Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The Greek Reporter has a short profile of Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, a Glasgow researcher, who uses police files procured "under the table" from the Greek authorities to play "gotcha" with auction houses and collectors. CPO believes such behavior should not be celebrated but condemned. The fair thing for Greek authorities to do would have been to share the materials with major auction houses so it can be reviewed as part of their due diligence process. Instead, the Greeks (and presumably their Italian counterparts) use Tsirogiannis and his go-to blogger, David Gill, to publicly humiliate auction houses and prominent collectors with privileged information. This gives the Greek and Italian cultural bureaucracies an easy "win" when the embarrassed collector and auction house surrender the artifact, and Tsirogiannis and Gill, two otherwise obscure academics, get some notoriety. Perhaps all this helps divert attention away from the gross underfunding, bureaucratic incompetence and corruption that bedevils Greece's and Italy's poor stewardship of their own cultural patrimony, but it doesn't make it right.