Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cultural Security News (Feb. 17 - Feb. 23)

Looting continues in Syria, but the Czech Republic has strong sales at auction
In politics, the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani moved to improving on existing legislation for Member States to pursue repatriation of illicitly removed cultural patrimony. Turkey reported substantial statistics on recovery of cultural property from abroad over the past five years and ambitions to confront France and the Louvre. In Russia, Vladimir Putin openly opposed the restitution of property that Soviets had nationalized after 1917, at least for the present.
In a crossover of politics and economics, China’s Party-run auction house, Poly Auction, continues to thrive and serve as an indicator of vested interests in the state-run economy. In Russia, reportedly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, contemporary art became the most affordable and led to an “overheating” of the market from 2000 to 2008. While promoting trade with India, David Cameron denied calls for the return of the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond.
In a crossover of politics and security, in Cambodia, sculptures of lions indicate cultural exchange with India prior to the presence of the animals in the nation and the development of the “beast” into a symbol of protection.
In economics, in London, reports of sales at Christie's and Sotheby’s indicated active interest of international bidders in the high-end market. The Czech Republic also reported record turnovers at auction in 2012, and Chinese acquire modern Chinese art in the Czech Republic. Artprice partnered with Artron, a leading art market information provider in China. India announced a first contemporary art biennale.
In a crossover of economics and security, in Egypt, funding for protection of cultural heritage, such as the pyramids, depends on revenue from tourism, which the current turmoil impairs. In London, a pilfered Banksy mural appeared at auction without concern.
In security, Syria's head of antiquities, Maamoun Abdulkarim, reported on the extent of looting from tomb-robbing to artifacts from cultural institutions, and an article indicated that the perpetrators appear to be small-scale gangs.
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