Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thomas Murray, an Appreciation

CPO expresses thanks to Thomas Murray for his all too short service on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.  President Obama appointed Mr. Murray to serve on CPAC in April 2013 to replace Bob Korver (who had resigned), but he was never allowed to serve a full term on his own.  This is a shame.  Mr. Murray, a past President of the Antique Tribal Arts Dealer Association, not only has real, tangible experience in the trade of ethnographic artifacts.  In addition, he actually represented the interests of his trade constituents by asking some "hard questions" at CPAC hearings.  In contrast, President Obama's replacement  for Mr. Murray may have political connections (albeit not with the party in power), but it remains unclear how he can actually "represent" the interests of the trade in either archaeological or ethnological objects as contemplated by the Statue. See Senate Report 97-564 at 9.  And, after all, "representing the interests" of  designated stakeholders is a major reason why CPAC exists.


Unknown said...

Thomas Murray I would like to thank Peter Tompa, author of the blog, Cultural Property Observer, for his note of appreciation for my time put in on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CAPAC) at the State Department in Washington, DC. Mr. Tompa appeared before us many times during public sessions to advocate on behalf on the collecting of ancient coins, an area that has many crossover issues with tribal art. I salute Peter Tompa for his tireless, often thankless, efforts to get the point of view of collectors "into the record." I will no longer be present to advocate on behalf of collectors and the trade; seven of the eleven CPAC members, including myself, were rotated off at the start of this year. During my tenure, I expressed our collective concerns as best I could and voted my conscious. I can tell all who are interested that CPAC was not a "rubber stamp" operation. Every issue was well and thoroughly considered by a very brilliant, highly qualified group, I least among them. One breakfast, as we talked among ourselves, it turned out that I was the only person at the table not to have gone to Harvard...but at least some of my works art are there…and at museums of Yale, Princeton, Oxford University, etc. I wish I could have as well!
It was a great honor to be asked by President Obama to serve my country by offering my perspective as a tribal art dealer and collector to the CPAC committee. I thank Maria P. Kouroupas, Executive Director, for her patience and support to ensure my opinion was heard and entered "into the record." I close to say this was one of the greatest experiences of my life, for which I will be ever grateful!! I did not always agree with every opinion around the table but I listened to all and they to me. I gained a deep respect and friendship for all who served with me and for the all-too-unsung scholars working with Ms. Kouroupas, who did a marvelous job researching the history and present day issues of each country that came up for review. To all I offer a deep bow on my way out!
-Thomas Murray

Cultural Property Observer said...

Tom, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Since "feather rufflers" like Jay Kislak, Bob Korver and a few others have left to be replaced by those associated with an "archaeology over all" perspective, its not surprising that issues can be discussed without much prospect that source countries will be pressed on self help measures or that the impact of import restrictions on legitimate business will be seriously considered. Hopefully, that will change under Trump, but we will see. In any case, thanks again for your service!