WHO OWNS ANTIQUITY MUSEUMS AND THE BATTLE OVER OUR ANCIENT HERITAGE

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Who Owns Antiquity

Author : James Cuno
ISBN : 1400839246
Genre : Art
File Size : 78.44 MB
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Whether antiquities should be returned to the countries where they were found is one of the most urgent and controversial issues in the art world today, and it has pitted museums, private collectors, and dealers against source countries, archaeologists, and academics. Maintaining that the acquisition of undocumented antiquities by museums encourages the looting of archaeological sites, countries such as Italy, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and China have claimed ancient artifacts as state property, called for their return from museums around the world, and passed laws against their future export. But in Who Owns Antiquity?, one of the world's leading museum directors vigorously challenges this nationalistic position, arguing that it is damaging and often disingenuous. "Antiquities," James Cuno argues, "are the cultural property of all humankind," "evidence of the world's ancient past and not that of a particular modern nation. They comprise antiquity, and antiquity knows no borders." Cuno argues that nationalistic retention and reclamation policies impede common access to this common heritage and encourage a dubious and dangerous politicization of antiquities--and of culture itself. Antiquities need to be protected from looting but also from nationalistic identity politics. To do this, Cuno calls for measures to broaden rather than restrict international access to antiquities. He advocates restoration of the system under which source countries would share newly discovered artifacts in exchange for archaeological help, and he argues that museums should again be allowed reasonable ways to acquire undocumented antiquities. Cuno explains how partage broadened access to our ancient heritage and helped create national museums in Cairo, Baghdad, and Kabul. The first extended defense of the side of museums in the struggle over antiquities, Who Owns Antiquity? is sure to be as important as it is controversial. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Category: Art

Whose Culture

Author : James Cuno
ISBN : 9781400833047
Genre : Art
File Size : 40.76 MB
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The international controversy over who "owns" antiquities has pitted museums against archaeologists and source countries where ancient artifacts are found. In his book Who Owns Antiquity?, James Cuno argued that antiquities are the cultural property of humankind, not of the countries that lay exclusive claim to them. Now in Whose Culture?, Cuno assembles preeminent museum directors, curators, and scholars to explain for themselves what's at stake in this struggle--and why the museums' critics couldn't be more wrong. Source countries and archaeologists favor tough cultural property laws restricting the export of antiquities, have fought for the return of artifacts from museums worldwide, and claim the acquisition of undocumented antiquities encourages looting of archaeological sites. In Whose Culture?, leading figures from universities and museums in the United States and Britain argue that modern nation-states have at best a dubious connection with the ancient cultures they claim to represent, and that archaeology has been misused by nationalistic identity politics. They explain why exhibition is essential to responsible acquisitions, why our shared art heritage trumps nationalist agendas, why restrictive cultural property laws put antiquities at risk from unstable governments--and more. Defending the principles of art as the legacy of all humankind and museums as instruments of inquiry and tolerance, Whose Culture? brings reasoned argument to an issue that for too long has been distorted by politics and emotionalism. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Kwame Anthony Appiah, Sir John Boardman, Michael F. Brown, Derek Gillman, Neil MacGregor, John Henry Merryman, Philippe de Montebello, David I. Owen, and James C. Y. Watt.
Category: Art

Loot

Author : Sharon Waxman
ISBN : 9781429960434
Genre : Art
File Size : 29.14 MB
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A journey across four continents to the heart of the conflict over who should own the great works of ancient art Why are the Elgin Marbles in London and not on the Acropolis? Why do there seem to be as many mummies in France as there are in Egypt? Why are so many Etruscan masterworks in America? For the past two centuries, the West has been plundering the treasures of the ancient world to fill its great museums, but in recent years, the countries where ancient civilizations originated have begun to push back, taking museums to court, prosecuting curators, and threatening to force the return of these priceless objects. Where do these treasures rightly belong? Sharon Waxman, a former culture reporter for The New York Times and a longtime foreign correspondent, brings us inside this high-stakes conflict, examining the implications for the preservation of the objects themselves and for how we understand our shared cultural heritage. Her journey takes readers from the great cities of Europe and America to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, as these countries face down the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She also introduces a cast of determined and implacable characters whose battles may strip these museums of some of their most cherished treasures. For readers who are fascinated by antiquity, who love to frequent museums, and who believe in the value of cultural exchange, Loot opens a new window on an enduring conflict.
Category: Art

Museums Matter

Author : James Cuno
ISBN : 9780226126807
Genre : Art
File Size : 44.45 MB
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The concept of an encyclopedic museum was born of the Enlightenment, a manifestation of society’s growing belief that the spread of knowledge and the promotion of intellectual inquiry were crucial to human development and the future of a rational society. But in recent years, museums have been under attack, with critics arguing that they are little more than relics and promoters of imperialism. Could it be that the encyclopedic museum has outlived its usefulness? With Museums Matter, James Cuno, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, replies with a resounding “No!” He takes us on a brief tour of the modern museum, from the creation of the British Museum—the archetypal encyclopedic collection—to the present, when major museums host millions of visitors annually and play a major role in the cultural lives of their cities. Along the way, Cuno acknowledges the legitimate questions about the role of museums in nation-building and imperialism, but he argues strenuously that even a truly national museum like the Louvre can’t help but open visitors’ eyes and minds to the wide diversity of world cultures and the stunning art that is our common heritage. Engaging with thinkers such as Edward Said and Martha Nussbaum, and drawing on examples from the politics of India to the destruction of the Bramiyan Buddhas to the history of trade and travel, Cuno makes a case for the encyclopedic museum as a truly cosmopolitan institution, promoting tolerance, understanding, and a shared sense of history—values that are essential in our ever more globalized age. Powerful, passionate, and to the point, Museums Matter is the product of a lifetime of working in and thinking about museums; no museumgoer should miss it.
Category: Art

Chasing Aphrodite

Author : Jason Felch
ISBN : 0547538022
Genre : Art
File Size : 60.14 MB
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In recent years, several of America’s leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller—the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO—but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail. Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.
Category: Art

Whose Muse

Author : James B. Cuno
ISBN : 0691032157
Genre : Art
File Size : 77.11 MB
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During the economic boom of the 1990s, art museums expanded dramatically in size, scope, and ambition. They came to be seen as new civic centers: on the one hand as places of entertainment, leisure, and commerce, on the other as socially therapeutic institutions. But museums were also criticized for everything from elitism to looting or illegally exporting works from other countries, to exhibiting works offensive to the public taste. Whose Muse? brings together five directors of leading American and British art museums who together offer a forward-looking alternative to such prevailing views. While their approaches differ, certain themes recur: As museums have become increasingly complex and costly to manage, and as government support has waned, the temptation is great to follow policies driven not by a mission but by the market. However, the directors concur that public trust can be upheld only if museums continue to see their core mission as building collections that reflect a nation's artistic legacy and providing informed and unfettered access to them. The book, based on a lecture series of the same title held in 2000-2001 by the Harvard Program for Art Museum Directors, also includes an introduction by Cuno and a fascinating--and surprisingly frank--roundtable discussion among the participating directors. A rare collection of sustained reflections by prominent museum directors on the current state of affairs in their profession, this book is without equal. It will be read widely not only by museum professionals, trustees, critics, and scholars, but also by the art-loving public itself.
Category: Art

Archaeology Cultural Heritage And The Antiquities Trade

Author : Neil Brodie
ISBN : 081303339X
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 31.84 MB
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"The looting of archaeological sites and museums has recently been brought vividly to public attention. In this book, many of the world's experts on the subject examine the extent of the problem, how trafficking in illicit artifacts is carried out, and what can be done to save our cultural heritage."--Ellen Herscher, contributing editor, Archaeology magazine Archaeological artifacts have become a traded commodity in large part because the global reach of Western society allows easy access to the world's archaeological heritage. Acquired by the world's leading museums and private collectors, antiquities have been removed from archaeological sites, monuments, or cultural institutions and illegally traded. This collection of essays by world-recognized experts investigates the ways that com-modifying artifacts fuels the destruction of archaeological heritage and considers what can be done to protect it. Despite growing national and international legislation to protect cultural heritage, increasing numbers of archaeological sites--among them, war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq--are subject to pillage as the monetary value of artifacts rises. Offering comprehensive examinations of archaeological site looting, the antiquities trade, the ruin of cultural heritage resources, and the international efforts to combat their destruction, the authors argue that the antiquities market impacts cultural heritage around the world and is a burgeoning global crisis. Neil Brodie is research director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. Morag M. Kersel, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, is studying the legal trade of antiquities in the Middle East. Christina Luke is a research fellow in the department of archaeology at Boston University. Kathryn Walker Tubb is a lecturer in cultural heritage studies and conservation in the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London.
Category: Social Science

Against Cultural Property

Author : John Carman
ISBN : UVA:X004835052
Genre : Art
File Size : 71.19 MB
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This series of short volumes, each devoted to a theme which is the subject of contemporary debate in archaeology, ranges from issues in theory and method to aspects of world archaeology. If 'all property is theft', then cultural property is nothing less than the theft of culture. The term 'cultural property' is widespread in the field of heritage management and is a particularly powerful concept in legal approaches. The term and the concept it represents are never discussed, however. The idea that material that comes to us from the past should be considered 'property' accordingly seems to be taken for granted by those charged with its care. Any debate that does take place is limited to comparing private with state ownership, often under the pretence that the latter represents a form of 'stewardship'. This radical work seeks to challenge the dominance of these limiting ideas by looking for alternatives. Taking as a starting-point the four different types of property relation generally recognised by lawyers and economists, the book explores the implications for cultural objects of different property regimes.In presenting an argument that the concept of 'property' is inappropriate for the heritage, the book challenges much that is taken for granted and undiscussed in the field of heritage management.
Category: Art

Grave Injustice

Author : Kathleen Sue Fine-Dare
ISBN : 0803206275
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 49.91 MB
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Grave Injustice is the powerful story of the ongoing struggle of Native Americans to repatriate the objects and remains of their ancestors that were appropriated, collected, manipulated, sold, and displayed by Europeans and Americans. Anthropologist Kathleen S. Fine-Dare focuses on the history and culture of both the impetus to collect and the movement to repatriate Native American remains. Using a straightforward historical framework and illuminating case studies, Fine-Dare first examines the changing cultural reasons for the appropriation of Native American remains. She then traces the succession of incidents, laws, and changing public and Native attitudes that have shaped the repatriation movement since the late nineteenth century. Her discussion and examples make clear that the issue is a complex one, that few clear-cut heroes or villains make up the history of the repatriation movement, and that little consensus about policy or solutions exists within or beyond academic and Native communities. The concluding chapters of this history take up the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which Fine-Dare considers as a legal and cultural document. This highly controversial federal law was the result of lobbying by American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples to obtain federal support for the right to bring back to their communities the human remains and associated objects that are housed in federally funded institutions all over the United States. Grave Injustice is a balanced introduction to a longstanding and complicated problem that continues to mobilize and threatens to divide Native Americans and the scholars who work with and write about them.
Category: Social Science

Possession

Author : Erin Thompson
ISBN : 9780300221008
Genre : History
File Size : 23.83 MB
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Whether it's the discovery of $1.6 billion in Nazi-looted art or the news that Syrian rebels are looting UNESCO archaeological sites to buy arms, art crime commands headlines. Erin Thompson, America's only professor of art crime, explores the dark history of looting, smuggling, and forgery that lies at the heart of many private art collections and many of the world's most renowned museums. Enlivened by fascinating personalities and scandalous events, Possession shows how collecting antiquities has been a way of creating identity, informed by a desire to annex the past while providing an illicit thrill along the way. Thompson's accounts of history's most infamous collectors—from the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who stole a life-sized nude Greek statue for his bedroom, to Queen Christina of Sweden, who habitually pilfered small antiquities from her fellow aristocrats, to Sir William Hamilton, who forced his mistress to enact poses from his collection of Greek vases—are as mesmerizing as they are revealing.
Category: History