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

Norwegian Library to Bring African Literature to a World Audience

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Norwegian Library to Bring African Literature to a World Audience

Norwegian Library to Bring African Literature to a World Audience

June 4, 2017.  A unprecedented digitization project, sponsored by the National Library of Norway in Oslo, demonstrates the commitment of Western institutions to guarantee that a diverse global population will have access to literature in their mother-tongues, no matter where in the world they live. As a first step in establishing a full African digital library, the Nasjonalbiblioteket, the national library of Norway, is partnering with the national library in Nigeria to digitize all of the literature in the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages...

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Justice is Back – At the Back of the Building in Bangladesh

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Justice is Back – At the Back of the Building in Bangladesh

Justice is Back – At the Back of the Building in Bangladesh

June 2, 2017.  The story of a statue of a blindfolded, sari-clad woman holding a set of scales and a sword – a Bangladeshi artist’s depiction of Justice – shows both how easy it is to raise public sentiment against even relatively traditional art, and how quickly elected officials will bow to public pressure to curtail free expression. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had tried for weeks to stay out of the conflict between Islamic conservatives and civil society advocates over the sculpture of Justice by artist Mrinal Haque....

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Mortal Instruments: Get These Guys Some More Antiquities

Posted by on May 29, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Mortal Instruments: Get These Guys Some More Antiquities

Mortal Instruments: Get These Guys Some More Antiquities

May 29, 2017.  Contributor: Mariam Hale In 2016, Netflix released the first season of a new series: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments. The show, based on a six-part book series by YA novelist Cassandra Clare, follows the adventures of a troupe of leather-clad teenage warriors (called Shadowhunters) as they rove the streets of New York City, doing battle with sword and spell against demons, werewolves, and a band of renegade Shadowhunters-gone-bad. This setting calls for a lot of special effects: humans turn into wolves, walls turn into...

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Doggie Boondoggle – Antiquities Sniffing Dogs

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Doggie Boondoggle – Antiquities Sniffing Dogs

Doggie Boondoggle – Antiquities Sniffing Dogs

May 27, 2017.  Anti-art trade advocates claim that the increase in Syrian and Iraqi “antiques” entered through US Customs shows that smuggling of ancient art is rampant.  At the same time, there is no record of seizures of illicit antiquities in these shipments by US Customs. Some think that Customs officers aren’t canny enough to catch the perpetrators. They think that antiquities-sniffing dogs could be employed instead to hunt down smuggled objects. The more logical explanation for the increase in customs entries in US...

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UNESCO Part 1 – Controversy Over Nomination of Next Chief

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on UNESCO Part 1 – Controversy Over Nomination of Next Chief

UNESCO Part 1 – Controversy Over Nomination of Next Chief

May 26, 2017.  The naming of nine candidates to replace UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova is controversial and not only in the candidacy of Audrey Azoulay, former culture minister of France. Azoulay’s application for the post was challenged by a member of the French commission for UNESCO, Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, who issued a written statement alleging that Azoulay’s nomination was an insult to the Arab countries. Garriaud-Maylam, also a member of the French Senate, said that there was a longstanding moral commitment to name an Arab...

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UNESCO Part 2 – Why a New Director is Needed

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on UNESCO Part 2 – Why a New Director is Needed

UNESCO Part 2  – Why a New Director is Needed

May 26, 2017.  It is hoped that whoever next takes the helm at UNESCO will be a person dedicated to expanding cultural connections, a far-sighted individual with an intellectual background and an understanding of the arts. UNESCO needs a director-general of courage and imagination to replace Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova – someone who is willing to take on today’s truly serious threats to global heritage with more than a one-solution-fits-all approach. Before taking up her post as UNESCO director-general in September 2009, Ms. Bokova was a...

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Paradigm Shift – Art Dealers Partner With Tribes on Returning Sacred Objects

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Paradigm Shift – Art Dealers Partner With Tribes on Returning Sacred Objects

Paradigm Shift – Art Dealers Partner With Tribes on Returning Sacred Objects

May 24, 2017.  Art dealers, tribal members, collectors, legislators, appraisers and auctioneers filled a Santa Fe hotel ballroom to capacity and beyond to attend the symposium: “Understanding Cultural Property: A Path to Healing Through Communication.” The full day symposium, sponsored by ATADA, a professional trade group, and Santa Fe’s School for Advanced Research, centered around issues pertaining to sacred and ceremonially significant objects held in private collections or by dealers. Since 1990, the US Native American Graves Protection...

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Julian Raby to Retire from Freer and Sackler Galleries

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Julian Raby to Retire from Freer and Sackler Galleries

Julian Raby to Retire from Freer and Sackler Galleries

May 22, 2017.  Julian Raby, who has led the Freer and Sackler galleries of the Smithsonian Institution for fifteen years, will retire at the beginning of 2018 from his position as the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art. Raby’s notable stewardship has included continuing research and publication as well as supervision of dozens of the museums’ exhibitions. While his record of prolific publication is unusual for a museum director, it is in this instance unsurprising. A well-known scholar,...

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Now That Jews Are Gone, Egypt Says It Will Restore Sites

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Now That Jews Are Gone, Egypt Says It Will Restore Sites

Now That Jews Are Gone, Egypt Says It Will Restore Sites

May 22, 2017.  The last Jews in Egypt will have no say in the treatment of their history. No more than 18 elderly individuals now remain in Egypt, out of a population of 80,000-100,000 Jews in the middle of the last century. Virtually all Egyptian Jews left Egypt in forced emigrations in the mid 20th century. About a dozen synagogues remain, including a 19th century synagogue dedicated to 12th century rabbi and philosopher Moses Maimonides (on a site where a synagogue has stood since the 10th century). This synagogue is also known as the Rav...

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Exhibition: “Provenance: A Forensic History of Art”

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Exhibition: “Provenance: A Forensic History of Art”

Exhibition: “Provenance: A Forensic History of Art”

May 21, 2017.  Research into the history of ownership of six paintings is the foundation for an exhibition, “Provenance: A Forensic History of Art” at the Krannert Art Museum, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. The exhibition combines the research of Nancy Karrels, a doctoral student in art history (who also has two law degrees) with curation by Maureen Warren, head of European and American art at the Krannert. Most US museums now make special efforts to research artworks without a complete ownership history...

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Mohenjo Daro Reburial?

Posted by on May 20, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Mohenjo Daro Reburial?

Mohenjo Daro Reburial?

May 20, 2017.  Press headlines from Pakistan say the 5,000-year-old site of Mohenjo Daro in Sindh will be reburied. That is not quite true. Archaeologists and researchers at a May 2017 international conference in Pakistan have discussed limiting access to the existing excavation (much of it dating to 1921-1940) and leaving the majority of the site, which is still unexcavated, underground until there is greater security and more of a commitment by Pakistan’s government to fund archaeological work. Some have expressed fears that extremists...

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CoE Cultural Property Convention Gives Blank Check to Art Source Nations

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on CoE Cultural Property Convention Gives Blank Check to Art Source Nations

CoE Cultural Property Convention Gives Blank Check to Art Source Nations

May 15, 2017.  Updated  May 26, 2017.   A new international criminal treaty on cultural property was adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE) on May 4, 2017.  The 2017 Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property  opened for signature by any nation on May 19. Six nations: Cyprus, Armenia, Greece, Portugal, San Marino and Mexico, were the first to sign the new Convention. The Convention appears explicitly designed for a wartime environment and most of its provisions are aimed directly at the art trade. Despite...

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Mummies Are Not Enough. Why Doesn’t Egypt Get it?

Posted by on May 13, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Mummies Are Not Enough. Why Doesn’t Egypt Get it?

Mummies Are Not Enough. Why Doesn’t Egypt Get it?

May 13, 2017.  A campaign to rebuild tourism in Egypt focuses on recent archaeological discoveries and the great achievements of the past – undeniable attractions. After all, who wouldn’t want to visit its magnificent pyramids? Hmmm. People worried about security, possible terrorism, civil rights abuse under a dictatorial despotism and the perils for young people of brutal and corrupt police enforcement, perhaps? 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, 9.8 million in 2011, but numbers have dropped steadily under the Sisi regime to under...

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May 22 Santa Fe Symposium Features Native Elders and Art Market Experts – Working Together

Posted by on May 13, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on May 22 Santa Fe Symposium Features Native Elders and Art Market Experts – Working Together

Updated May 14, 2017.  Albuquerque Indian trader Robert Gallegos, who spearheaded a dealer program to return key ceremonial objects to tribes, and Zuni elder Octavius Seowtewa, who traveled to Paris to seek returns of Zuni war gods from European museums, are among the participants in a Santa Fe symposium on May 22, Understanding Cultural Property: A Path to Healing Through Communication. Sam Tenakhongva, a leader and educator from Hopi, and Tim Begay, Navajo Cultural Specialist will also be representing tribal interests. The symposium grew...

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

Posted by on May 1, 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/Updated May 1, 2017. Christie’s New York has sold a 9-inch-high stone figurine, from the Chalcolithic Period (c.3000-2200 BC), known as the Guennol Stargazer, formerly part of the collection of Edith and Alastair Bradley Martin, for $14.5 million.  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. Just prior to the auction, the government of Turkey filed a claim to the...

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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 and discourage 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. These concerns are heightened by regularly...

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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 praised 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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