Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cultural Security News (Feb. 03 - Feb. 09)

Hope for manuscripts in Mali and correction of the art market in China
In politics, in the United States, a Civil War Trust worked to preserve the historic site of the Battle of Gettysburg. A number of letters to the editor in The New York Times reacted to potentially misleading aspects of Hugh Eakin’s commentary, “The Great Giveback,” on trends in repatriation of antiquities from museums to “source nations.” Simultaneously, a commentary raised concerns over the full effect of a recent announcement by the Association of Art Museum Directors on higher standards for museums to publicly justify acquisitions of objects with incomplete provenance. Meanwhile, Russia countered claims for financial compensation and the return of the Schneerson collection to the United States.
In a crossover of politics and economics, an article out of New York echoed the logic behind modernizing tax law, such as a resale royalty, for the art market, while Forbes reported that the IRS strives to ensure fair treatment of art collectors through an objective Art Advisory Panel. Reuters reported that “Pakistan plans to build a $30 million amusement park and outdoor activity centre on the edge of the northwestern town of Abbottabad, where U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden…” An article in ArtInfo, revealed the commercial tactics of the renowned street artist, Banksy.
In a crossover of politics and security, the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon visited Tyre in the interest of initiatives, such as the Ambassador’s Fund, to protect cultural property. In Mali, questions arose over the whereabouts of 15th-century manuscripts in Mali after the retreat of extremists from Timbuktu.
In economics, an article in China covered previously raised questions over practices of third-party guarantees at art auctions, while anticipation of art auction statistics for 2012 predicts a downward adjustment of China’s rank in the global art market. At the same time, ArtInfo, speculated on the positive effects of a correction to the art market in China. Art Stage Singapore, on the other hand, has continued to expand over the past three years. In India, art also seems to have a future as an investment, and an obscure valuation technique prices artworks by the square inch. Overall, high-end art collectors apparently remain unhindered by the weak global economy, and the CEO of The Fine Art Fund Group predicted that the “top end of the art market will continue to boom for the next ten years.”
In security, an article on preservation in Oregon held optimism for the protection of Rock Art worldwide. While commentary continues on the political and cultural ramifications for destruction in Mali, a number of reports indicate that security measures may have saved some cultural treasures in Mali. Oman announced plans to form a committee to counter trafficking in cultural property.
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