Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cultural Security News (Jun. 09 - Jun. 15)

Egypt struggles to contain looting
In politics, in Tasmania, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) is banking on shock-art. In New York, the Met returned two 10th-century statues to Cambodia. In New York, Homeland Security Investigations tracked down the diaries of Alfred Rosenberg, who was a top aide to Adolf Hitler.
In a crossover of politics and security, Botswana has joined the fight against trafficking of cultural property. In Egypt, the Ministries of Antiquities and Interior cooperate to protect monuments. In Australia, the National Gallery of Australia is being pressed on acquisition policy. In Jordan, an unusual case of looters reporting on an archaeological find alerted the Department of Antiquities to a Byzantine Church.
In economics, in Turkey, the success of the Istanbul biennial indicates rising cultural power. In Switzerland, sales at Art Basel indicated that post-war and contemporary art is an increasing investment choice for billionaires. Two web art auction companies have substantial financial backing.
In a crossover of economics and security, in Paris, only antiquities with well vetted provenance receive bids at auction. In Egypt, looting continues by armed gangs.
In security, in Canada, for the first time, a conviction was made based on the National Parks Act. In Maryland, the Baltimore Museum of Art claimed legal ownership of a stolen Renoir painting that was subsequently found in a flea market. In New York, U.S. authorities issued an arrest warrant for Subhash Kapoor. Peru continues vigilance in disrupting trafficking in cultural property with searches at post offices.
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