Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cultural Security News (Apr. 01 - Apr. 07)

A week of contrasts
mummyThe continued success of the contemporary art market contrasts sharply with threats to cultural heritage. Damien Hirst continued to thrive with an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, and Sotheby's Hong Kong took in $27 million in one evening for a sale of Asian contemporary art. In contrast, austerity measures in Greece increasingly place sites of cultural heritage at risk of looting, and the chaos of conflict in Syria enables looting of museums, excavation sites and monuments. Russian authorities thwarted an attempt by workers in St. Petersburg to steal a treasure trove, but at the same time, Russia has banned loans to American museums out of concern for seizure of items of questionable provenance. On the bright side, a couple of 3,000-year-old sarcophagi smuggled from Egypt were seized in Israel, and in a case a year in the making, relics that were seized in Belgium are being returned to Egypt.
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