Thursday 17 April 2014

NYT on "Repatriation"

Fitting the two halves of a
dismembered artwork
 Vision of Home: Returned AntiquitiesRepatriated Works Back in Their Countries of Origin" April 17, 2014
The New York Times has a piece by Rachel Donadio: "
In recent years, museums across the United States and Europe have begun returning objects to their countries of origin. Each case tells its own story. While much attention has focused on the act of repatriation, The New York Times looked at what happened to several objects after they went back. Some works, returned with great fanfare, have taken on greater meaning back on view in the countries or cultures that produced them. Other times, after the triumphalism fades, they fall victim to benign neglect, or are not always easy to reach.
The objects discussed are:
- Goddess of Morgantina from Getty to Aidone, Sicily.
- Machu Picchu  from  Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to Cuzco, Peru.
- St. Euphemianos in Lyssi, Byzantine fresco fragments, from Menil Collection Houston, to Cyprus.
- Perge “Weary Herakles” from Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to Antalya, Turkey.
- Cerveteri, Euphronios krater, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the National Etruscan Museum in Rome’s Villa Borghese park. 
The text seems to be assessing whether the 'repatriated' objects are in the right place through visitor figures. It makes no mention at all of what is being done to prevent stolen items ending up in positions where they have to be "repatriated", it seems to me the focus is on the wrong end of the process. But then American authors tend most often to see the issue as one of kudos-building and point-scoring "repatriation" rather than looting.

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