Author: James Cuno
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2010-10-18
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.
Author: James Cuno
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-05-23
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.
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.
Author: Barbara T. Hoffman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2006
Art and Cultural Heritage is appropriately, but not solely, about national and international law respecting cultural heritage. It is a bubbling cauldron of law mixed with ethics, philosophy, politics and working principles looking at how cultural heritage law, policy and practice should be sculpted from the past as the present becomes the future. Art and cultural heritage are two pillars on which a society builds its identity, its values, its sense of community and the individual. The authors explore these demanding concerns, untangle basic values, and look critically at the conflicts and contradictions in existing art and cultural heritage law and policy in its diverse sectors. The rich and provocative contributions collectively provide a reasoned discussion of the issues from a multiplicity of views to permit the reader to understand the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the cultural heritage debate.
Author: Roger Atwood
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2007-04-01
Genre: Social Science
Roger Atwood knows more about the market for ancient objects than almost anyone. He knows where priceless antiquities are buried, who is digging them up, and who is fencing and buying them. In this fascinating book, Atwood takes readers on a journey through Iraq, Peru, Hong Kong, and across America, showing how the worldwide antiquities trade is destroying what's left of the ancient sites before archaeologists can reach them, and thus erasing their historical significance. And it is getting worse. The discovery of the legendary Royal Tombs of Sipan in Peru started an epidemic. Grave robbers scouring the courntryside for tombs--and finding them. Atwood recounts the incredible story of the biggest piece of gold ever found in the Americas, a 2,000-year-old, three-pound masterpiece that cost one looter his life, sent two smugglers to jail, and wrecked lives from Panama to Pennsylvainia. Packed with true stories, this book not only reveals what has been found, but at what cost to both human life and history.
Author: Jason Felch
Release Date: 2011-05-24
A “thrilling, well-researched” account of years of scandal at the prestigious Getty Museum (Ulrich Boser, author of The Gardner Heist). 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. 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 candid interviews, these two journalists give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum, and tell a story of outlandish characters and bad behavior that could come straight from the pages of a thriller. “In an authoritative account, two reporters who led a Los Angeles Times investigation reveal the details of the Getty Museum’s illicit purchases, from smugglers and fences, of looted Greek and Roman antiquities. . . . The authors offer an excellent recap of the museum’s misdeeds, brimming with tasty details of the scandal that motivated several of America’s leading art museums to voluntarily return to Italy and Greece some 100 classical antiquities worth more than half a billion dollars.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review “An astonishing and penetrating look into a veiled world where beauty and art are in constant competition with greed and hypocrisy. This engaging book will cast a fresh light on many of those gleaming objects you see in art museums.” —Jonathan Harr, author of The Lost Painting
Author: Elizabeth Marlowe
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2013-10-10
The recent crisis in the world of antiquities collecting has prompted scholars and the general public to pay more attention than ever before to the archaeological findspots and collecting histories of ancient artworks. This new scrutiny is applied to works currently on the market as well as to those acquired since (and despite) the 1970 UNESCO Convention, which aimed to prevent the trafficking in cultural property. When it comes to famous works that have been in major museums for many generations, however, the matter of their origins is rarely considered. Canonical pieces like the Barberini Togatus or the Fonseca bust of a Flavian lady appear in many scholarly studies and virtually every textbook on Roman art. But we have no more certainty about these works' archaeological contexts than we do about those that surface on the market today. This book argues that the current legal and ethical debates over looting, ownership and cultural property have distracted us from the epistemological problems inherent in all (ostensibly) ancient artworks lacking a known findspot, problems that should be of great concern to those who seek to understand the past through its material remains.
Author: James Cuno
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2011-12-15
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.
Author: Neil Brodie
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Social Science
"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.
Author: Kathleen Sue Fine-Dare
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Genre: Social Science
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.
Author: Tiffany Jenkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-02-25
The fabulous collections housed in the world's most famous museums are trophies from an imperial age. Yet the huge crowds that each year visit the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, or the Metropolitan in New York have little idea that many of the objects on display were acquired by coercion or theft. Now the countries from which these treasures came would like them back. The Greek demand for the return of the Elgin Marbles is the tip of an iceberg that includes claims for the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, sculpture from Turkey, scrolls and porcelain taken from the Chinese Summer Palace, textiles from Peru, the bust of Nefertiti, Native American sacred objects and Aboriginal human remains. In Keeping Their Marbles, Tiffany Jenkins tells the bloody story of how western museums came to acquire these objects. She investigates why repatriation claims have soared in recent decades and demonstrates how it is the guilt and insecurity of the museums themselves that have stoked the demands for return. Contrary to the arguments of campaigners, she shows that sending artefacts back will not achieve the desired social change nor repair the wounds of history. Instead, this ground-breaking book makes the case for museums as centres of knowledge, demonstrating that no object has a single home and no one culture owns culture.
Author: Marie C. Malaro
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
Release Date: 2012-05-08
Hailed when it was first published in 1985 as the bible of U.S. collections management, A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections offers the only comprehensive discussion of the legal questions faced by museums regarding collections. This revised and expanded third edition addresses the many legal developments—including a comprehensive discussion of stolen art and the international movement of cultural property, recent developments in copyright, and the effects of burgeoning electronic uses—that have occurred during the past twenty-five years. An authorative, go-to book for any museum professional, Legal Primer offers detailed explanations of the law, suggestions for preventing legal problems, and numerous case studies of lawsuits involving museum collections.
They are essential to every major archaeological excavation but rarely acknowledged by the visiting researchers once the artifacts have been shipped. As part of the innovative, multivocal output from the famous Turkish Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, we hear from one of the site guards, Sadrettin Dural, who tells the story of the excavation from the point of view of the “Other.” He offers tales of the strange habits of archaeologists, describes the local in-fighting that scholars never see, and explains how scientists can be protected from the Yatirs, spirits of the dead who guard the mound. Ian Hodder, director of the Çatalhöyük project, provides explanatory notes for the reader and an interview with the author, exploring indigenous interpretations of ancient sites and the archaeologists who excavate them. For the archaeologist, this offers a revolutionary new viewpoint on their work. For the cultural anthropologist, Dural’s role as site guard is only a small part of his life as a Turkish villager. The author recounts the daily lived experience of one man in a contemporary Turkish village, including changing economic strategies for supporting his family, brushes with the law, trips to the beach and the city, and Turkish phone sex.
Author: Charlotte L Joy
Release Date: 2016-06-16
Genre: Social Science
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Djenné, in modern day Mali, is exalted as an enduring wonder of the ancient African world by archaeologists, anthropologists, state officials, architects and travel writers. In this revealing study, the author critically examines how the politics of heritage management, conservation, and authenticity play essential roles in the construction of Djenné’s past and its appropriation for contemporary purposes. Despite its great renown, the majority of local residents remain desperately poor. And while most are proud of their cultural heritage, they are often troubled by the limitations it places on their day to day living conditions. Joy argues for a more critical understanding of this paradox and urges us all to reconsider the moral and philosophical questions surrounding the ways in which we use the past in the present.