The Institute has been set up with the help of Shelby White and her late husband Leon Levy: Shelby White is the chairwoman of the Institute.
Perhaps what is so surprising is that the Institute's Director, Roger Bagnall, has chosen not to clarify his position on recently surfaced antiquities. Taylor writes:
Asked if the institute has a policy about publishing on or exhibiting unprovenanced artifacts, as some museums today do, Mr. Bagnall said he was "trying not to make any long-term policy decision now that doesn't have to be made," but he added that the issue would be addressed when the faculty was in place.He perhaps needs to see what the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) have to say on loans of "ancient art" and archaeological material.
Taylor also draws attention to one of the administrative staff at the Institute, Jennifer Chi who holds the position of Associate Director for Exhibitions and Public Programs. Surprisingly the Institute biography does not mention that "she was previously the curator of the Levy-White collection" (as Taylor helpfully identified her). (See my comments on Chi's Greek Bronze Vessels exhibition catalogue.)
Indeed Chi is the editor and a contributor of Collecting in Context: Papers in Memory of Leon Levy (forthcoming 2008). This is the volume that is reported to contain Conrad Stibbe's discussion of a Trebenishte-style archaic bronze krater in the Shelby White collection. And this is presumably the volute-krater that was (and is?) on loan to Houston - and for which the Houston curatorial staff seem unable to provide information about its history even though, apparently, there is nothing to hide. (And let us not forget that Shelby White has still to provide a list of the antiquities that she has returned to Italy.)
Bagnall needs to make his position on looted antiquities crystal clear so that there is no misunderstanding.