Sunday, March 24, 2013

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

Iraq National Museum ten years on, and the Gardner heist 23 years on
In politics, in Kenya, reflections on Olusegun Obasanjo’s statements on the protection of culture reiterated the call for cultural security in African nations. In Germany, David Hasselhoff visited the Berlin Wall to support the effort to preserve a section from demolition. In Washington DC, a design of a $142-million-dollar monument to Dwight D. Eisenhower received criticism.
In a crossover of politics and economics, in Australia, the Gallery of NSW came under scrutiny for objects that may have been acquired from the now infamous Subbash Kapoor.
A Maya effigy fragment is seen at Sotheby's auction house. The pre-Columbian artifact is part of the Barbier-Mueller collection to be offered in the auction house Paris sale on March 22-23. In a crossover of politics and security, in Syria, the struggle over protecting cultural heritage in the face of hardship and loss of life continued. The week marked the 10-year anniversary of the US-led military intervention in Iraq, while the National Museum in Baghdad remained closed. In Paris, Mexico demanded that Sotheby’s halt the planned sale of pre-Columbian artifacts that qualify and protected national patrimony. President Obama plans to designate five new national monuments. In London, a court blocked the extradition of a woman, who was accused of smuggling antiquities, to Russia by citing human rights, which might be violated in Russian prisons.
In economics, the president of Pace Beijing commented on the shift by collectors in China from speculation to long-term investment in art. In New York, four days of auctions of Asian art from antiquities to contemporary art was expected to take in up to $106 million. In India, the director of Christie’s voiced optimism about the potential of the art market. With the completion of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), the dominant market share shifted back to the West with the United States reassuming the top rank and Brazil continuing to show signs as an emerging market.
In a crossover of economics and security, the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities plans to restore the Villa Casdagli of downtown Cairo.
In security, in Greece, divers returned to the site of ancient shipwreck off of the island of Antikythera after nearly forty years. In Boston, the FBI announced progress on the case of the heist from the Gardner Museum in 1990. A 3-D scanning technology holds promise for authenticating an tracking artworks.
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