Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cultural Security News (May 19 - May 25)

Market competition and record returns
In politics, in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art elected to repatriate a pair of statues to Cambodia. In Israel, a delegation from UNESCO inspected the preservation work in the Old City of Occupied Jerusalem. In India, an article asserted that not all Indian artifacts in foreign collections were necessarily stolen and, correspondingly, advocated for revision of the Antiquities and Treasures Act of 1972. Museums of human remains worldwide are realizing the potential recall of items to nations origin.
In a crossover of politics and security, Cambodia stepped up calls for return of cultural property. In Africa, Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah asserted the importance of preserving native languages. In Egypt, the former minister of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, is still fighting legal trouble, which includes alleged illicit shipments of antiquities. In the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and Customs and Border Protection returned hundreds of ancient coins to the Bulgarian Ambassador.
In economics, in the art market, speculation on a bubble, investment potential, and mergers of on-line enterprises continued. Artprice indicated an exponential increase in the number of players in the worldwide art market. In Hong Kong, the first Basel art fair illustrated the increasing competition in the art market in China. In France, a former gallery owner remarked on the challenges of operating locally in an increasingly global market.
In a crossover of economics and security, in the United States, a raid on museums in 2008 for illicit holdings of cultural artifacts has incurred high costs relative to the number of convictions. In Europe, a multidisciplinary team will visit the 14 most endangered European Heritage Sites. An article in Rutgers Law Review advocated replacing restitution for fine art with prosecution as with antiquities.
In security, in Syria, the Manger of Museums reportedly asserted that smuggling of looted artifacts has turned into stealing from museums through collaboration with Turkish, Lebanese, and Iraqi nations. In Sri Lanka, reports of artifact thefts are on the rise. In Ireland, indicated that archaeological sites are not safe after the recovery of a hoard of hundreds of historical items. A former Scotland Yard detective, Richard Ellis, asserted the risk of stolen art serving as collateral in transactions for arms and drugs. In New York, a dealer was indicted for selling forgeries of artists such as de Kooning, Pollock, and Rothko to the Knoedler and other galleries.
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