Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cultural Security News (Mar. 10 - Mar. 16)

Ministries of Culture in China, Egypt, India, and Yemen
In politics, experts at a travel agency compiled a collection of photos of monuments to women leaders around the world. In China, censors will now need to contend with Ai Weiwei’s rock music. The Association of Art Museums Directors in North America continues to examine the issue of donors passing antiquities to museum and the potential for legal risk of objects of questionable provenance. The British Museum received criticism for delays in discussing the return of Benin Bronzes to Nigeria.
State of the art marketIn a crossover of politics and economics, an article speculated on the success of Western and contemporary art in the market when Chinese buyers have limited interest in Western artworks. In Egypt, state Antiquities Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, announced the formation of a committee receive bids from private companies to restore the historical Al-Muizz Li Din-Allah Al-Fatimi Street in Cairo. An article commented on the underused resale rights legislation in the art market.
In a crossover of politics and security, in Turkey, an Icelandic citizen was arrested at the airport on suspicion of smuggling artifacts. In Rome, the popes are credited with stocking the city full of ancient treasures from around the world. The Cyrus Cylinder is on tour in the United States. The Archaeological Survey of India has issued notices for demolition of illegal buildings in Goa and Ponda.
In economics, a report following TEFAF indicated that despite economic turmoil, art remains a viable investment option in China over real estate and stock markets. Also, auction houses in China are shifting strategy from focusing on sales volume to sales of quality works, while China dropped into second place against the United States in art sales at auction. Reportedly, the British Museum is the most popular attraction in the United Kingdom. A new on-line art dealing venue, Artspace, claims to have a novel, competitive method. Ganesh Pyne, who is credited with reestablishing Bengal art in the Indian art market, passed away. An article discussed the relevance of art market in Israel as a barometer for emerging trends in the United States and Europe.
A Syrian rebel prepares for battle in AleppoIn a crossover of economics and security, a recent article on looting in Syria referred to an estimate of $2 billion in artifacts that have been smuggled out of the country, while foreign efforts to aid in documenting the cultural heritage remain frustrated.
In security, in Egypt, reports continue on the threat of looting to archaeological site as farmers convert the sites to agricultural land. In Bulgaria, police recovered a violin that may be the $1.8 million Stradivarius that was stolen in London two years ago. The Yemeni Deputy Culture Minister discussed the vulnerability of artifacts and manuscripts to theft and vandalism.
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