Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Controversy Surrounding Antique Artifacts

With the holiday and lots of work, I've regrettably missed my daily visit to the Met a few times this week. Things should calm down for me soon, and I will resume my daily trek to the Met tomorrow. For now, here is an excerpt from an Op-ed piece in the New York Times published yesterday:

...An enduring and increasingly hostile debate in the world of art and museums: Who should own the treasures of antiquity?

Up to now, the parties on either side of this dispute have stood in opposing corners with their fingers in their ears. The governments of Italy and Turkey have filed lawsuits to force the return of plundered and looted artworks. Egypt has threatened to suspend excavation permits if iconic artifacts are not repatriated. Greece has built a new museum in Athens in large part to justify its renewed demands for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain.

For the most part, the world’s great museums, like the Metropolitan, have responded only when under direct threat and, even then, they do not acknowledge wrongdoing.

Definitely an interesting debate. It goes without saying that Met lovers would hate to see the collection reduced by this controversy but, on the other hand, it is unfair and unjust to display works of art that were stolen from their native countries without any compensation or retribution for their cultural history.

I'll definitely continue following the Met in the news. For more from the New York Times, which has a beautiful Topics Page on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, follow the link.

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