Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Contemporary Artists Sue Christies

Editor's note: This is an interesting suit enabled by a rather narrow California law. A broader issue that to my knowledge has not been tested is reimbursement to artists whose work is featured in auction catalogs creating both sales of catalogs and excitement in the property. In many cases publication rights may have not been transferred with the sale of the work. It seems to me that this has been a class action waiting to happen for years. I would expect potential liability would cause Christies to go to the mats to defend this one.

Los Angeles - Wall Street Journal - A group of major artists, including painter Chuck Close, and the heirs of abstract expressionist Sam Francis and sculptor Robert Graham, filed a pair of lawsuits against Sotheby's and Christie's seeking royalties on auction sales of their work in California.
The artists allege that the world's two biggest auction houses are failing to abide by a little-known California law that promises royalties to artists whenever their works are resold within the state or auctioned off elsewhere on behalf of owners who live in California. A Sotheby's spokeswoman said the "claim is meritless, and it will be vigorously defended."

A spokeswoman for Christie's, part of Christie's International PLC, said the law itself appears flawed and the auction house "looks forward to addressing these issues in court."
Calls to Mr. Close and the Sam Francis Foundation weren't returned. Royalties are commonplace in the realms of music and film, but the California Resale Royalty Act of 1976 is the only law of its kind in the U.S. It insists that visual artists living in California receive a 5% share of any subsequent sales of their artworks worth over $1,000 during their lifetimes or within two decades of their deaths.
The law also requires California-based art sellers to pay the same fee whenever they resell the affected work from their collection.
The pair of lawsuits filed by Mr. Close and others contends that Sotheby's and Christie's, who act as agents for their sellers, have repeatedly refused to pay royalties to California-based artists following auction sales of their work. The suits also claim the houses aren't telling their California clients upfront that they will need to set aside a portion of their sale proceeds to pay artists covered by the royalty law.
The law applies to original paintings, drawings, sculptures or original works of art in glass. Royalties for artists whose whereabouts can't be immediately determined are meant to be funneled to the California Arts Council. The lawsuits allege that the auction houses also are concealing the location of some of their California-based sellers by refusing to flag their works in auction catalogs. By contrast, artworks that fall under similar European royalty laws are routinely flagged in auction catalogs.
The suits seek compensatory damage for the artists as well as an overhaul of the way the houses alert artists and the public about the works that are covered by the California law.
At least 50 countries around the world maintain similar royalty rights for visual artists, including Britain and France. In Europe, the laws are typically referred to as droit de suite, a French phrase for artist's rights.
The suits come at a time when artists' rights groups like the Artists' Rights Society are lobbying Congress for legislation to make droit de suite a federal law.
Eric George, a lawyer with Browne George Ross in Los Angeles, is seeking class-action status for the two suits, which he filed on behalf of the artists on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kim's Tips of the Trade

A Primer for Looking at African Art, Part II:  The Yoruba Ere Ibeji Figures

For those of you who are new to the field of tribal art collecting, you might wonder about these small standing wooden figures with the typically large bulging eyes and the oversized frequently conical-shaped heads, the ere ibeji (“Ibi” = born, eji= two, ere = sacred image) twin figures.  Sometimes you see them as a pair (male/female, male/male, female/female), sometimes you see them as a single figure, but typically they are around 6 to 12 inches tall, with prominent sexual features. Sometimes they wear clothing, even share clothing. Sometimes their headdress will have blue indigo paint still in it; sometimes they will be variously adorned with colorful beads. And the biggest feature you will notice are their worn surfaces:  sloping, soft foreheads, chins, eyes, nose, mouth, features that look as if they were carved out of butter.  Sometimes these soft facial features have melted to the point of extinction.  Why would these figures have such worn visages?  Are the wear patterns something desirable or are they candid displays of items only found in poor condition?   As with most African art, understanding these figures’  function and purpose within society is key.

The Yoruba tribal societies in Nigeria and Benin are known to have one of the highest birth rates of twins in the world, as well as unfortunately a high infant mortality rate. To both represent the deceased as well as house the split spirit of the child that has been lost, if a twin has died, a family will commission a carved likeness which although meant to be the child, will have the distinguishing features of an adult.  This figure plays a significant role for the tribe, the family, and especially for the mother.  This figure is the connection to the spiritual world.  For the rest of her life, the mother of the deceased child will carry this figure around in her garments-- care for it, feed and clothe it,  anoint it with oil, caress it and lay it down to sleep each night.

As one might imagine, over time, this touching of the wood creates wear patterns that are noticed primarily on the face, but also on the head, the shoulders, the chest, the arms, the breasts, the buttocks. These wear patterns that we look at with a questioning gaze, that might appear “ugly” to the uninformed collector, these are lasting testaments of a mother’s love of her child and evidence of a tribal custom created to honor the gift of twins to the Yoruba family.  To the knowledgeable collector, the wear patterns form a great component of appeal.

The Yoruba twin figures provide a great example  of the importance of knowing and understanding  how tribal art objects are traditionally used in order to clarify whether or not something is ceremonial or decorative.   When you know to look for a twin figure’s wear patterns, as well as know WHERE to look on the figure for these patterns, you are one step closer to understanding authentic African art objects.

NOTE: This article is merely an overview of these figures and the story they tell. For more information on Yoruba ere ibeji figures, you might consult the following books:

Chemeche, George  “Ibeji The Cult of Yoruba Twins” 2003.

Stoll, Mereidi and Gert “Twin Figures of the Yoruba”, 1980

My Word, October 2011

In the July/August issue of Archaeology Magazine, Roger Atwood revisits Nigeria and the Nok civilization. It is interesting that Atwood pretty much ignores the major 1995 Nok finds in which Nigerians played a major part in getting these antiquities into the commercial markets. After the initial discovery, European and American. African art markets were flooded with terracottas. Collectors, dealers and curators were aggressively pursuing these sculptures. But what did we all really know about either Nok material culture or the stylistic parameters of known authentic objects? It became obvious; we didn’t know much.
After buying a major Inland Niger Delta piece in 1989 from an old collection here in the U.S., I began appraising African terracottas a decade later. My work in this area was actually limited to one collector who certainly had one of the largest, if not the largest collection, of ancient African terracottas in the U.S. From the beginning, I would not touch any of these terracottas without the onsite, thorough inspection of a conservator. The collector gave me anything that I thought was necessary to complete the appraisal assignment. The conservator used a black light and a probe, which at the time seemed adequate to determine the condition of the sculptures.
The first few years of the next decade caused me to question whether we were doing enough. I explained to the collector that confirming the good condition of an object was adding value to his art. I felt that the value would be increased because I was certain we were doing more to authenticate these objects than most other appraisers. By 2004, I began to understand that the authentication of African terracottas was far more complex than any of us had previously thought. This enlightened moment came as the result of an investigation of a major Nok figure I had acquired and was offering to a museum for a significant amount of money. My colleagues and I exhausted all methodology known to me to confirm the authenticity and condition of this object.
I hired a well-known Nigerian expert who made a total of 72 phone calls to Nigeria to confirm that this piece could be legally acquired. The sculpture passed all the tests, but I still had that nagging feeling that something was not right. I turned to Mark Rasmussen in Stillwater, MN and showed him the x-rays, the thermoluminescent testing, the black light examinations and the research data. Rasmussen followed the methodology that he outlined in “Setting the Standard for Due Diligence: Scientific Techniques in the Authentication Process” ( . Rasmussen arranged for a thorough cat scan, which confirmed that the figure was a pastiche comprised of multiple fragments of unrelated figures and restorative material. The good news was that I didn't make a fool of myself in front of a major museum. The bad news was that this was little consolation for our efforts that yielded nothing for our time but experience for the future.
From 2006 on, to ensure we had a thorough understanding of the clay body we were sampling, I did not appraise any African terracotta figures without a cat scan first. We learned a great deal. Ironically, now I look at African terracottas with the same cynicism previously reserved for Pre-Columbian objects. Several years ago when I traveled around the U.S. introducing Mark Rasmussen to some of my friends in the museum world, there was a general acceptance of technology and Marks' expertise by recognizing the importance of testing objects potential future acquisitions. There was, however, little enthusiasm for testing objects currently on view. I get this and recognize that the politics of the moment dictates what will or will not be done. Translated, this means kick the problem down the road until the current decision makers are dealing with problems at some other institution.
Peter Breunig of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Museum in Frankfurt is back in Nigeria working on the Nok sites with his colleague Nicole Rupp. Their mission is to expand the knowledge base of Iron Age societies in Africa. Whether this work and the work of other archaeologists create more market interest is for the moment speculation. Overly restored objects, disreputable sellers, and efforts to halt the importation to Europe and the U.S. of terracotta from Mali and Nigeria have now seriously damaged the African terracotta market in the U.S. The only exception to this might be the modest market created for the large contemporary pots, primarily originating in West and North Africa. I see no connection between these very different markets.
Atwood's article certainly got me thinking again about Nok and terracotta in general. The Met's new exhibition, “Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures,” has opened to rave reviews. Included in this exhibition is the Minneapolis Institute of Arts well known Ife head. While I have no pretensions that I am an expert on Ife terracottas, I have always been interested in this object as a stylistically atypical example of the corpus. I have never seen any data one way or another, but expect that a highly regarded, experienced African curator like Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Ph.D. and the MIA Director Kaywin Feldman, past President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, have done their homework on this sculpture. No doubt they have cat scans and expert opinions that would satisfy any concerns from their museum patrons or the exhibition organizers at the Metropolitan Museum in New York..
Frank Willett, who died several years ago, was the foremost expert in the area and compiled a CD entitled “The Art of Ife”, which catalogs this particular Ife head as T731. Willettdexter side....The neck shows slight grooves where the coils have been smoothed. Cracks can be seen that have been well repaired to hide them on the outside. The front of the neck is a separate sherd extended artificially on the sinister side to join it to another sherd. The back of the head has been broken into several sherds, including the dexter side of the head over the ear. There appear to be about eleven re-attached sherds. In view of the otherwise excellent state of preservation of the head, it seems likely that it was shattered in finding. The top of the back of the head is missing as are the lower parts of the back and both sides of the neck. Samples have been removed from the edge of the neck medially and in the edge of the hair at the broken edge at the top of the head, also medially. These produced a TL date of BP 520±20%, i.e. c. AD 1370 to 1580.”
It seems that Willett is suggesting the face displays an atypical lack of symmetry. Putting my Pre-Columbian hat on makes me wonder whether the artist lost it in this area or that maybe the face had been restored. Willett has stated that the back and sides of the head and the front of neck were broken. I guess it is possible that the face is as pristine on the inside as it is on the outside, but logically it seems unlikely. I certainly don't know; however, when an object is offered in such an important public forum it seems like a fair question to ask. If I were asked to appraise this object I would immediately get a cat scan of the face and then take multiple samples around the face for TL testing. That’s a fantasy though, and this will be one more rhetorical question concerning objects that have been blessed.

My Travel Schedule October November 2011

 Departing Dallas October 28th I will be driving to El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles,  Flagstaff, Albuquerque, and then home to Dallas around November 10th. If you have any appraisal or authentication requests call Kim at the gallery at 972-239-4620 to schedule my visit during this trip. The gallery is also offering fine works from Africa, Pre-Columbian, American Indian, and Oceanic art. JB

I want a Tattoo

The ArtTrak newsletter recognizes that from time to time we can provide a public service for our subscribers. Recognizing that tribal tatoos have grown in fashion, we have reprinted this article so that present or future parents can be fashion forward. JB

Ways to Convince Your Parents to Let You Get a Tattoo

Body art has an odd appeal for most, but if you are under-age, it is important to ask your parents if it's ok to get a tattoo. Don't know how to convince your parents to let you get a tattoo? Keep reading, and you'll find out soon enough.
When it comes to body art such as tattoos, or even piercings, there are opinions galore regarding them. While it comes across as one of the most fascinating forms of art to a majority of the youth, parents, or the older generation in general, differ greatly in opinion. Convincing parents in a case like that can then be quite a task. Even so, it is equally essential to understand that the reasoning given by most parents is absolutely correct, and that there is nothing wrong in what they say.

Once you're inked, you have to realize that it is there to stay, thus giving you enough reason to make it as meaningful a tattoo as possible. There are innumerable meaningful tattoo ideas that one could turn to, but what it will take is a lot of time and patience to actually figure out what it is that you want. In fact, once you have that part all taken care of, the part regarding how to convince your parents to let you get a tattoo will also be a lot easier. Take a look at some of the methods you could try, in order to gain their approval.

Convincing Your Parents for a Tattoo

As mentioned above, convincing parents for certain things can turn into quite a herculean task, but with the help of a few simple tips, maybe it'll ease things a little. Take a look at how you could convince your parents to let you get a tattoo.

Have a Good Enough Reason for Wanting One
It all begins with having to explain why. Make sure you have a good enough reason to answer any question that parents might have to ask regarding why you want that tattoo so much. You also have to remember that answers like 'because it looks cool' or 'all my friends have one' do not qualify as valid reasons. If anything, it'll only take you one step closer to not getting it. Depending on the level of sternness that your parents normally exhibit, you will be able to judge how good or bad a reason some things will sound like. Make sure you base your logic and reason for that tattoo on something that will work well with their sensibilities.

Be Honest about the Cost Factor
You never know, but one of the reasons that your parents may not be in favor of you getting a tattoo could also be the cost factor. Let's face it, tattoos could get expensive if the pattern/ design that you've chosen to get inked with is large in size. Make sure you are completely honest and open about how much your tattoo may cost. You have to understand that what may seem reasonable or inexpensive to you, need not necessarily be so. Respect their decision if it is one regarding money, especially if you aren't yet self sufficient and would like them to pitch in with some cash.

Be Patient and Clear All of Their Doubts
If you are looking to convince your parents about letting you get a tattoo, you can be sure that there will be more questions thrown at you, than you had bargained for. Well, no pain, no gain. It's as simple as that. Your parents are worried, and that concern is natural, so you have to be patient when answering questions. Remember, getting snappy will get you nowhere. Being patient and clarifying any doubt that they may have is the only way you can get what you want. What you also have to understand is that most parents come from a different school of thought, so getting through to them may be tougher than you would like it to be. The key however, is, Patience!

If They aren't Convinced, Don't Argue
Convincing parents about some things has and will always be difficult. That said, it doesn't mean you disrespect them and go behind their back to get your tattoo. If you are extremely keen on getting one, have a mature conversation with them about it. Ask them what it is that they're worried about. If their concern is legit, but one that can be taken care of, work around it like a grownup. Let them know that most good tattoo places are very particular when it comes to hygiene, and that if they'd really like to have a look, you'd be willing to take them to see the place too. Being sensible about it may just get you what you want.

Paying heed to the above mentioned tips may work for you a lot better than you would've thought. Nevertheless, if for some reason the convincing attempts didn't quite work out like you would have liked them to, you could just wait, and get your tattoo when you are older and completely responsible for yourself. Who knows, you may just realize that what you wanted to get at 18 would've been a terrible idea in the long run.
Published: 8/23/2011

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IRS Clarifys Estate Rules - Portability for a spouse

Saturday/Sunday, October 8 - 9, 2011 I B9 -1
IRS Clarifies Estate Rules

The Internal Revenue Service last week clarified a provision of the estate tax affecting people who die in 2011 and 2012.
The good news: The paperwork process is now clearer for surviving spouses. But the new rules could pose problems for some.

Last December, Congress reinstated the estate tax after allowing it to lapse in 2010, and raised the amount of assets exempt from the tax to $5 million per individual or $10 million per married couple.
Included was a provision on "portability," which allows a surviving spouse in effect to roll over the unused portion of a deceased spouse's exemption. The IRS said last week that to preserve the spouse's exemption, executors must file an estate-tax return listing assets and their values, even if the total is very small.

Say Harry's wife, Jane, died this year. Jane's assets totaled $1.5 million, so $3.5 million of her exemption went unused. Harry's assets total about $6 million and include a large individual retirement account and an interest in a business owned by his extended family.
Under the new rules, Jane's executor can file an estate-tax return listing her assets and their values as of the date of death. That automatically preserves her remaining $3.5 million for use at Harry's death, putting him below the estate-tax threshold.

Estate-tax returns are due nine months after death. With that date looming for people who died in January, estate planners welcomed the IRS's guidance. A six-month filing extension is available, with interest due on any tax owed.
The portability provision, long advocated by many estate-law experts, allows new post-death planning. From 1981 until Congress changed the law last year, married couples faced a dilemma: If they left everything to each other outright, then the first to die would, in effect, lose the use of his or her estate-tax exemption. In 2009, when the exemption was $3.5 million, this meant that instead of shielding $7 million from estate tax, the surviving spouse could shield only $3.5 million.

The way around this problem involved setting up special trusts, but taxpayers needed to be willing both to plan and to pay higher legal fees—insurmountable hurdles, in some cases. In others, planning was complicated by a large, indivisible asset such as an IRA or a business.
Some planners say the new requirement poses a problem, in that advisers usually don't file a federal return if the estate is worth less than the exemption amount. "But under these rules, even small estates have to file a return if they want to preserve any unused exemption," says Beth Kaufman, a tax attorney with Caplin & Drysdale in Washington." Not only could advisers miss the IRS's guidance and fail to file, but those estates that do file will owe professional fees for any needed appraisals (say, of a house).

The provision also provides spiteful executors with an opportunity. "If the executor is a child who dislikes his step-mother or step-siblings, he or she might opt out of the portability that would save tax when the stepmother dies," says Ron Aucutt, an estate attorney with McGuire Woods in Washington.
For example, say John dies and leaves an estate of $4 million. His executor, Jack, the son from his first marriage, dislikes John's second wife, Sonia, and her two children by him. If Jack opts out of portability on John's remaining $1 million exemption and Sonia dies with an estate of $6 million, then her estate might well owe tax it wouldn't otherwise have.

More guidance also is needed on how the surviving spouse would use the remaining exemption to make a tax-free gift of assets to heirs while alive, as well as what happens to it if the surviving spouse remarries.
The biggest drawback, however, is that portable exemptions expire when the current estate- and gift-tax exemptions do, at the end of 2012. Some believe portability is likely to be renewed if the current exemptions are renewed, but there isn't any guarantee.

Experts say it is too early to predict what will happen to the estate tax in 2013. Michael Graetz, a former Treasury official who is now a professor at Columbia University Law School, offers this possibility: "The $5 million exemption will not go down, but the estate tax might be repealed entirely. In that case, there would be great pressure to replace it with a tax on the heirs who receive assets."

Monday, October 17, 2011


Tribal or Cultural Face Painting has been used for many motives. For hunting, religious reasons, and military reasons (mainly as a method of camouflaging) or to scare ones enemy. Several tribal fighting techniques were calculated to strike terror. Some warriors entered battle naked except for a loin cloth, but their bodies were streaked in bizarre examples in red and black paint. Decorating one's face in various patterns and shapes has been a part of the cultural make-up of many societies since the beginning of time. Face painting is a common theme across cultures as divergent as the Indigenous American tribes in North America and various tribes in Africa and South America. In Native American Tribes, Face Painting has been used for artistic expression since ancient times. The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks is a universal phenomenon. Before we sought to vent our artistic impulse on a cave wall, we painted on our faces and bodies. Indigenous peoples of the Amazon have said that in this power to change ourselves, we demonstrate our humanity and set ourselves apart from the world of the animals.
 Patterns developed over time to signify a variety of cultural events and these, conveyed an emotional meaning that was attached to them. The wide range of patterns that a face painter can create, enhance the emotions and meaning of the cultural events. The patterns can be color specific or randomly geometric seemingly without any significance. The shapes and colors convey a strong bond and meaning amongst people who have a face painting tradition. They are a connection to their past and carry a very strong cultural meaning in their lives. Tattooing was practiced and known by the ancient Egyptians, starting during the Middle Kingdom. Geometric designs have been found tattooed on the chests, shoulders, arms, abdomens and thighs of the mummies of dancers and royal concubines.

The reason tribes use face art to transform themselves may be varied. Sometimes they choose to do so as a part of a tribal ritual or at other times they do so to mark their status (as is the case with some aboriginal tribes), but the colorful and dynamic language of the face painting remains the same.

American Indian art - October 2011

Model Teepee Cover
Width - 70"
Sioux, Pine Ridge Reservation
c. 1885

African Art - October 2011

A  Hunter's door
Yoruba,  Ekiti, NIgeria, West Africa

Maurer Margolis Collection of Africa Neckrests - October 2011

Some of the Neckrests
Contact for information

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Technology - October 2011

1. The Art Newspaper - Preserving a work by starving it of air Anoxic storage can slow deterioration
By Emily Sharpe | From issue 227, September 2011
Published online 14 Sep 11 (Conservation)
 A cutting-edge area of research, and one that has conservators and museum professionals talking, is anoxic or oxygen-free storage and display. Oxidation has long been associated with the deterioration of light-sensitive materials, so the idea is that the degradation process can be slowed down by eliminating or greatly reducing oxygen levels.In exploring the possible benefits of anoxic environments on highly light sensitive colourants, scientists at the Tate are using microfaders—devices that measure the rate of colour change—to compare the light-sensitivity of  materials in air and in oxygen-free environments. Microfading involves shining a beam of light smaller than a full-stop on an object’s surface and collecting data on the rate of the induced colour change in real time.
Scientists from institutions including the Tate, the Getty and the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC) in Paris gathered at London’s Tate Modern this week (12-13 September) for a symposium on the potential impact of microfading and anoxia on collection care.
The symposium marks the culmination of the Tate’s five-year research project to develop for the commercial market a low-oxygen enclosure for works on paper. According to Pip Laurenson, the head of collection care research at the Tate, the institution’s research on microfading and anoxic environments has produced some surprising results. For example, a group of Francis Bacon
ballpoint-pen drawings and 20th-century pastels by Vuillard from the Tate’s collection, while still light-sensitive, are more durable than originally thought.“It seems that, despite real questions about the relationship between real-time fade rates and microfading, we are on the cusp of a sea change in the way we think about lighting and light-sensitivity of works of art, and this could have a profound impact on how we manage collections,” said Laurenson.Other institutions are also exploring anoxic environments, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which used oxygen-free frames for its six-day display in January of autochromes by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Bertrand Lavédrine, the director of the CRCC, recently told The Art Newspaper that he would like to develop low-cost anoxic frames for collectors

.2. Laetoli, Kenya  - Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool has published a study of australopithecus afarensis early footprints using three dimensional laser scans to confirm that the feet were anatomically modern. This methodology analyzed how force was transmitted by the foot to the ground confirming that the big toe and arch functioned in a very similar manner to the  transmission of force by a modern foot.

3. Cameroon - The underground petroleum pipeline from Chad to the Atlanti port of Kribi has had an unexpected benefit. The laying of the 600 mile pipe has uncovered nearly 500 previously unknown archaeological sites . The excitement created by the discoveries have enabled the archaeological community to convince some overnments of the importance of reserving cultural heritage.

4. Google Earth has been used by David Kennedy to search and find archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia on his computer from the comfort of his office in at the University of Western Australia in Perth.  Kennedy, who has located 1,977 sites that possibly date from 4000 - 1000 BC, believes there could be nearly million sites across the Arabian Penninsula. Kennedy published a paper with Dr. Michael Bishop in the Journal of Archaeological Science. What the world Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world will do with the data is anyone's guess.

Museum Jobs Coming and Going October 2011

1. CHICAGO, IL.- Tom Pritzker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, announced today that Douglas Druick has been selected as the new President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago . Druick, the chair of two of the museum's eleven curatorial departments, is an internationally recognized scholar and curator who has been serving as the acting president and director of the museum since the departure of James Cuno in June 2011. Druick has been with the Art Institute for 26 years, and his appointment is effective immediately. "Douglas is one of the leading curators in the world, and his contributions over more than two decades have been immeasurably important to the development and presentations of the collections as well as the exhibitions at the museum," said Pritzker of the appointment. "As we looked for a new director, the search committee kept returning to Douglas' experience, intellect, and vision for the museum." Pritzker went on to note that: "Many curators from the Art Institute have become directors at other museums and cultural organizations. To me, this reflects the strength of our organization. I could not be more pleased that the Art Institute itself is now benefiting directly from the breadth and depth of experience that only an institution of this size and stature can provide." "It is an honor to be selected as the Art Institute's next director," said Druick. "It is especially meaningful to me as it has been my professional home for more than 25 years. I am excited and eager to immerse myself in this role and become even more deeply involved with the museum and its work. I have served this institution for more than two decades because I have the greatest respect for it and believe it to be one of the finest museums in the world. To now be asked to lead the Art Institute is a great privilege."

2. St. Louis ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Board of Trustees of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts today announced its unanimous decision to appoint Kristina Van Dyke as Director, following an intensive international search. Ms. Van Dyke, currently the Curator for Collections and Research at
The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, will begin working full-time at the Foundation on November 7. Joining the Pulitzer as it prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, she will work closely with Trustees and staff to oversee the exhibitions program, as well as other scholarly, artistic and community-related programming, including the contemporary chamber music series. Ms. Van
Dyke succeeds Matthias Waschek, who served as Director of the Foundation for more than seven years. “We are extraordinarily fortunate that Kristina Van Dyke will lead the Foundation in the next phase of its development,” said Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Founder of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “She brings to the Pulitzer a rare combination of curatorial acumen, intellectual curiosity and vitality, dedication to education and community service and a true passion for art and its transformative power. Her past installations have shown a sensitivity to the works of art and how they relate to the space in which they are viewed, which is integral to the experience of the Pulitzer’s installations of art in the Tadao Ando-designed building.” “It is an honor to have been selected as the new Director of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts,” Ms. Van Dyke said. “Coming from an institution that shares much of the Pulitzer’s philosophy and values, including a commitment to creating a highly personal and spiritual experience with art and to taking
creative risks that advance museum practice and scholarship, I identify strongly with the Foundation’s dual role as an art sanctuary and a laboratory of innovative thinking. I am excited about the path-breaking work the Pulitzer is doing, from its multi-sensory artistic program to its unique approach to
social and community engagement. With the support and collaboration of Emily Pulitzer, the staff and Trustees, I look forward to building on the Foundation’s remarkable achievements as it moves into its next decade.”

3. JULY 11, 2011, FORT WORTH, TX—The Kimbell Art Museum announced today that George T. M. Shackelford will join the staff as senior deputy director in early 2012. “I’m thrilled to welcome George to the Kimbell,” commented Eric M. Lee, the Museum’s director. “He is one of the most brilliant and talented curators in the field today. As the Kimbell expands with its RenzoPiano
building project, George will play a crucial role in shaping the Museum’s future.”In response to accepting the position, Shackelford remarked, “I have loved the Kimbell since I first visited it 25 years ago. It’s one of the most beautiful museums in the world, and I am excited and honored to be joining its staff at this momentous time in its history. I look forward to becoming part of the Kimbell’s family, in Fort Worth, in Texas, and around the globe.” Shackelford is currently chair of the art of Europe at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA),Boston, a position he has held since 1999, and was additionally named the Arthur K. SolomonCurator of Modern Art in 2004. He joined the MFA in January 1996 as curator of European paintings. Shackelford is a leading scholar of French art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Books October 2011

1. Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art. -

The Thomas Crown Affair meets The Devil in the White City in this fast-paced, character-driven story that breaks open the secrets of international art theft A major work of investigative journalism, Hot Art is also Joshua Knelman's tale of the young reporter chasing a story idea that turns out to be a globe-trotting mystery, filled with cunning and eccentric characters: art thieves who threaten and then befriend him, gallery owners who avoid him, FBI agents and senior detectives who tolerate him, and art lawyers who embrace him in their ongoing fight to sound the alarm about the disturbing secrets of art dealership vis a vis the black market and how it is exploding around the world, unchecked and
unregulated.Knelman befriends the slippery Paul, a skilled art thief, and Donald Hrycyk, who works on a shoestring budget in downtown L.A. to recover stolen art. Through alternating chapters focusing on Paul and Don, the story of a thief and a detective unfolds, in the process revealing the dramatic rise of international art theft. And in a surprise ending, Knelman learns that corruption can appear
in the unlikeliest places.

2. Art Theft Central - A few months ago, I received a review copy of Crimes Against Art: International Art and Cultural Heritage Law (Toronto: Carswell, 2010) by Toronto-based lawyer Bonnie Czegledi. While the book's title implies that it might be an introductory text about art law, it actually reads like many generic art crime works. It dedicates many pages to providing limited synopses of popular art theft and forgery stories including the 1911 theft of the
"Mona Lisa", the 1961 theft of Goya's "Duke of Wellington", and the John Drewe and John Myatt forgery ring. A bibliography of selected art crime works would be more helpful to readers because it would provide students of art law with sources that contain the more detailed analyses and investigations related to the "Contemporary Art Heists and Unsolved Mysteries" and "Cases of
International Intrigue" discussed. There are a few relatively minor factual errors related to art theft and art crime in the text. For example, there is the inclusion of the unconfirmed and relatively shaky report that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta attempted to sell looted Afghan antiquities to a German archaeologist. Also, Czegledi provides no insights related to the vagaries of art valuation that I have examined in-depth here, and that I would expect an art crime textbook, or handbook, to discuss. Czegledi quotes the value of art stolen by French thief Stephane Breitwieser as $1.4 billion, but this figure and the quantity of art that he stole was determined to be less than what was originally published in the media's accounts.Crimes Against Art's redeeming value is its inclusion of an explanation of how art theft, fakes and forgeries, antiquities looting, wartime plunder, and other art crimes affect the Canadian art world. In a few chapters, Czegledi discusses the "Canadian perspective" as she terms it, and provides recommendations for how the country can respect its commitment to protecting and preserving cultural heritage. An invaluable part of the book is its four appendices that contain the entire text of international treaties, conventions, agreements, legislation, and museum policies and codes of ethics. Having so many of significant documents collected in one source makes this text a handy reference tool for any art crime bookshelf.

Legal Issues - October 2011

If anyone has any doubt why California is the economic mess that it is, this story should answer the question

Los Angeles Copyright laws - The Art Newspaper
Graffiti is on the rise in Los Angeles generally. According to a report in The New York Times, the city removed 35.4 million sq. ft of graffiti during the financial year ending 30 June 2011—a jump of 8.2% from last year. But the
city’s budget to remove graffiti was slashed in 2011 by 6.5% to $6.6m.While agencies such as Caltrans spend $2.5m to $2.7m each year removing graffiti from Los Angeles’ freeways, tagging on murals cannot be removed for fear of artists invoking copyright laws, particularly the Visual Artists Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act, which forbid the defacing or destruction of public art without the permission of the artist. “There are two laws—one state and one federal—that specifically mandate that once an artist creates a piece, no one but the artist is allowed to touch it,” says Vincent Moreno from Caltrans District 7, which serves Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The one exception is if the tag contains profanity or obscenity in which case Caltrans will paint over it. Caltrans has been threatened with lawsuits by artists for painting over murals, “but we’ve worked out some of those problems”, says Moreno. Artists' copyright lawsuits have proved costly in the past—in 2008, the US government and contractors had to pay Kent Twitchell $1.1m after his famed Monument to Ed Ruscha, painted on the side of a building owned by the US Department of Labor, was painted over while the building was undergoing repairs. The artist was not given the 90-day notice as required by law should the owner of a building decide to paint over a mural.

2. .Social media plays an important part in the Park West case. In Park W. Galleries, Inc. v. Hochman, the defendant filed a counter-claim against the plaintiff-art gallery, alleging that an individual, acting on behalf of the gallery, posted defamatory statements about the gallery on his blog.  In response, the art gallery argued that there was no evidence to show that the individuals who made the statements were acting on the gallery’s behalf.  The gallery’s CEO testified that individual was not and had never been an agent or employee of the gallery and that the gallery had never authorized the individual to speak on its behalf. The test to determine whether there is an agency relationship such that an entity may be held liable for an individual’s actions or statements is whether the principal has a right to control the actions of the agent.  Under Michigan law, if there is any evidence to support the existence of an agency relationship, the question cannot be decided by the court but, instead, must be presented to the jury.
 The court determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the existence of an agency relationship between one of the individuals when he made the allegedly defamatory statement.  The evidence cited by the court was a posting on the individual’s LinkedIn profile, on which he had identified himself as a “Consultant/Writer at Park West Gallery.”  In the “Experience”
section of his profile, his profile included experience as a “Public Relations/Blogger/Writer” for the gallery.  And, according to the gallery’s website, the individual was editing a book to celebrate the gallery’s 40th anniversary. Based on this evidence, the court concluded that the individual could have been speaking on behalf at the behest of the gallery when he posted the allegedly defamatory statements on his blog. Tune in Friday to find out what you should do when you find a former employee’s LinkedIn account has wrong information about her time with your
3. Conspiracy [Count] ... Defendants [Park West Galleries, et. al.] position is without merit. First, Royal Caribbean Cruises -- remains a party to this litigation, as the Court has denied its summary disposition motion contemporaneously with this ruling. Second, since Royal Caribbean remains a
party, there is nothing to prevent Plaintiffs from alleging that the individual Defendants [Scaglione, Shapiro, Molina] conspired not only with their own employer [Park West Galleries], but also with Royal Caribbean. Thus, the individual Defendants are not entitled to summary disposition on that basis. --The Honorable Nanci J. Grant, Judge of the Oakland County Circuit Court--Order and O pinion, dated 26 September 2011.

NAGPRA Changes Effective May 14, 2011

DATES: This rule is effective May 14, 2010.      Federal rulemaking portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Mail or hand delivery: Sherry Hutt, Manager, National NAGPRA Program, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street, NW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sherry Hutt, Manager, National NAGPRA Program, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street, NW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005, Telephone: (202) 354-1479, Fax: (202) 371-5197. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (the Act) addresses the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to certain Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony. Among other things, the Act: --Established the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee, composed of representatives from museum and scientific organizations and from Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (the Review Committee) to monitor and review inventory, identification, and repatriation activities. --Required the Review Committee to consult with the Secretary of the Interior in developing regulations to implement the Act. --Charged the Review Committee with compiling an inventory of culturally unidentifiable human remains in museums or Federal agencies and recommending actions for disposition of these remains.    
In brief, this rule pertains to those human remains, in collections, determined by museums and Federal agencies to be Native American, but for whom no relationship of shared group identity can be reasonably traced, historically or prehistorically, between a present day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and an identifiable earlier group. These individuals are listed on inventories as culturally unidentifiable Native American human remains. The rule requires consultation on the culturally unidentifiable human remains by the museum or Federal agency with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations whose tribal lands or aboriginal occupancy areas are in the area where the remains were removed. If cultural affiliation still cannot be determined and repatriation achieved, then the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization may request disposition of the remains. The museum or Federal agency would then publish a notice and transfer control to the tribe, without first being required to appear before the Review Committee to seek a recommendation for disposition approval from the Secretary of the Interior. Disposition requests, which do not meet the parameters of the rule, would still require approval from the Secretary, who may request a recommendation from the Review Committee. Therefore, the Department is issuing this final rule to be effective May 14, 2010. Summary of Comments The proposed rule to specify procedures for the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains in the possession or control of museums or Federal agencies was published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2007 (72 FR 58582). Public comment was invited for a 90-day period, ending on January 14, 2008. The proposed rule was also posted on the National NAGPRA Program Web site. The Review Committee commented on the proposed rule at its January 8, 2008 public teleconference. In addition, 138 written comments were received during the comment period, representing 51 Indian tribes, 19 Indian organizations, 30 museums, 12 museum or scientific organizations, 3 Federal entities, 15 members of the public, and the Review Committee. Comments addressed all sections of the proposed rule. All comments were fully considered when revising the proposed rule as a final rulemaking.

Stolen Art October 2011

1. PARIS - Los Angeles Times October 9, 2011, 8:11 p.m.
Reporting from Paris— A man suspected of hiding precious artwork stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art last year claims that in a panic, he
threw the paintings into the garbage. Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Matisse and Leger paintings stolen in May 2010, and worth about $134 million, may have
been dumped in a garbage bin on a Paris street and destroyed with the rest of that day's trash, according to testimony by one of three suspects connected to the theft. The suspect, a 34-
year-old watch repairman, was identified only as Jonathan B. by the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche. The paper broke the detailed story on the investigation Sunday.
The other suspects include a 56-year-old antique shop owner, who is accused of commissioning the break-in, and a 43-year-old Serb with the nickname "Spiderman," for allegedly scaling the walls of upscale Paris apartment buildings in search of pricey artwork and other valuables. The Serb is suspected of making off with the five paintings in the early morning of May 20, 2010. According to the Journal report, he said after being detained by police that once inside the museum he intended to take only one painting, by Fernand Leger, "Still Life With Candlestick." But the museum's
alarm didn't sound when the art was removed from the wall, so he wandered around the national museum for more than an hour, helping himself to four
more masterpieces, before driving away in a car parked nearby. Despite several security cameras, three night watchmen didn't notice the masked intruder.
The incident spurred French museums to reevaluate their security systems, amid an uproar after the revelation that the alarm had been out of order for
more than a month before the theft.The case started to crack when the Serb and the antique shop owner were detained by France's special police bandit brigade in May in connection with
other suspected crimes. The Associated Press reported that a third suspect, Jonathan B., was also questioned, but later released. After that brush with authorities he reportedly panicked and trashed the
irreplaceable works of art, Picasso's "Dove With Green Peas," Matisse's "Pastoral," Braque's "The Olive Tree Near Estaque," Modigliani's "Woman With a Fan" and the Leger still life.
The shop owner denies ordering the theft but reportedly admitted that the stolen works were delivered to him, and that he gave them to Jonathan B., whom French reports describe as an expert Parisian watch repairman. The three were questioned and then arrested in mid-September in connection with the museum theft. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that the paintings may still be recovered.

2. Washington Post - Stolen Confederate regimental flag found By Linda Wheeler The original, battle-worn flag of the 14th Louisiana Infantry Regiment that was stolen from a New Orleans museum 30 years ago will soon be heading home. The flag was found at the home of a Civil War collector in Caroline County, Va., after a tipster’s information reached the FBI's Art Crime Team. According to
the FBI, the man had purchased it in 2004 not knowing it was stolen, and cooperated fully with agents when they contacted him. Agents from the Fredericksburg office of the FBI yesterday handed the
framed flag over to officials at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond who will see that the fragile flag gets back to the Louisiana's Civil War Museum at Confederate Hall in New Orleans.
During the war, the flag was flown in the Virginia battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsyvania Comurthouse, North Anna and Winchester, and other places. The FBI’s national art crime team was formed in 2004 and has recovered more than 2,600 items valued at over $142 million, according to its website . The FBI maintains a national stolen art file online.

3. HOUSTON, TX.- After more than two decades in Houston, the beloved Byzantine frescoes will go back to Cyprus in 2012. While this moment is bittersweet, the story of these frescoes—from their rescue, to their long-term loan to the Menil, and now to their return—very much reflects the essence of the Menil Collection, its focus on the aesthetic and the spiritual, and our responsible stewardship of works from other nations and cultures. In 1983, Dominique de Menil, founder of the Menil Collection, was presented with an extraordinary prospect: to acquire two 13th century frescoes from Cyprus. Mrs. de Menil was struck by their beauty and understood immediately their art historical significance. However, after further research Mrs. de Menil learned that the frescoes had been stolen from their home in a small votive chapel in Lysi, Cyprus. That knowledge led to an act of extraordinary generosity—in fact, a series of generous actions that eventually engaged many other people. First, the frescoes were acquired by the Menil Collection on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus. Then, the Menil Foundation supervised the restoration of the frescoes, which had been cut into more than 30 pieces when they were stolen. In gratitude, the Church lent the frescoes to the Menil on a long-term basis, for presentation in a consecrated chapel in Houston. The Byzantine Fresco Chapel opened to the public in 1997, with support for its construction provided by donors in Houston and across the country. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have seen the frescoes and experienced the majesty of Cypriot Byzantine art and religion. Moreover, the
Menil is exploring how best to use it in the future, in ways that carry forward the museum's mission.

4. BALTIMORE (AP).- A presidential historian charged with conspiring to steal documents from U.S. archives — including papers signed by Abraham Lincoln — is seeking court permission to sell an Andy Warhol print, other artworks and inaugural medals to cover his living expenses. Barry Landau, 63, needs cash to pay the $2,700 rent on his New York City apartment, health insurance, food and other expenses, according to a motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court by attorney Andrew White. Landau's terms of release require the court's permission before he can sell or dispose of any assets. Prosecutors expect to file a response to Landau's request soon, but had no immediate comment on the request, U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Marcia Murphy said Monday. Landau and his 24-year-old assistant, Jason Savedoff, are charged with
stealing valuable historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society and conspiring to steal documents from other archives. Both have pleaded not guilty. About 60 of the documents involved in the case were from the Maryland Historical Society, including papers signed by Lincoln worth $300,000 and presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs worth $500,000. Other documents were from the Connecticut Historical Society, Vassar College and the National Archives, according to prosecutors. The men were indicted by a federal grand jury in late July. State prosecutors elected to not pursue theft charges the pair faced in Maryland after they were indicted in federal court. Landau has been allowed to return to his Manhattan apartment with GPS monitoring. Savedoff, who surrendered his American and Canadian passports, was released on $250,000 cash bail to his mother's custody and is staying in a Baltimore-area apartment. White writes in the motion filed last week that Landau may not have much cash to pay his living expenses, but does have items of value that can be sold. "These items were not seized by the FBI in the multiple searches of the defendant's apartment and are unquestionably not related to the charges now
pending in this case," White said. "The defendant seeks to liquidate these items because he is now without funds necessary to pay his everyday expenses." The attorney said the Warhol print "Liz," which depicts the late actress Elizabeth Taylor and was a gift from the artist, is the only piece of significant value that Landau is seeking to sell. An expert has valued it at $40,000 to $60,000, he said. Other items include artworks by Salvador Dali, Francesco Scavullo, Victor Vaserely and LeRoy Neiman, with the Scavullo and Vasarely works each worth about $5,000, White added. The other items Landau is seeking to sell include presidential inaugural medals he has collected since 1961 and political china such as commemorative plates and figurines that were mostly gifts he received since the 1960s. He also seeks permission to sell coin sets, glass vases he inherited from his mother, jewelry and a collection of letters, photographs and books addressed and inscribed to Landau from political, theatrical and Hollywood figures. White suggests that a New York attorney who has been helping with the case handle most of the sales and Christie's auction house handle the sale of the Warhol "Liz" print through a private commission sale or a commissioned
auction. Prosecutors have alleged that the historian used different routines to distract librarians and had sport jackets and overcoats altered to allow him to stash documents inside large pockets. They allege that the men had about 80 documents when they were arrested in the historical society's library in Baltimore in July. Searches of Landau's apartment in July turned up thousands of documents. Prosecutors said in early August that National Archives workers had already determined that 200 documents belong to institutions, including Swarthmore College, the Smithsonian Institution, Yale University, Columbia University, the New York Public Library, Vassar College, Cambridge University, the University of Vermont and the Library of Congress.

5. ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) - Looters stormed Ivory Coast's national museum during the country's bloody political crisis earlier this year, plundering nearly $8.5 million worth of art including the institution's entire gold collection. Five months later, the museum's gates still open and close at the posted hours, but empty display cases gather dust. A lone set of elephant tusks sits in the dark in the museum's main exposition room. And staff member Oumar Gbane now spends his days making a handwritten inventory of what was stolen since his computer was among the items taken. "No tourists can come here. There is nothing to see," he laments. The pillage was the first in the museum's 70-year history. Doran Ross, former director of the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, says the Abidjan museum used to be "one of the best maintained in Africa." Student groups and tourists once filled the museum's halls to view the corpse-like Senoufo statues depicting armless ghosts of ancestors and the dark
wooden Baoule masks with elongated eyes and narrow mouths.They saw delicate Akan pendants abstractly depicting animals in shiny gold, sacred Yohoure masks of antelopes with a human faces, and Baoule chest ornaments made of beads and golden disks etched with images of fish and crocodiles.Ivorian artist and author Veronique Tadjo, who resides in South Africa, says the collection reflected "the various areas (of the country) that now need to reconcile.""Young people will be deprived of these treasures that are part of our identity- what makes us proud, what makes us a nation," Tadjo says. Museum director Silvie Memel Kassi says the thieves knew which pieces to take: The 17th century gold was stolen but less valuable pieces were not even touched. In normal times, the museum property seems cut off from the billowing
exhaust fumes and endless blocks of high rises outside. Stepping inside the museum walls, one enters a verdant place where tropical hardwoods, palm and banana trees flourish undisturbed.
During the violence, snipers made the property their own sanctuary, using the rooftop of the museum to stage attacks. Many of the bullet-shattered windows in towers across the street have not been replaced yet. When it rains, water leaks through bullet holes in the building's rusted metal roof. In November, former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office following a contested election, and five months later the country was on the brink of civil war. Members of the military, militia men and residents picked up arms in Abidjan. On March 30, the ongoing violence that followed the election intensified around
the museum, Gbane says. Museum workers went home not knowing they wouldn't return for weeks. Like most residents of the city, they locked themselves inside their homes, unable to leave except for perilous trips to find food. No one was there to guard the museum. It was not a safe place to be, situated between the military headquarters and government buildings. When Gbane returned on April 18, he found the thick cement walls were punctured on the front of the building and there was a pile of rubble on the museum's entrance. After the looting Kassi contacted Interpol, and Ivorian customs officials have been ordered to watch for the plundered objects, Kassi says. But Ivory Coast's borders are porous and the pieces could be easily smuggled into neighboring countries without detection. Museum pillages have been a byproduct of war for centuries. In 2003, looters in Iraq plundered 15,000 priceless artifacts that dated from the Stone Age and Babylon to the Assyrians. Afghanistan's museums have been systematically stripped of ancient artifacts for decades. Often stolen art is only discovered when the thieves try to sell the pieces to museums or art collectors, says Ross, the art historian. One danger is the gold could be melted down and disguised. Kassi thinks the thieves are too smart to do such a thing. "It doesn't have the same value. They know," she says. Ross says the gold itself has low karat values and would not even be worth much melted down.
"The real value of the work is the artistic quality," he says. "This is a major loss, not just for Ivory Coast or Africa but for a much larger world," says Ross.

6. Art Theft Central  Cairo - The Curse of the Pharaohs
Posted: 22 Sep 2011 11:01 AM PDT
While Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities police continue to break up illicit antiquities smuggling rings and while its Retrieved Antiquities Department at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) continues to recover objects from foreign states, it appears that the SCA is still experiencing personnel issues since former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass's protracted departure this past summer. Ahram Online reports that Hawass's successor, Mohamed Abdel Fatah, has resigned due to limited authority and inability to put into effect any of his decisions without the approval of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. According to another Ahram Online article, demonstrators in front of the SCA premises continue to protest asking "for the council to be returned to being the Ministry of State for Antiquities, for salary raises, and the appointment of new graduate archaeologists." As Secretary General of the SCA from 2002-2010 Zahi Hawass had extensive control over the preservation, protection, conservation, and recovery of Egyptian cultural heritage. It has been said by a few sources that Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud had no decision making power when he served as interm Secretary General before Fatah's appointment. Why has Fatah not received power as broad as Hawass's? Certainly, in light of the past few decades of Mubarak rule, the Egyptian government and people must be fearful of granting such sweeping power to any single official. However, for how long will this national paranoia delay or prevent recovery programs, foreign archaeological excavation missions, and traveling exhibitions?

7. U.S. Attorney’s Office September 15, 2011
Central District of California(213) 894-2434
FBI - LOS ANGELES—A Florida man was arrested this morning pursuant to a federal indictment that alleges he sold paintings stolen from a Los Angeles art gallery, and that he had sold forged artworks to a collector with false claims that they had been painted by esteemed artists. Matthew Taylor, 43, of Vero Beach, Florida, was arrested without incident this morning by special agents with the FBI. Taylor, who formerly worked as an art dealer, is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida. A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Taylor last week on seven felony charges related to art theft and a long-running fraud that targeted a Los Angeles art collector. The indictment charges Taylor with defrauding the art collector victim out of millions of dollars by selling him forged art works. Taylor allegedly sold the collector more than 100 paintings—including paintings that he falsely claimed were by artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and
Mark Rothko—for a total of more than $2 million. The indictment alleges that Taylor altered paintings from unknown artists to make them appear to be the products of famous artists, and then sold the bogus artwork to the victim at prices exponentially higher than their actual worth. To conceal the true nature of the paintings, Taylor allegedly put forged on the paintings and painted over or otherwise concealed signatures from the actual artists. The indictment also alleges that Taylor created and put onto the paintings fake labels which falsely represented that the artworks were once part of prestigious art collections at famous museums, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in the New York and the Guggenheim Museum. Regarding the alleged art heists, the indictment accuses Taylor of stealing a Granville Redmond painting called “Seascape at Twilight” from a gallery in Los Angeles. Taylor later sold that painting to a different gallery for $85,000, falsely claiming that his mother had owned it for several years. The indictment
also alleges that Taylor stole a separate artwork—a painting by Lucien Frank titled “Park Scene, Paris”—from the same gallery in Los Angeles. Taylor was seen several years later in possession of the stolen Lucien Frank painting at a gallery in Vero Beach. The indictment further alleges that Taylor laundered and transferred across state lines some of the proceeds from his fraud on the collector victim specifically, $105,000 that Taylor had taken from the victim by selling him  four forged paintings in September 2006. An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court. The indictment charges Taylor with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of  money laundering, one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen property. The mail fraud charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, and the remaining counts each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years.
Therefore, if he is convicted of all seven counts in the indictment, Taylor faces a maximum possible sentence of 100 years in federal prison. Based on evidence collected throughout this case, investigators believe there are additional victims of art fraud related to Taylor’s activities. Individuals who purchased art from Taylor and believe they may have been defrauded should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles at (310) 477-6565 or the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail at (213) 486-6940.
The ongoing investigation into Taylor is being conducted by the FBI’s Art Crime Team, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail, and IRS - Criminal Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney James A. Bowman
 Major Frauds Section
 (213) 894-2213
Assistant United States Attorney Heather C. Gorman
 General Crimes Section
 (213) 894-0334

Pre-columbian Mexico October 2011

1.  MEXICO CITY (AP)  Archaeologists found a round Aztec ceremonial platform studded with stone carvings of serpent heads at Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruin, raising hopes in the search for an emperor's tomb, authorities said Thursday. No Aztec ruler's tomb has ever been located and researchers have been on a five-year quest to find a royal tomb in the area of the Templo Mayor, a
complex of two huge pyramids and numerous smaller structures that contained the ceremonial and spiritual heart of the pre-Hispanic Aztec empire. Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology said the stone platform is about 15 yards (meters) in diameter and probably built around A.D. 1469. The site lies in downtown Mexico City, which was built by Spanish conquerors atop the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. "The historical records say that the rulers were cremated at the foot of the Templo Mayor, and it is believed to be on this same structure — the 'cuauhxicalco' — that the rulers were cremated," said archaeologist Raul Barrera. "That is what the historical sources say," he said, referring to accounts written by Roman Catholic priests who accompanied the Spanish soldiers in the 1521 conquest. "Of course, now we have to find archaeological evidence to corroborate that." He said the platform, which is still being unearthed, was gradually uncovered over the preceding months. It is covered with at least 19 serpent heads, each about a half-yard (meter) long. Barrera said accounts from the 1500s suggested the platform was also used in a colorful ceremony in which an Aztec priest would descend from the nearby pyramid with a snake made of paper and burn it on the platform. Records indicate there were a total of five such platforms in the temple complex. One was found several years ago, but that platform was farther from the ritually important spot at the foot of the pyramid, where the most recent finding was made. In 1997, archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar on a site very close to where the latest stone platform was found detected possible underground
chambers that they believed at the time might contain the remains of Emperor Ahuizotl, who ruled the Aztecs when Columbus landed in the New World. Subsequent excavations turned up a sort of stairway leading down and lots of ritual offerings of shells, animal bones and pots, but no tomb. Archaeologists agree any such find would be very significant. "This would be quite an important find for Aztec archaeology," said Michael Smith, an archaeologist at Arizona State University who is not connected to the dig. "It would be tremendously important because it would be direct information about kingship, burial and the empire that is difficult to come by otherwise." He says the find shows that archaeologists are inching closer and closer to finding an Aztec royal tomb."

2.   MEXICO CITY.- Five footprints from human feet, calculated to be between 4,500 and 25,000 years old, were discovered in the Sierra Tarahumara, in Chihuahua. Specialists said that the foot prints could belong to the first men who lived in this region that is today known as northern Mexico.
These are the first human footprints that have been found in Chihuahua and once their age has been found out, they will be added to the few footprints from the first people that lived in the American continent that are preserved in Mexico, particularly in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila and in a ranch in Sonora. The footprints correspond to three adults and a child that probably lived in the caves that are located in the sierra, in the Valle de Ahuatos, eight kilometers from the town of Creel, in Chihuahua.
According to morphoscopic analysis, footprint 1, by its longitude of 26 centimeters, corresponds to the right foot of a male adult, while footprint number 2 belongs to the left foot of another adult, but it being the less defined it has been difficult to identify the sex of the person that made it. Footprint
number 3 was made by an infant 3 or 4 years old and corresponds to the right foot with a longitude of 17 centimeters. Footprints 4 and 5 are from another adult and represent the only pair that corresponds to the same person, which was found two meters away from footprint 1; the fohe left foot print (footprint 4) has a longitude of 23.7 centimeters, while the right (footprint 5) measures 24.5 centimeters, these footprints are significant as they have six toes, which may be due a malformation. Anthropologist José Concepción Jiménez said that the finding of the human footprints was made by an email that a citizen from Chihuahua sent to the Seminario del Hombre Temprano in Mexico, telling about the existence of ancient human fooprints in the Valle de Ahuatos, in the municipality of
Bocoyna. “We explored the surface to verify the information and we couldn´t find the
footprints, it was very hard to find them because they are not easy to identify.

The Art Market - October 2011

Editor note: Dealers and auction houses are spinning but the world economy slowdown has impacted even the very wealthy who have less cash to buy art. In China there are funds that still see art as an investment; however, many gallery owners are being cautious in their plans to cater to this market. In short after reading all of this it's clear that nobody really knows where art is going for the next few years. There are certainly forces that see the upcoming months as an opportunity and not a disaster.

1. London. Once again, Frieze Art Fair opens its tent amid global economic uncertainty. The contemporary art fair faces the now familiar pressure of being the market’s first test of health following a summer of discontent. While it isn’t quite the dramatic downturn of 2008, the risk of recession in Europe and a serious slump in the US are unappealing realities. And now there’s a new
problem: a slowdown in China, the country that has been powering the global economy—and propping up confidence in the art market—for the past few years. “Evidence is building [that] the art market could pause… [Wall] Street is discussing a China hard landing,” says David Schick, a market analyst with the US investment bank Stifel Nicolaus.
Cooling the craze
So, what now? The dealers congregating in the tent this week are keeping their chins up. Those with plans in Asia say that these are still on track (although little has progressed). “It’s a new economy that we’re all trying to understand,” says David Maupin of Lehmann Maupin gallery, which is planning a pop-up space in Singapore. Those in China say that, while confidence is still high, a cooling of the contemporary craze may not be such a bad thing. “People don’t want to slow it down, but it’s arguably moving too fast,” says Lu Jie of Beijing’s Long March Space (E20). “There are too many people who think of art just as an investment,” he says (there are believed to be nearly 40 art investment funds in China).Others accept that times are tough, but say China should be approached with a long-term game-plan. “The reality is more exciting than the hype. There is huge potential but it is going to take time and effort to build relationships,” says Magnus Renfrew, the director of Art HK. David Roberts, the property developer and ­contemporary art collector, says: “While China may take a dip in the short term, it will potentially be a huge market in the future. [The galleries opening in Hong Kong] are shrewd operators.”The art economist Clare McAndrew can also see advantages of a slowdown in
China. “The government will be looking to get people to spend more to help sustain growth. There is only a very small handful of rich Chinese buying art —but bring on the new middle class,” she says.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world remains the immediate cause for concern. “We have a global outlook but our footprint is in the US, so we’re more worried about that economy,” says Courtney Plummer of Lehmann Maupin. ArtTactic’s latest market confidence report, released on Monday, showed a
55% fall in confidence since June and a negative outlook for the US and European contemporary art markets for the first time since autumn 2009. But, says Plummer, “the great thing is that Frieze kick-starts the season”.Amanda Sharp, co-director of Frieze, said yesterday: “We have been blessed
with good weather and there are great shows in the museums, so it feels like the right ingredients are in place.” With art worth an estimated £225m on sale at the fair and a potential total of £110m coming to auction in London this week, many others are hoping the same.
2. Art market jitters over financial turmoil
Nervous investors have rushed to safety in gold and the Swiss franc but art looks more volatile
By Melanie Gerlis | From issue 227, September 2011 Published online 12 Sep 11 (News)
• Is art still a safe bet for investors?
 Fears are growing about the potential impact of this summer’s renewed global economic turmoil on the art market. The 2008 financial crisis sharply hit art sales across all sectors, but the market bounced back quicker than many others, particularly for blue-chip works. At issue now are two ­diverging
premises: that art is a luxury brand, as sensitive to stock markets as high-end fashion and first-class flights (this is the view of those looking at the art market from the outside); or that it represents a safe investment, sought after in troubled times much like gold and the Swiss franc (the view of those with more vested interests). Dark clouds Since art market professionals went on their summer break, the widening European sovereign debt crises and Standard & Poor’s downgraded opinion of the US debt triggered fears of a “double dip” recession, which saw stock  markets fall worldwide.The wealthy, especially in cities such as London and New York which rely heavily on their ­financial centres, all now have less to spend. The hedge fund SAC Capital, run by the art collector Steve Cohen, was down 4% for the first week of August alone. In the luxury goods sector in Europe, share prices are down ­between 15% and 30%. “We see significant potential downside if the crisis mimics 2008,” said
Julian Easthope, a research analyst at Barclays Capital in London. He looks closely at stocks, including France’s PPR, founded by Christie’s owner François Pinault.
Sotheby’s stock has certainly felt the pinch: since 7 July, it has lost 37% of its value (falling from $47.8 to under $30, as we went to press), wiping over $1.2 billion off the value of the company. This reduces the money available to it at a time when competition with Christie’s is already eating into its profits. In the fight for the best works, both auction houses need to offer increasingly attractive terms to consignors, which is reducing Sotheby’s profit ­margins (see p59).Safe as houses?
Others say that some of the lessons learned since the 2008 ­financial crisis are reasons to be more confident in the art market. “There was much more of a shock when the banks started collapsing. Then the [art] market reconfigured as the rain washed out some of the speculators and short-term engagers,” said art advisor Allan Schwartzman. “What has been validated in the last few rounds of uncertainty is that art is a genuine form of capital,” he added, comparing it to traditionally safer investments such as gold. This, he said, is reinforced by the near-zero interest rates in the US.In a reaction to the financial crises, gold has hit a new record price, nearing $1,830 an ounce as we went to press, with silver and other precious metals up in concert. The Swiss franc, seen as one of the most reliable currencies,
reached an exchange rate high of $1.28 and nearly equalled the ­euro for the first time. All agree, however, that one key factor underpinning the ­potential health of the art market is whether or not the emerging economies, such as China, could pick up any slack should the more traditional markets falter.
Bets on China. The major commercial players are certainly banking on the potential: Sotheby’s chief executive Bill Ruprecht said on the auction house’s most recent conference call to Wall Street analysts that it was cutting back investment in Europe in favour of initiatives in China (see p59). White Cube has become the latest big-name western gallery to open in Hong Kong, its first overseas venture.
But on 9 August, the day after stock markets in Europe and the US collapsed, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell nearly 6% with other Asian stocks (most notably in South Korea). Many economic commentators are also concerned about China’s unsustainable trade surplus. “If there is a market dislocation as in 2008, even sectors of the art economy driven by relatively healthy economies such as China and Brazil could be impacted. But the emphasis is on the severity of a downturn,” said Artvest’s Michael Plummer.

3.Lacklustre mood at Sotheby’s - The Art Newspaper
Most lots sold for under or around low estimates By Melanie Gerlis | From Frieze daily edition, 14 Oct 11Published online 14 Oct 11 London. Credit must be given to Sotheby’s (and its fast-paced auctioneer  Oliver Barker) who managed to sell an uneven selection of works at last night’s
contemporary art sale.  The mood was lacklustre as most of the lots sold for under or around their low
estimates, after bidding from only one or two parties—but sometimes that is all  it takes.
One of the higher quality lots, Lucian Freud’s finely painted 1952 Boy’s Head portrait of his young neighbour Charlie Lumley, sold on its second bid for a hammer price of £2.8m, under its £3m-£4m estimate that dealers felt was “punchy”. Of the 47 lots on offer, 11 went unsold, a respectable sell through rate of 77%. The sale total was £17.8m (once premium was added), just below its £19.1m-
£26.6m pre-sale estimate.

4. LONDON (REUTERS).- Walk into the giant marquee in Regent's Park, London, venue of this year's Frieze Art Fair, and enter a parallel universe. Impeccably dressed men and women, and a healthy smattering of Bohemian types in garish trousers and expensive, thick-rimmed glasses, saunter down the aisles and between the stands of more than 170 exhibiting galleries. There the "new aristocracy" browses the cutting edge of contemporary art, from a grotesque Madonna and Child by the Chapman Brothers to a golf bag full of cement and a section of wooden fence hanging on a wall.
Elle Macpherson and designer Valentino joined commercial gallery A-listers like Jay Jopling in assessing what was hot and what was not at a VIP preview this week. The fair opened to the public on Thursday and runs until Sunday. Prices range widely, but generally works on show go for between five and seven figures, the sort of money most people spend on their house, often by way of a 25-year mortgage. Not so at Frieze, which has become a magnet for the world's biggest contemporary art collectors who think little of writing a check for a few hundred thousand dollars or more. The disconnect with the world outside, where markets are jittery and volatile, people fret over their jobs and countries are weighed down by crippling debt, is striking. Whether that disparity can last is the question on every gallery owner's lips. While there will always be ultra-wealthy buyers snapping up the rarest and finest works, supporting the million-plus market, there are concerns that
"lesser" art will fail to sell. The contemporary art market contracted sharply in late 2008 and early 2009 in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse before recovering strongly in 2010 and 2011.
Market surveys suggest confidence in all but the top lots -- viewed as an alternative investment at a time when so many markets look risky -- is evaporating fast, raising the prospect of another correction.
At Frieze, David Zwirner sold a Neo Rauch painting for $1.35 million, and the overall value of art on show is estimated at around $350 million, down from $375 million in 2010. At the nearby Pavilion of Art & Design, an offshoot of Frieze featuring mainly older works, the Van de Weghe Fine Art gallery sold an Alexander Calder for $1.5 million and Sladmore Gallery raised 500,000 pounds for a cast bronze by Rodin. But not all the signs are good. While fairs do not publicize their revenues, and most dealers keep their business to themselves, auction houses also hold a series of sales during Frieze
week which give some indication as to the strength of prices. Sotheby's had its main auction on Thursday evening followed by Christie's on Friday, but Phillips de Pury held its big sale on Wednesday and the results were described by one specialist art website as "tepid." The auction tally of 8.2 million pounds fell comfortably short of the pre-sale low estimate of 10.1 million (and high estimate of 14.6 million), and a third of the works on offer failed to sell. Jeff Koons' "Seal Walrus Trashcans" fetched 2.1 million pounds, at the bottom end of expectations, and Damien Hirst and Richard Prince were among the familiar names featuring in the top 10. "The sale showed there is still an appetite for good quality works from blue-chip artists," said Peter Sumner, head of contemporary sales, London Phillips de Pury & Company. Of course, many artists dismiss talk of markets and prices. In most cases they stand to gain little even if their works sell for millions at auction, and money, they argue, is not the point.
Some, however, actively engage in the concept of art as a commodity. The artistic partnership called Claire Fontaine has a work at Frieze which reads: "This neon sign was made by Vladimir Ustinov for the remuneration of one hundred and sixty-nine thousand rubles." For those less confident in their economic future, artist Michael Landy may have the answer with his outlandish "Credit Card Destroying Machine." (Editing by Steve Addison)