begin construction. In recent months, work crews have bulldozed the site to create roads and dug deep canals. The government has also encouraged immigrants from…

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Pause Before STOP 2: Proposed Art Law Would Harm Museums, Collectors, and Tribes

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Pause Before STOP 2: Proposed Art Law Would Harm Museums, Collectors, and Tribes

Pause Before STOP 2: Proposed Art Law Would Harm Museums, Collectors, and Tribes

June 28, 2017.  LAW SEEKS FEDERAL POLICY TO RETURN ALL ART TO TRIBES. A new and revised version of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony or STOP Act (S. 1400) was introduced by Senator Martin Heinrich on June 21, 2017. ATADA, a professional organization representing many of America’s top tribal and ethnographic art dealers and auctioneers, says that although the new STOP Act (STOP II) is an improvement on the 2016 bill in some ways, it remains seriously flawed. ATADA president John Molloy says, “ATADA supports returning important objects needed for tribal spiritual activities. That’s our policy, and we’ll continue it whatever happens to this bill.” But he continues, “This bill wasn’t thought through. It won’t achieve the tribes’ goals of…

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Macquisten on the Global Challenges for an Unprepared Market

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Macquisten on the Global Challenges for an Unprepared Market

Macquisten on the Global Challenges for an Unprepared Market

June 27, 2017.  JOURNALIST CONDEMNS FALSE ATTACKS, MISINFORMATION.  An article by Ivan Macquisten, A Triple Whammy, which appears in the July-August 2017 RICS Property Journal, is an excellent two-page summary of where the ancient art trade is today and why. The exploitation of war in the Middle East by anti-art trade campaigners, the prevalence of fake news, and the crucial steps that must be taken by the trade – establishing and disseminating the true facts and building public trust in the art market – are laid out clearly and succinctly. This is an article to circulate and to share.

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Alternative Trust Organizations: the Mantle of the Prophet in Istanbul

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Alternative Trust Organizations: the Mantle of the Prophet in Istanbul

Alternative Trust Organizations: the Mantle of the Prophet in Istanbul

June 24, 2017.  PRESERVATION OVER 59 GENERATIONS.  Artifacts, relics, documents, libraries and objects of historical importance may be found in a variety of institutions, some of which may not be familiar to all readers. Many know that religious rituals and declarations of faith may take place in the presence of particular holy relics held by religious institutions, and many of the most familiar of these are associated with the Catholic faith. Many other religious objects of historical importance or high aesthetic quality as housed permanently in secular surroundings, in museums. Fewer readers are likely to be familiar with the traditional charitable endowments and organizations known as waqf, which abound in the Muslim world. Waqf foundations are funded by inalienable charitable…

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Tunnel Under Stonehenge?

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Tunnel Under Stonehenge?

Tunnel Under Stonehenge?

June 22, 2017.  OPPONENTS FEAR HARM TO SITE’S INTEGRITY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS. A 1.8 mile long tunnel under Stonehenge may begin construction by 2020. The entrance and exit of the double lane tunnel will be constructed within the ancient Stonehenge site. One problem: the present plan would interfere with the line of sight from the standing stones to the setting sun on the winter solstice. The tunnel is designed to relieve congestion on the antiquated A303 highway that presently runs right through the site. The A303 is a heavily trafficked link to destinations in southwest England between two major highways, the M3 and M5. National Trust and National Heritage have approved the tunnel project. English Heritage operates the Neolithic standing…

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Countdown to the End of IS – Last Acts of Destruction

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Countdown to the End of IS – Last Acts of Destruction

Countdown to the End of IS – Last Acts of Destruction

June 23, 2017.  IS BLOWS UP MINARET, 800 YEAR OLD SYMBOL OF CITY OF MOSUL. Although IS is now left with very little territory in Iraq or Syria, it remains committed to destroying the historical record within  the area it does control, even to the point of erasing its own terrible history. On June 21, as Iraqi soldiers of the Counter-Terrorism Service moved to capture a last stronghold of the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, IS extremists blew up two historic sites – the world famous 12th century Nuri mosque and the adjacent “Al-Hadba” (Hunchback) leaning minaret. The Nuri mosque is particularly significant to ISIS’ public image because it is where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi first declared the ISIS “caliphate” in…

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Museum News? No More ‘Olds.’

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Museum News? No More ‘Olds.’

Museum News? No More ‘Olds.’

June 20, 2017.  EVEN FOR GLOBAL MUSEUMS, CONTEMPORARY ART DOMINATES EXHIBITIONS.   The Art Newspaper’s 2017 annual report on museum attendance reinforces mounting evidence that what is fashionable today in art is just that – today’s art. Not only does contemporary art by living artists dominate the market (with antiquities the least valuable and least popular category of art at less than 1% of total global art sales), contemporary art also accounts for the majority of museum shows and the highest museum attendance. The top twenty 2016 exhibitions still include numerous Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and pre-war Modern genres, but there was only one show of ancient art among them. That show was the Tokyo National Museum’s exhibition of The Terracotta Army of…

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