Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cultural Security News (Oct. 28 - Nov. 03)

Rise of repatriation and decline of auctions?
In politics, the final set of Machu Picchu artifacts are scheduled to be returned from Yale to Peru, and in the UAE the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities prepared to work with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) to add sites to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Turkey's controversial policy on repatriation remained in the spotlight, but on the positive side, in Israel, Jews peacefully pray at the Temple Mount despite fears that such a presence at the site, which Muslims also revere as the Al Aqsa mosque, will provoke conflict.
Jerusalem's Old CityIn economics, the second Budapest Art Market showed continuing promise of opening Western European markets to artists of Eastern Europe, and 'urban art' worldwide appeared to be another sector of the art market that thrives during recession. In Malaysia, the secondary market continued to show strong results for the year, but auction houses also received criticism and are seen as a declining industry. In New Zealand, gallery owners, dealers, and artists criticized the auction industry for not supporting artists. At the same time, Artemundi Global Fund, and investment fund dedicated to art, foresee sart investing turning away from auctions, and Liquid Rarity Funds in the United States seeks to securitize fine art and other collectibles. In bridging economics and security, unemployment has reportedly increased the risk of looting of native artifacts in the western United States, and Beijing seeks to act against forgeries, "fake" sales, and "fake" auctions.
In security, destruction of public artworks in renovation work received criticism in Nigeria, while in Mali, cultural heritage remains at risk with a report that radical Islamists were in the process of destroying Timbuktu's independence monument with a bulldozer. At the same time, looting has taken on industrial proportions in Egypt. In an ironic twist, Egyptian security services stopped an attempt to smuggle documents that might provide evidence of Jewish property in Egypt. The report implicates the Israeli Mossad in the operation, which could have enabled repatriation claims against Egypt. In prevention, Botswana announced a meeting for preservation and law enforcement professionals in Southern Africa to counter trafficking in cultural property.
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