Thursday, May 3, 2012

Swank AIA Gala at Odds with Anti-Business, Due Dilligence Rhetoric?

The AIA has announced the success of its Spring Gala on its website.  See

But the optics of such a posh event are seemingly at odds with the anti-business rhetoric one sometimes hears from AIA members at hearings of the State Department Cultural Property Advisory Committee. 

It's also interesting to note that the AIA auctioned off an antique Turkish kilim during the event.  See  Again, one wonders given all the rhetoric about due dilligence whether the item was imported into the United States consistently with Turkish export controls. See


Unknown said...

This question - which is certainly a legitimate one - has been answered by the donor of the kilim. He obtained it through legal channels and satisfying all necessary import and export requirements - the "due diligence" you mention.

The link to this is on Paul Barford's blog:

Perhaps you could add an update to your post to reflect the fact that in this case at least your concerns were groundless?

Unknown said...

While you are right to raise this question, it has been answered: the donor of the kilim has stated that it, like the rest of his stock, has been acquired, exported from Turkey, and imported into the US with full compliance with all laws - the "due diligence" to which you refer.

The source for this is Paul Barford's blog:

Perhaps you could add an update to your blog post pointing out that, in this case, your concerns have been answered.

Unknown said...

oops - thought comment one never made it through!


Cultural Property Observer said...

Well, I'm not sure Paul Barford is always that accurate a source, but in this case I have no problem posting this additional information.

As to the donor, he does seem to be quite knowlegeable in his subject area-- like many dealers-- though archaeologists all too often scoff at such expertise as corrupted by a "profit motive."

I was struck by his bio:

It seems he has been dealing in rugs and kilims for some time. I would note that especially early on, export controls were not enforced in many of the places he visited and bought from-- so I guess it's possible that he unknowlingly may have exported something sometime in his long career that was subject to export controls.

If so, I do not condemn him for it, but I would note that archaeological blogs such as Mr. Barford's have vilified others in similar situation and have championed the repatriation of such items removed from their country of origin years ago where there was not the same emphasis on export control as there is today. I suppose they claim that archaeological items are somehow different, but the law would not agree.

Unknown said...

Dear Peter,

You may say that Paul Barford is not always that accurate a source - however he cites this verbatim from the owner, who has not stated anything to the contrary. Perhaps to be sure you should ask the dealer (whose contact details are listed in the AIA link) if Paul Barford had reported him correctly, and let us know if this is the case or not. Better still, you could have done this before making your original post, and saved you and me both the effort of this subsequent conversation.

If you have proof that the dealer in question has dealt in objects that have been illegally exported from their country of origin, please give it. Smearing and sneering is something you, rightly, criticise other bloggers for: why do it yourself? Please save your energies and post when you are sure of your facts, rather than casting aspersions on his conduct.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Well, I must respectfully disagree. I merely seek to hold the AIA and AIA supporters to the same standards AIA members seek to hold others to. As for sneering and smearing, isn't Mr. Barford a prime example of that sort of conduct?. Come to think of it, perhaps before you cast further aspersions yourself, you should provide your full name and whatever affiliation you might have on these issues.