Archaeo-blogger Paul Barford has now become an art critic. See
Apparently, Mr. Barford wants Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei (who has already been imprisoned by Chinese authorities for his pro-democracy activities) "arrested" for his use of common ancient artifacts for purposes of modern art.
There may be a long artistic tradition of transforming the old into the new, but Barford will have no part of it.
In any case, isn't Ai Weiwei's transformation of the old artifacts in some ways better than letting such common artifacts gradually turn to dust in some forgotten storage facility? Unfortunately, that is the fate of many artifacts in the supposed care of the archaeological community.
Addendum: This is how a website called, "the Artist and His Model" describes Ai Weiwei's art:
Many of Ai Weiwei’s works from the past decade, for example, are made of local materials and of antique Chinese objects: tables and chairs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, wood, doors and windows from demolished temples and traditional houses, freshwater pearls, tea, marble, stone, bamboo etc. – ‘ready-mades’ trans¬lated into a conceptual, post-minimalist idiom.
Alternatively, for his colored vase series, he takes Neolithic vases (5000 – 3000 B.C.) and paints them careless with bright industrial colors. Then he places them in an Allan McCollum style.
The vases are authentic antique vases which could just as easily have stood in a collection in a historical museum in China. Yet it is not contempt for China’s history and tradition that lies behind this harsh treatment of the fine old antiques – on the contrary. His use of the vases should rather be seen as a Dadaistic gesture, as black humour and as a political comment on the organized destruction of cultural and historical values that took place, especially during the Cultural Revolution, when every¬thing old was to be replaced by the new. This stopped after the death of Mao, but the destruction and erosion of Chinese culture continues to this day – now under cover of economic progress.
Ai Weiwei points to the loss of culture by transforming the historical objects into something new – into moving and highly sensual contemporary artworks which thanks to their aesthetic beauty recirculate the meaning and history of these valuable cultural artefacts.