Thursday, 12 July 2012

New York Times on Mongrel Artefacts

The New York Times has an interesting article by Ralph Blumental and Tom Mashberg 'The Curse of the Outcast Artifact' on the effects of lack of collecting histories in the US antiquities market. The problems owners of artefacts without a kosher pedigree are now having. I'll perhaps summaries and comment on the article itself later. What however is interesting are some of the comments underneath; while some are the typically fascist (and ignorant) comments we are accustomed to meet with in these milieux, one or two this time show a deeper reflection on the issues ('Empty' - Arizona; 'DCserver' -Washington, DC; 'Akiyama' - Coronado Ca;  'Jd' - Ct, plus two archaeologists writing under their real names Lacovara and Lipe). It seems members of the public are beginning to see through the sham facade of the antiquities dealings. Derek Fincham has a nice coverage and comments.

Fincham notes: 
The main omission from the report though, is that it only really gives the perspective from the point of view of collectors, without really giving much in the way of the consequences of buying these illicit objects. [...] I can appreciate the concerns of collectors who have acquired objects without informing themselves of the issues involved in the antiquities trade; who now find themselves surprised to have a very valuable piece of ancient art; and nobody is now willing to accept it as a donation. But this is a necessary consequence of the lack of information given by auction houses and dealers to these folks  [...] Buyers won't be buying objects if there is no further market for these objects, and the market itself rejects objects without provenance and information. 
Peter Tompa of course his usual spiteful paid lobbyist sniping, intended to deflect attention from the main issue and getting the discussion nowhere.

Vignette: Kundel.

1 comment:

kyri said...

hi paul.personally i hate these lables of orphan,toxic or mongrel, when talking about ancient works of art.derek finchman goes as far as to imply that most of them are probably fakes because they have no context.its good to see that the auction houses are starting to tighten up their consigning policies[something i have been saying,has been happenning over the last few years] but as for the antiquities themselves,well, hear is a nice quote,
"our museums are full of objects that speak for themselves,to the public and to scholars,without knowledge of their full,or even any claim an object without context is worthless is pure nonsense" sir john boardman,now who are we,mere mortals to argue with a demi-god like boardman.

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