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Save the Date! May 22 Symposium on Native American Cultural Property in Santa Fe

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Save the Date! May 22 Symposium on Native American Cultural Property in Santa Fe

Save the Date! May 22 Symposium on Native American Cultural Property in Santa Fe

April 28, 2017.  On May 22, 2017 there will be a public symposium on cultural heritage issues jointly presented by the Antique Tribal Arts Dealers Association (ATADA) and the School for Advanced Research (SAR). The full day symposium is titled “Understanding Cultural Property: A Path to Healing Through Communication.” It will be held at the Eldorado Hotel, Ballroom, 309 W. San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501, from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. Cost is $35.00 per person; tickets are at https://www.atada.org/events/# Legislation introduced but not passed in 2016, the STOP Act, was aimed at specifically prohibiting the export of Native American and Hawaiian cultural objects, but had the potential to dramatically change the legal status of Native artifacts, from…

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Culture Crime in Russia: Smashing Sculptures, 10 days – Playing Pokemon in Church, 3 1/2 years

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Culture Crime in Russia: Smashing Sculptures, 10 days – Playing Pokemon in Church, 3 1/2 years

Culture Crime in Russia: Smashing Sculptures, 10 days – Playing Pokemon in Church, 3 1/2 years

April 28, 2017.  A bill being readied for introduction in the Russian parliament will repress artistic and theatrical expression, discouraging display of works that fail to express state-approved “patriotism, religious beliefs, national and aesthetic values.” Exhibitions that fail to toe the line will face fines – but breaking these “moral rules of conduct” could also be treated as criminal. The legislation, if passed, is likely to increase already widespread fears in the artistic community. Concerns are already heightened by regularly recurring violence against art and artists by religious and conservative political activists. Rather than acknowledging that the bill is censorship, pure and simple, and intended to punish artists and art venues for free expression, the bill perversely claims to “protect…

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The Guennol Stargazer – Pre-1970 provenance isn’t good enough?

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on The Guennol Stargazer – Pre-1970 provenance isn’t good enough?

The Guennol Stargazer – Pre-1970 provenance isn’t good enough?

April 27, 2017.  Christie’s New York is auctioning a 9-inch-high stone figurine, from the Chalcolithic Period (c.3000-2200 BC), known as the Guennol Stargazer, that was part of Edith and Alastair Bradley Martin’s Guennol Collection.  The “Stargazer,” so named because its eyes appear to be looking into the heavens, was on loan to NY’s Metropolitan Museum for 27 years, and has been documented in the US for more than 50 years. The Turkish government never objected or raised a claim to the statuette. Now, however, a prominent archaeological blogger, Sam Hardy, has publicized the arguments of Özgen Acar*, a Turkish journalist who claims that the statuette belongs to Turkey, and questioned Christie’s role in its sale. In his recent blog post,…

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Cleveland Museum Deserves Full Credit for Researching and Returning Head of Drusus to Italy

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Cleveland Museum Deserves Full Credit for Researching and Returning Head of Drusus to Italy

Cleveland Museum Deserves Full Credit for Researching and Returning Head of Drusus to Italy

April 26, 2017.  The Cleveland Museum of Art should be receiving praise for its diligence in researching a valuable marble portrait bust of Drusus Minor, and for working in full cooperation with Italian scholars and authorities. When previously unknown photographs from 1926 were unearthed by Italian scholars between 2011-2013, it was discovered that the bust had been found in a 1926 excavation in Sessa Aurunca, in the province of Campania, Italy. The bust had been transferred to the archaeological Museum Antiquarium di Sessa Aurunca, where it was stored. It is now believed to have been stolen from the Sessa Aurunca museum in 1944 by occupying troops. The Cleveland Museum of Art made the appropriate decision to return the bust of…

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Gallery Demands Statue be Returned to Mexican Church

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Gallery Demands Statue be Returned to Mexican Church

Gallery Demands Statue be Returned to Mexican Church

April 26, 2017.  The attorney for a Santa Fe, NM gallery that handed over a statue said to have been stolen in 2007 from the Santa Monica Church in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico has demanded that US authorities guarantee that it be returned to the church. The Peyton Wright Gallery handed the statue of Santa Rosa de Lima over to Homeland Security before receiving a search warrant and is not accused of any wrongdoing. The statue had been consigned to it by the former owner of an art storage business, where it had been abandoned years previously. Mark Rhodes, the gallery’s attorney, said that in his history of representing galleries, he has never been able to get any…

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Nations Meet in Alternative Universe in Which They Support Cultural Tolerance

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Nations Meet in Alternative Universe in Which They Support Cultural Tolerance

Nations Meet in Alternative Universe in Which They Support Cultural Tolerance

April 24, 2017.  Ten nations met in Athens this week at an “Ancient Civilizations Forum.” The aim of the meeting, which produced no plan of action, was to combat ISIS’s ongoing destruction of ancient sites in Syria and northern Iraq through the creation of a “new coalition to protect ancient heritage from extremism and senseless destruction.” Representatives came from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, China, India, Greece, Italy, Bolivia, Mexico, and Peru. All ten nations are strong advocates for state control of culture, all have restrictive export policies and at least half of them have a recent history of violent destruction of minority cultures. The immediate question this convocation raises is, in what alternative universe do China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, or India…

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Patrick Sears Retiring as Director of The Rubin Museum

Posted by on Apr 15, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Patrick Sears Retiring as Director of The Rubin Museum

Patrick Sears Retiring as Director of The Rubin Museum

April 15, 2017.   The Rubin Museum has announced the pending retirement of Executive Director Patrick Sears. After serving eleven years with the Rubin – the first six as Chief Operating Officer and the last five as Executive Director – Sears intends to retire as soon as a new Executive Director is appointed and assumes office. Sears joined the museum just three years after its inception and has been a driving force in the development and implementation of its vision of “inspiring visitors to make connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas of the Himalayas and neighboring regions including India.” This dedication to an inspiring visitor experience, in addition to Sears’ commitment to the economic stability and growth of…

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The Diker Collection of Native American Art Assumes its Place in History in the American Wing of the Met

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on The Diker Collection of Native American Art Assumes its Place in History in the American Wing of the Met

The Diker Collection of Native American Art Assumes its Place in History in the American Wing of the Met

April 14, 2017.  Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced that Charles and Valerie Diker have made a generous gift of 91 masterworks to the museum from their collection of Native American art. The objects will be exhibited in the American Wing of the Met, starting in the fall of 2018 – the first time that the Met has placed an extensive collection of Native American objects “within their geographical context.” Past exhibitions of Native American objects have primarily been displayed ethnographically at the Met, within the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas galleries. In most museums, the creative works of indigenous peoples are rarely brought into the main galleries or granted the prestige…

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Making Life Miserable for Museums, Again?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Making Life Miserable for Museums, Again?

Making Life Miserable for Museums, Again?

April 13, 2017.  Zahi Hawass, the Honorary Chairman of the Antiquities Coalition Advisory Council, former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, former Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Vice Minister of Culture, has been named as an international ambassador for cultural heritage by the United Nations International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development. Hawass moved quickly to impress UN policies with his personal stamp, saying he was happy to accept the position to “ensure the value of Egypt’s civilization in the world.” In speaking of the vulnerable monuments of Middle Eastern culture at risk through war in Syria and Iraq, he rejected any notion of ensuring safe harbor for objects in the West.  Instead, according to Hend El-Behary, writing…

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Egypt News: Foreign Money for Museums and Monuments, as Regime Seeks Tourist Dollars, and a Colossus Comes to Central Cairo

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Egypt News: Foreign Money for Museums and Monuments, as Regime Seeks Tourist Dollars, and a Colossus Comes to Central Cairo

Egypt News: Foreign Money for Museums and Monuments, as Regime Seeks Tourist Dollars, and a Colossus Comes to Central Cairo

April 12, 2017.  Ancient sites and museums may benefit, as Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, unwilling to change Egypt’s repressive public policies, hopes to revive tourism without lessening authoritarian control. Although site protection and conservation remains generally unattended, Egypt’s cultural administration is striving to invigorate moribund museum projects around Cairo with infusions of foreign cash. It is also looking to foreign funders for the $110 million it estimates is needed reopen twenty provincial museums that have closed in the six years since the revolution. A few positive steps have finally been taken. The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), begun 13 years ago and still under construction, opened its first temporary exhibition hall in March with a show of traditional…

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Innovative Antiquities Sale by Toledo Museum of Art

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Innovative Antiquities Sale by Toledo Museum of Art

Innovative Antiquities Sale by Toledo Museum of Art

April 11, 2017.  The Toledo Museum of Art announced in early April that it is selling 145 duplicative or minor artworks from its collections to other museums, and later, if not desired by museums, to the public. The artworks date to between the periods of Old Kingdom Egypt to Imperial Rome. The museum spent two years reviewing its collections to determine which objects could be deaccessioned without harming the quality and range of its collections. Eighteen of the objects chosen for sale were among the initial gifts to the museum from founder Edward Drummond Libbey, collected by him during a 1906 trip to Egypt. These are items that Christie’s deemed of insufficient value for a major public auction: the estimates…

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Dispute Over Meteorite on Kazakh Herder’s Land

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Dispute Over Meteorite on Kazakh Herder’s Land

Dispute Over Meteorite on Kazakh Herder’s Land

Kazakh herder Juman Reamazhaen and his sons have renewed their claim against the Chinese government for its seizure of a giant, 17.8 ton meteorite found on his grazing land. When Reamazhaen initially told government officials about the meteorite, in 1986, they told him to keep it. The meteorite then lay relatively undisturbed (except for a little graffiti and a few saw marks) until 2011, when Baolin Zhang, from the Beijing Planetarium, and other government officials claimed it, saying that it was a natural resource and state property. Chinese scientists believed it had been dragged eons before by glaciers onto what became Reamazhaen’s grazing land. Baolin Zhang appeared on state television, excitedly describing it as one of the largest iron meteorites…

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Poland’s Museum of the Second World War: In Clash of Cultures, Nationalist Party Calls the Tune

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Poland’s Museum of the Second World War: In Clash of Cultures, Nationalist Party Calls the Tune

Poland’s Museum of the Second World War: In Clash of Cultures, Nationalist Party Calls the Tune

April 10, 2017.  Controversy over a series of museum proposals has raised fundamental questions on Poland’s official position on the Second World War – and the role of the central government in directing how history is portrayed. A new museum, described as ‘visionary’ in its approach toward presenting Polish history, called The Museum of the Second World War, opened briefly in January 2017. It was closed almost immediately by a court order to merge the Museum of the Second World War with another museum that now exists only on paper. (See Committee for Cultural Policy, February 25, 2017: Poland Opens a Museum and Closes it Under Political Pressure.) On March 23rd, a Provincial Administrative Court ruling blocked the merger ordered…

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Event: At the Forefront of Repatriation: New Policy and Impact beyond the United States

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Event: At the Forefront of Repatriation: New Policy and Impact beyond the United States

Event: At the Forefront of Repatriation: New Policy and Impact beyond the United States

Updated April 26, 2017. By Vanessa Elmore.   The School for Advanced Research (SAR), in Santa Fe, New Mexico, presented the final installment of a Speaker Series celebrating SAR’s 110th anniversary: an April 19th panel titled, At the Forefront of Repatriation: New Policy and Impact Beyond the United States. The program grappled with the specifics of proposed legislation drafted in response to overseas sales of Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Navajo artifacts. The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act was introduced in Congress in 2016 expressly to halt export of Native American objects. Panelists included Honor Keeler, Director of the International Repatriation Project for the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA); Gregory Smith, of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, a Washington…

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US District Court Ruling Favors Government in Long Running Forfeiture Case

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on US District Court Ruling Favors Government in Long Running Forfeiture Case

US District Court Ruling Favors Government in Long Running Forfeiture Case

April 7, 2017.  By Peter K. Tompa. Courtesy Ancient Coin Collectors Guild.  On March 31, 2017, US District Judge Catherine Blake ordered the government to return 7 Chinese Cash coins to the Guild and awarded 15 other Cypriot and Chinese coins to the government. The Court found that after 8 years of litigation that the government had failed to establish that 7 of the Chinese coins were subject to restrictions imposed in 2009. As to the remaining 7 Cypriot and 8 Chinese coins, the Court found that the government established its rights to forfeiture merely because the coins listed on an invoice were of types that appeared on the designated list for import restrictions.  The Court also held that expert…

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A Journey with Ceremonial Objects

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on A Journey with Ceremonial Objects

A Journey with Ceremonial Objects

March 31, 2017.  It’s a five-hour drive from Santa Fe into the tall mesas of the Arizona-New Mexico borderlands, but the scenery is spectacular and there is a warm welcome at the end of the journey. Since December of 2016, representatives of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association (ATADA) have been delivering sacred and ceremonial items back to tribal communities through an expanding program of private, voluntary returns. The ATADA returns program was developed with the goal of building trust and facilitating communication between art dealers, collectors, and the tribes. The group hoped to encourage tribal members to be part of its community education programming, helping outsiders to understand the importance of preserving ceremonial items within the tribal community. The…

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IADAA: Headline Figures and Misleading Statistics Relating To Antiquities and The Syrian Crisis

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on IADAA: Headline Figures and Misleading Statistics Relating To Antiquities and The Syrian Crisis

IADAA: Headline Figures and Misleading Statistics Relating To Antiquities and The Syrian Crisis

Get the facts. One way to start is with the false (and the corrected) facts and figures, compiled and analyzed by The International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) which shows how the wildly inaccurate billion dollar numbers in the press evolved. This analysis may be found on the UNESCO website. It is reproduced with permission from IADAA here: HEADLINE FIGURES AND MISLEADING STATISTICS RELATING TO ANTIQUITIES AND THE SYRIAN CRISIS It is not just the antiquities trade who have been concerned about propaganda and misleading statistics in the debate over looting in Syria and Iraq. As Neil Brodie, archaeologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow, argues,…

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Proven False: Toward New Policies and Better Solutions

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Proven False: Toward New Policies and Better Solutions

Proven False: Toward New Policies and Better Solutions

March 31, 2017.  Dr. Cheikhmous Ali, the director of The Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA), said in an Al Jazeera video interview this week: “An armed group won’t sell an ancient coin to finance its arms purchases. It’s not easy to sell objects. You need to find the right channels and the right collector. You have to meet the collector to prove authenticity. Then you have to smuggle them safely into neighboring countries. The profits aren’t huge. Especially when there’s oil, which they can sell immediately and take the money and run.” (Al Jazeera, Art Trafficking, 34.20) What would you do if you have spent three years plying Congress and the press with wildly exaggerated numbers and bad…

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First G7 Cultural Ministers’ Meeting Ever Focuses On… You Guessed It, the Illegal Art Trade

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on First G7 Cultural Ministers’ Meeting Ever Focuses On… You Guessed It, the Illegal Art Trade

First G7 Cultural Ministers’ Meeting Ever Focuses On… You Guessed It, the Illegal Art Trade

March 30, 2017.  The first meeting of cultural ministers from the G7 nations took place March 30 in Florence, Italy. Although the deliberate destruction of heritage in Syria, Iraq, Mali, and Afghanistan in the last decade has been widely recognized as catastrophic, the ministers preferred to focus on illicit trafficking, a regional problem that in Syria, at least, is found most often in areas controlled by the government or its troops. For the G7 group, despite the evidence that every party in the Middle Eastern conflicts is culpable, diplomacy seems to demand that ISIS and its supposed cronies in the art trade (museums, for example) be blamed for all. This theme persists, although the art community has strongly condemned any…

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Benin Repatriation Request Raises Tough Questions

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Benin Repatriation Request Raises Tough Questions

Benin Repatriation Request Raises Tough Questions

March 29, 2017.  Benin has requested the repatriation from France of thousands of objects procured during colonial rule in Benin at the end of the 19th century. The length of time that has passed undermines any legal claims for return, but ethical arguments remain. Among the challenges are that items are in the hands of French museums, the Church and in private collections. There is no list of missing items, but the parties pressing for return believe there are 4500-6000 items that should go back to Benin. Another issue may be the future safety of objects if they were sent back to Benin. The recent direct threats to Benin by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, and the group’s strategy…

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