Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cooperation Fails to End Confrontation

For more evidence that American Museums' efforts to cooperate with the cultural bureaucracies of source countries like Italy has not bought them the peace that was promised, read Jason Felch's blog about the latest efforts to send the "Getty Bronze" to Italy.  See

He states,

Since 2005, the Getty has voluntarily returned 49 antiquities in its collection, acknowledging they were the product of illegal excavations and had been smuggled out of their country of origin. Hundreds of other objects were returned by other American dealers, collectors and museums. In the wake of those returns, several American museums struck cooperative deals with Italy and Greece that allow for long-term loans of ancient art.

But such agreements have not shielded American museums from further claims that ancient art in their display cases are the product of a black market responsible for the destruction of archaeological sites around the world. In March, Turkish officials revealed they were seeking the return of dozens of allegedly looted antiquities from the Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks.

It's high time for American Museums to rethink their efforts to appease source countries and the AIA.  Such appeasement does little in the end, but encourage other, ever more aggressive claims.

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