Wednesday, 7 January 2009

More sneers from Observer

Peter Tompa has a blog on "cultural property observing" which consists almost entirely of a series of sneering attacks on the whole world that does not collect antiquities. It seems he has a chip on his shoulder about SAFE in particular. SAFE is hosting Lord Professor Colin Renfrew who is giving a lecture in a few days time about the antiquities trade in which (one may infer from its title) New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's acquisition policy will be one of the things discussed. The Met in response released the full text of a draft of its new acquisition policy. Tompa criticises SAFE for publicising that fact. In his latest blog post "LA Times Culture Monster Swallows SAFE Bait-- Hook, Line and Sinker" he writes that:

The problem (sic) is that the MET (sic) has in fact adopted the new AAMD standards, a fact reported on the "CultureGirrl" blog some time ago.

Personally I do not see any "problem" in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art abiding by the new AAMD standards, in fact - given its past history - I see that as good news. Nevertheless, let's stick with the facts. Renfrew's SAFE lecture title was announced before 4th November, but the final version of the Met's revised policy to which Tompa refers was drafted later (12th November). More to the point, there seems to be some doubt when it was "adopted" (to use Tompa's term). The document itself says:

This Revised Policy shall be effective immediately upon approval by the Board of Trustees and shall supersede all prior policies on the topics addressed herein.

Presumably the adoption of this policy would have a terminus post quem of November 12th rather than some time in June when "CultureGrrl" reported what she had been told by a Met spokesperson.

I really do not see the reason for yet another "numismo-rantic" attack on SAFE. If one considers Culturrgirl blog post 'public announcement from a major institution, it's their choice. It seems to me pretty clear that the full draft text of the Met's new policy was made public as a reaction to SAFE's announcement of what Lord Renfrew was going to say in a few days' time, which is what SAFE are saying. Which is what "CultureMonster" said.

Let it be noted that the style in which this was handled between SAFE/Renfrew and the Met was the polar opposite of the numismo-rantic method: no attack, no clobbering. SAFE was polite and civil to the folks at the Met but surely is free to ask them and anyone else questions about what they are doing.

Photo: Peter Tompa

1 comment:

Paul Barford said...

The MMA website posted on 6th January the text of this policy indicating that the Board actually adopted it ON the 12th November, the day it was drafted, so that was quick.

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