The Committee for Cultural Policy believes that cultural policy must be transparent, accountable, and consistent with the public benefit. The U.S. is a diverse nation: all citizens have the right to see their artistic heritage honored in our museums.
Laws and policies should be clear and unambiguous so that citizens and arts institutions alike can act in accordance with the law. We are deeply concerned that some U.S. government agencies have ignored the laws enacted by Congress.
We support digital documentation of museum and other collections to facilitate legitimate foreign claims through a neutral forum. Consistent standards are needed in law and policy so that museums and collectors can secure appropriate title to art and artifacts.
We support the preservation and protection of cultural property around the globe, through scientific excavation of archaeological sites and through research, conservation, publication, and exhibition in public museums.
The Committee for Cultural Policy was formed to address an urgent public need– to reform US cultural policy. The Committee for Cultural Policy published the 2013 White Paper, A Proposal to Reform U.S. Law and Policy Relating to the International Exchange of Cultural Property, the first strategic review of policy from a museum and collector perspective, and sponsors academic conferences and symposia to bring educational programs on cultural policy to the public.
The Committee for Cultural Policy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization. We welcome public support.
Members of the Board
Dr. Gary Vikan, President
Gary Vikan was Director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore from 1994 to 2013. He serves on the Leadership Council of Johns Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute, on the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts of the Salzburg Global Seminar, on the founding Board of Culture Kettle in Santa Fe, on the Committee for Cultural Policy in New York City, and is a Councilor of the Maryland State Arts Council. He has been an advisor to the Getty Leadership Institute and Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology. He was appointed by President Clinton to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and was knighted by the French Minister of Culture in the Order of Arts and Letters. Dr. Vikan received Carleton College’s Distinguished Achievement award and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Before coming to Baltimore, he was Senior Associate at Harvard’s Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. Dr. Vikan currently owns Vikan Consulting, LLC.
Arthur Houghton, Vice President
Arthur Houghton is a former Foreign Service officer with assignments in the Middle East, the Department of State and on the National Security Council staff, Arthur Houghton holds a BA degree from Harvard University and MA degrees from Harvard and the American University of Beirut. From 1982 to 1986, he was associate curator and curator-in-charge of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. His current or previous board memberships include the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; Cyprus-American Archaeological Research Institute; the Middle East Institute and the Baltimore Museum of Art. He was president of the American Numismatic Society, 1995-2000 and is currently president of the Cultural Policy Research Institute. He served on the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee from 1984 to 1987 as a representative for museums.
Robert Poster, Treasurer
Robert L Poster is a collector of Asian art, particularly that produced in India or influenced by the traditions of the Indian Subcontinent. He is a past member of the Art Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and has donated objects from his family’s collection to the Brooklyn Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Princeton University Art Museum and other museums. He is a practicing attorney specializing in ship financing in New York City, and a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Law School.
Kate Fitz Gibbon, Secretary
Kate Fitz Gibbon is owner of Fitz Gibbon Law, LLC in Santa Fe, NM. She serves on the boards of New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts, the Committee for Cultural Policy, Inc., the ABA Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee and the Elder Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar. She was appointed to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the President by President Bill Clinton. She frequently writes and lectures on cultural policy, was editor of Who Owns the Past? Cultural Property, Cultural Policy and the Law, Rutgers University Press, 2005, and is the author of six books on Asian art, including IKAT, recipient of the Wittenborn Award for Best Art Book of 1996.
Michael de Havenon
Michael completed his Masters Thesis, “The Earliest Vishnu Sculpture from Southeast Asia,” at Columbia University in 2007. He was President of Kulen Capital until he retired in 1996. Prior to that, he served for five years as President of Merrill Lynch Capital Corporation and for approximately twenty years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. He earned a B.A. from Yale College (1962) and a J.D. from Columbia University (1966). Michael is a member of the Board of Friends of Khmer Culture; the Board of the Walters Art Museum, where he is Chairman of its Collections Committee; and the Board of the Yale University Art Gallery, where he is on the Collections Committee. In addition to having been a member of the Board of the Freer/Sackler Gallery, its Collections Committee and Chairman of its Finance Committee, he was a Trustee of the Brooklyn Museum for 22 years, Chairman of its Collections Committee and a member of its its Executive Committee. Michael has collected South and Southeast Asian sculpture and has also shared his wife Georgia’s collecting interests, which have included Pre-Columbian textiles and the Transcendental Painting Group, which was active in Taos, New Mexico from 1938 to 1941. They live in New York City and have two children.
Matthew Polk is a co-founder of Baltimore-based Polk Audio, Inc., where he served as Chairman and head of product development until his retirement. Mr. Polk and his wife Amy Gould, FAIA, are avid collectors of modern and historic textiles. They are frequent lenders to and supporters of museum exhibitions and have created a foundation, The Historic Textile Research Foundation, whose mission it is to develop a database of textile related carbon dating information for reference use. Mr. Polk is the recipient of many electronics industry awards and holds more than 20 patents. He and his wife Amy share many interests including art, travel, skiing, and amateur motor racing.
Ariel Herrmann is an independent scholar based in New York. Her main area of concentration is Hellenistic and Roman sculpture and she has contributed to publications from several museums. After a ten-year residence in Rome, she served as a research associate in the Greek and Roman Departments of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and of the Metropolitan Museum. She has a long-standing interest in the history of collecting.
John Eskenazi is a dealer in oriental art, author and publisher, and a founding partner of The Art Newspaper. He was instrumental in setting up Asian Art Week in London and New York, and in establishing London Sculpture Week. He has curated or co-curated many specialist exhibitions at leading galleries including the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Eskenazi is the author of Il Tappeto Orientale, Milan, 1982, publisher of The Goddess from Anatolia, Milan, 1990, co-publisher: Dunhuang: Caves of the Singing Sands: Buddhist Art from the Silk Road, Textile Art Publications, London, 1996 and of Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings: Illuminated manuscripts from The White Beryl, Sam Fogg Ltd. and John Eskenazi Ltd, London, 2001.
James Fitzpatrick is a senior partner of the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter where for many years he was chair of the Legislative and Public Policy Group. For thirty years, he represented the antiquities dealer community in Congressional proceedings leading to the 1983 Implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on Cultural Properties. He represented the dealer and collector communities in judicial and State Department proceedings dealing with cultural properties. He has taught law school courses on cultural properties. He was a member of the Art Committee that created and continued the firm’s art collection, now numbering over 250 works. Included in the collection are works by Morris Louis, Ken Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Edward Hopper, Gene Davis and Sam Gilliam. Mr. Fitzpatrick has been on the Board of the Phillips Collection, SITE Santa Fe, the Shakespeare Theatre, KSFR PBS station, the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, and the ACLU. Mr. Fitzpatrick has taught at the London School of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of New Mexico Law School. He is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School.
William G. Pearlstein
William Pearlstein is a partner in Pearlstein & McCullough LLP, a New York based art-law boutique firm that represents leading dealers, collectors, museums and auction houses in transactions, disputes and regulatory matters relating to the international art market. Mr. Pearlstein graduated from Yale College in 1979 and Northwestern Law School in 1984. Mr. Pearlstein’s most recent publication appears in Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Volume 32, Issue 2 (2014), “A Proposal to Reform U.S. Law and Policy Relating to the International Exchange of Cultural Property.”
Carlton C. Rochell
Carlton Rochell, whose career at Sotheby’s spanned nearly 18 years, founded the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art department in New York in 1988, the first of its kind at an auction house in North America. He went on to oversee all of the Asian departments in North America in 1996 and helped to integrate the departments’ auctions and coordinate with the Asian Arts Fair in 1996 to create the first “Asia Week” which continues annually in March every year in New York. In 1998, he went on to become Managing Director for Sotheby’s offices in Asia, and Worldwide Head of Asian Art. In 2000, he became Executive Vice President and Head of Worldwide Jewelry and Watches, moving to integrate these departments on an international basis. Carlton Rochell is currently President of Carlton Rochell Asian Art, a gallery established in 2002, offering works of art from India and Southeast Asia.
Peter K. Tompa
Peter K. Tompa is an attorney practicing in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia with the firm of Bailey & Ehrenberg. In addition to his active practice in employment law and complex litigation, he is one of the foremost legal specialists in cultural property in the U.S. Mr. Tompa is also a well-known author on cultural property issues and has frequently contributed to academic publications and specialist magazines. Mr. Tompa is the preeminent Internet blogger on cultural property issues from the museum and collector perspective. He is a fellow and trustee of the American Numismatic Society and a board member of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, a life member of the American Numismatic Association, and a member of the Ancient Numismatic Society of Washington, D.C.