Showing results 49 - 53 of 53 for the tag: Metropolitan Museum.

July 27, 2008

UNESCO, Nok terracotta & The Met

Posted at 11:18 am in Similar cases

New York’s Metropolitan Museum has no record of Nigerian art prior to the Benin Bronzes. Met Director Philippe de Montebello suggests that this is a problem brought about by the 1970 UNESCO convention on Cultural Property.

Kwame Opoku however suggests that perhaps this approach is glossing over the realities of the situation.


Kwame Opoku, a tireless commentator on restitution issues (one of whose essays recently attracted a rejoinder on from Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello), responds to Michael Conforti Q&A About AAMD and Antiquities:

It is always interesting to hear from those whose work it is to keep records of the past achievements of mankind and society declaring that we must forget the past and look forward to the future. What they are saying is that there should be no archaeology of the acquisition practices of the past.
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July 3, 2008

Was MacGregor ever really offered the Met Job?

Posted at 12:41 pm in British Museum

Lee Rosenbaum offers some thoughts on whether the idea that Neil MacGregor was offered the job of director of the Met was all down to distortion of the issue by headline writers.

Read her piece here.

At the same time Norman Lebrecht uses this news as another chance to extol the virtues of MacGregor & the British Museum in a tone that seems almost too adulatory to be believable. If only the residents of all the countries hoping for artefacts to be returned were as excited by this news.

Read his piece on the news here.

July 2, 2008

MacGregor will be staying at British Museum for another four years

Posted at 1:39 pm in British Museum

When Philippe de Montebello announced his retirement from New York’s Metropolitan Museum, British Museum director Neil MacGregor was one of the people tipped to replace him. The British Museum has just announced though that although he was offered the post, he has turned it down with the intention of staying with the British Museum until 2012.

During the next four years though, whilst MacGregor may continue trying to resist change, he may find that he is left with little choice, with the carpet being swept out from under him by changing views on restitution in the Museums’ world.

Daily Telegraph

British Museum director says no to Metropolitan Museum of Art move
By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Last Updated: 6:42PM BST 01/07/2008
British Museum director Neil MacGregor has turned down a job as head of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr MacGregor was approached as a possible replacement for Philippe de Montebello, who is stepping down as Met director at the end of this year.

But after weighing up the offer, he has pledged his future to the British Museum for another five year term.
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April 22, 2008

Kwame Opoku responds to Philippe de Montebello

Posted at 11:24 am in Similar cases

Philippe de Montebello, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Musum has never been popular with restitutionists, despite being unwillingly responsible for some of the most significant artefact restitutions in recent years. He always gives the impression that he does not really even try to understand the issues & implies that he has been forced into making decisions by situations outside his control.

Modern Ghana

By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Feature Article

Reference is made to the letter from Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1), New York, which was published in AFRIKANET on Friday, 18 April, 2008. In his letter, Philippe de Montebello refers to my article entitled “Is Legality still a viable concept for European and American Museum Directors?” The Director of the Metropolitan does not address the main point of my article, namely, that the arguments the European and American museums present in defence of their holding of stolen African cultural objects are extremely weak. It seems the director is more interested in the picture inserted in the article than in the serious comments on legality. I shall therefore only comment on the points raised in his letter.

We are sorry that the Director of the Metropolitan Museum had to go to so much trouble in order to identify the Nok terracotta. Incidentally, why must a Nok sculpture be described as “haunting, strange-looking object”? This description comes from a museum director who has artworks from the Egyptians, Guro, Lobi, Dogon, Bamana, Senufo, Baule, Lumbo, Igbo, Fan Yoruba, Chokwe, etc among his collections. I thought we had long moved away from the period when the Europeans and Americans described whatever came out of Africa in these terms. Or are we going back to those days when an unbridgeable difference was assumed to exist between African art and European art? Surely, after the influence of African art on modern art and after so many exhibitions on African art, some organized by the Metropolitan Museum, such a description sounds somewhat odd, especially coming from a Director of one of the leading museums of the West.
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July 29, 2003

Differences in attitudes to artefact repatriation

Posted at 9:25 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Museums in the USA were founded on very different principles to many of those in Europe. Nowadays, this difference is starting to manifest itself in their more pragmatic approach to the restitution of disputed artefacts in their collections.


Trading Places
Cultural property disputes are reshaping the art world—but how?
By Carol Kino
Posted Monday, July 28, 2003, at 12:25 PM PT

It’s a sad truth that the depredations of war and imperialism have sometimes had positive side effects for art history. Take the Metropolitan Museum’s recent “Manet-Velázquez” show, on the influence of 17th-century Spanish painting on 19th-century French art. For most of the 18th century, Spanish artists like Murillo, Zurbaran, and Velázquez were little known outside their homeland. Then in the early 1800s, hundreds of Spanish paintings arrived in Paris as Napoleonic war loot. Some were briefly shown at the Louvre before Napoleon’s defeat, after which they were returned. Later that century, French artists began adopting the Spanish artists’ realist aesthetic and loose, sensuous brushwork—a move that laid the foundations of Impressionism and radically changed the course of modern art.

Unlike many European museums, American museums were built with civic and capitalist muscle, rather than imperial might. Yet well into the 1970s their attitude toward acquisitions—as any expert will admit off the record—was frequently “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But today American courts are dealing with an unprecedented number of Holocaust reparation cases. And last year, the Justice Department successfully prosecuted a well-known New York dealer, Frederick Schultz, for conspiring to receive stolen Egyptian antiquities. As a result, some foreign collectors and museums have become more cautious about loaning work to museum shows—particularly those in America—and everyone has become vastly more diligent about conducting provenance research before buying.
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