Pearl Harbor, China Poly Auction, and thefts of Henry Moore statues
In politics, in New Mexico, the state Supreme Court considered whether or not to uphold the designation of Mount Taylor as a cultural site of Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Acoma Pueblo, and Laguna people to protect the cultural property from development. An agreement to return a mosaic of Orpheus from the Dallas Museum of Art to Turkey included collaboration on art loans and conservation and other technical expertise. In Hawaii, ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial commemorated the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that compelled the United States to enter World War II.
In a crossover of politics and security, Irina Bokova authored an op-ed in The New York Times. The Director General of UNESCO made a case for “seeing cultural heritage as an international security issue.” In India, on the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, police in Hyderabad prepared to deter protests at The Charimnar. A court in Qatar sentenced a poet to life imprisonment for criticizing the emir. New Zealand acceded to the 1954 Hague Convention by passing legislation on the protection of cultural property from destruction and theft during armed conflict. In the United States, federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding for the protection of Native American sacred sites and improving access to the sites.
In a crossover of politics and economics, the high-end collectors and buyers at Art Basel Miami Beach drew criticism from writers and critics, who question the impact of current spending in the art market on the development of art.
In economics, a London borough, Tower Hamlets, hoped to solve financial problems with the sale of "Draped Seated Woman" by Henry Moore, but the sale was impeded by the Art Fund charity, which challenged the legal ownership of the sculpture. In France, President Francois Hollande inaugurated a Louvre satellite museum, which is hoped to revive the economy of Lens. The art fair, Art Basel Miami Beach attracted new affluent Latin American buyers. Poly Auction, China’s largest art auction house, is now the third-largest internationally after Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The nature magazine, National Geographic, raised $3.8 million in an auction of photographs.
In security, in the UAE, Sharjah Police worked off of information from Dubai Police to arrest a couple of Pakistani men who were trafficking in fake gold coins. In Oman, the Council of Ministers approved a plan to counter looting of and trafficking in cultural property as part of a comprehensive plan to develop tourism. In Khao Sam Kaeo, a “bead rush” increases looting and trafficking of cultural property in Thailand. In the UK, the two men who stole “Working Model for Sundial” from the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire were sentenced to a year in prison. In Italy, Rome police recovered an Egyptian sphinx of the 4th century B.C. In New York, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized several Indian statues that the now notorious antiquities dealer, Subhash Kapoor, had allegedly sold. HSI also seized a 16th century tapestry from a business in Houston on behalf of the Spanish Civil Guard. Also, the FBI Art Crime Program secured a painting from a Santa Fe art gallery on behalf of the Embassy of Peru in Washington D.C.
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