Prof. Peter Byrne has posted Historic Preservation and its Cultured Despisers: Reflections on the Contemporary Role of Preservation Law in Urban Development on SSRN. The piece has a thoughtful discussion of historic preservation. He argues convincingly that the “cultural heritage conveyed by a community’s historic buildings is a public good, the value of which is not fully internalized in property rights . . . [r]egulation may be done well or poorly, but regulation must exist.” He puts Edward Glaeser’s breathless appreciation for Houston’s development policies in context, well worth a read.
- Another wall collapsed in Pompei, and though an additional $140 million in funding has been approved for the site, another unfair report of Italian cultural resource management in the British press.
- A new dispute in San Diego County over 10,000-year-old human remains. An attorney representing UC San Diego, James McManis, may want to choose his words with more care than these: “The idea that we’re going to turn this incredible treasure over to some local tribe because they think it’s grandma’s bones is crazy.”
- Put some drugs (or art) on the damn table: Making a case is hard, it takes funding, institutional commitment, and takes much longer than a simple seizure. Veteran police and prosecutors know this, and sometimes voice criticism over showy returns and recoveries that don’t build a case or actually target and take down criminal networks. Rick St. Hilaire has a great discussion of Homeland Security’s “seize and send” policy which sent a number of seized objects back to Italy this week.
- Art stolen in 1976, now recovered, will be sold at Sotheby’s on May 17.
- The art of patent applications.
- A “looted” stelae goes on display in Detroit (previously discussed here).
- Is there a “best Scream“?
- A roundup of Fisk’s victory: “The Collection will now disappear into the private home of an anonymous Russian oligarch, never to be seen … ”
|Some of the objects taken from the Fitzwilliam on April 13|
Dick Ellis can always be relied on to provide a sensible commentary on a recent theft. Speaking to the Cambridge-news he argues it is unlikely that the thieves stole the objects to order. The 18 stolen objects were taken from the Fitzwilliam museum, and as always the trick is not the stealing, it is selling or profiting off the theft. Ellis notes to the BBC:
Almost certainly, in my opinion, the museum was targeted in the same way as we saw thieves target rhino horns when their price went through the roof. They have an appreciation that in the last couple of years the Chinese art market has now outstripped the United States and European art markets to become the premier art market in the world.The thought is that if you steal some quality items – and you will find quality items in museum collections – you can sell them on to a Chinese market that has an insatiable appetite for this sort of thing.
The Hellenic Society for Law and Archaeology and the Institut fur Kunst und recht are putting together a conference at the Acropolis Museum in Athens in a few week on May 19th 2012. The conference aims:
- to examine the need of reforming the existing legal framework on international, European and national level and to offer proposals to take a closer look at:
- the legal trends and the challenges they create for member states
- the strengths and deficiencies of the two major international conventions as well as the regulations of European and national law
- to discuss the legal reforms currently underway in European Law
- to present and examine case studies from Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Austria
- to network and exchange ideas with leading professionals
The Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren), the Free University Brussels and the University of Leuven are organizing an international conference in October titled “Norms in the Margins and Margins of the Norm: the Social Construction of Illegality” October 25-27 in Belgium.
The international conference Norms in the Margins and Margins of the Norm. The social Construction of Illegality aims at fostering a cross-disciplinary debate on everyday practice seen as systems of practical norms in realms more commonly considered from a legal or moral standpoint. Political scientists, jurists, historians, sociologists and social anthropologists will exchange their views on interactions between normative systems produced by official actors such as States or international organizations and those systems of norms informing the actions of actors thriving in the margins of official categories. Official categories emerge as highly political creations, while powerlessness in the margin reveals itself as relative. Market oriented economy intertwines with underground networks and these interconnections produce implicit norms that are also produced in the loopholes of law in various spheres of societies. These themes will be analysed through case studies bearing on traffics in art, drugs, organs, etc as well as on corruption, the cultural production of rules, etc.
Rick St. Hilaire has a detailed discussion supporting S.2212:
The proposed bill clarifies the spirit of a federal law in force for over 35 years, but weakened in the last few years. Congress in 1965 passed IFSA (formally known as the Immunity from Seizure Under Judicial Process of Cultural Objects Imported for Temporary Exhibition or Display). Lawmakers passed it because they wanted to promote the importation of art. They wanted to let foreign art lenders know with certainty that their cultural works would not become entangled in litigation once on American soil.
|Krak des Chevaliers, a crusader castle in Syria is at risk|
- The conflict in Syria has produced predictable damage to that nations heritage, including the armed occupation of fortresses, looting of sites, chipping away of mosaics, and other acts of cultural destruction.
- A well-reasoned case for the return of the Nefertiti bust.
- Turkey would like these objects returned from the Getty.
- Heritage sites in Mali are at risk according to UNESCO.
- The discovery rule and Steven Spielberg prevail in the Ninth Circuit.
- A Nazi-era restitution.
- Fund Italian culture or else.
- It seems the attention being paid to the ongoing looting at El-Hibeh has caused Egyptian authorities to take action.
- 18 jade objects stolen from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum.