Coordinated raids on four Southern California museums early Thursday suggest that the involvement of art institutions in the purchase of looted objects is far more extensive than recent high-profile scandals have indicated.
Even as the country's most prominent museums were embarrassed by revelations of stolen artifacts in their collections, several local museums continued to pursue objects they had reason to believe were taken illegally from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Native American sites within the United States, according to search warrants served Thursday.
Dozens of federal agents descended on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pasadena's Pacific Asia Museum, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and Mingei International Museum in San Diego.
The raids marked the first public move in a five-year undercover investigation of the alleged smuggling pipeline.
Museum officials defended their practices and pledged to cooperate fully in the investigations.
January 25, 2008
January 22, 2008
While reading chapter three of our Oceanic Art text, I began to compare and contrast the way war is viewed and practiced in different parts of the world. It is my understanding that most Western societies have utilized war for domination, and in most Pacific regions war was used to dominant and secure land, but not at the same level. For instance, Westerners use large military forces to fight wars that can last years, but in Pacific cultures such as the Asmat, war was personal and much smaller in scale. For example, war to the people of the Asmat, consisted of a warrior taking part in a single act of violence to seek vengeance for a fallen ancestor.
Westerners often times associate the word "vengeance" with a negative connotation. For example, revenge is most commonly depicted in fictional stories rather than in real life and can be seen as an illogical way to solve a major conflict. War, to the western world, is about strategies and their effectiveness, and to people of the Asmat, war is about the community and the ceremonies and rituals that take place in the honor of their ancestors. I could go on and on, but I will end my thoughts here.
January 19, 2008
I wanted to give you a follow up on this story from last fall.
Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington, has been seeking for more than a decade the repatriation of human remains removed from the country by colonial powers in the 19th century. Some thirty institutions in Europe and America have already returned requested collections of bones. But recently one mummified tattooed head of a Maori warrior held in the collection of the Natural History Museum in Rouen, France, since 1875 has become the center of a repatriation debate. The main arguments revolve around two opposing perspectives in regard to defining cultural artifacts and over who can claim an object as part of their cultural identity.
Although the mayor of Rouen has agreed to return the head, the French Ministry of Culture has attempted to stop its return by claiming that it is now more a part of the French national heritage than the original Maori. A second part of the debate rests on whether the tattooed head is classified as "human remains" or as a "work of art". Since some Maori heads were traditionally preserved and kept as trophies, it may be argued that they were transformed into cultural artifacts.
The French culture minister Christine Albanal argues that the mayor's unilateral decision may set a precedent for repatriation of other remains held in French museums. Officials in favor of the return of the head argue that since it is a body part it falls under bioethics laws rather than laws pertaining to the ownership of artworks.
A final judgement on this case from the French courts is expected possibly as soon as this month.
January 18, 2008
Monday, January 28 through Saturday, March 1, 2008.
Artists’ Talk and Reception: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Chaffey College and the Wignall Museum are pleased to present Inlandia. Like the 2007-2008 College Book of the same name, Inlandia assembles a group of artists who explores disparate ideas that make the Inland Empire a place with a cultural landscape all its own. The artists in Inlandia are based in TX, MN, OR, NY and CA, but regardless of their proximity to the Inland area, their works are informed directly by this regions political or social landscape or investigate ideas relevant to the IE community. In Inlandia explores the Inland Empire’s status as the fastest growing region in Southern California, the resulting suburban sprawl and ecological impact on the area, the beauty and inspiration of the landscape in the sprawling IE territory, and the characters that make this region unique and diverse. Artists utilize various media to comment on, record and realize the Inland Empire.
Inlandia features work by Edith Abeyta (CA), Adam Belt (CA), Sasha Bezzubov (NY), Margarita Cabrera (TX), Misty Cervantes(CA), Samantha Fields (CA), The Institute for Figuring (CA), Roman Jaster (CA), Sant Khalsa (CA), Kimberly Kolba (OR), Amy Maloof (CA), Michelle Mayer (CA), Thomas McGovern (CA), Jessica Newman-Skrentny (CA), David Rathman (MN), Alex Slade(CA), Jessica Swanson (CA), and Roger Tilton (CA).
Artist Talks and Lectures:
All lectures will be held at the Wignall Museum and are free and open to the public.
Various Artists: Tues, January 29, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Edith Abeyta and Roman Jaster: Mon, February 11, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Thomas McGovern: Fri, February 22, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Sant Khalsa: Mon, February 25, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
January 17, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Four giant waterfalls will be erected in New York for three months this summer in a public art project city officials hope will create $55 million in extra tourism revenue for the Big Apple.
The waterfalls, including one that will fall from the famed Brooklyn Bridge, are the brainchild of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Installation will cost $15 million, funded by private donations to New York's Public Art Fund.
"It's about seeing water in a different way," Eliasson told a news conference on Wednesday, unveiling plans for the waterfalls, which will range in height from 90 to 120 feet -- around the same as the Statue of Liberty from head to toe.
Three of the waterfalls will cascade into the East River and New York Harbor from free-standing scaffolding towers that Eliasson said were part of his artistic vision, mirroring the scaffolding towers that sprout up throughout New York. The falls will be in place from mid-July to mid-October.
An artist's rendering of the New York City Waterfalls project, proposed by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.