Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cuno: "the Getty has had complicated relationships with foreign governments"

James Cuno has reflected on his first working week at the Getty ("Getty Trust CEO James Cuno wraps up debut week", LA Times August 6, 2011). There seems to be a hint at a move towards a so-called licit market ("the benefits of a more open exchange of goods") in the way that the story is reported.

But Cuno stresses that he will support the Getty's current antiquities acquisition policy, designed to deter looting: "The policy is to only acquire objects that can be shown to have left their presumed country of origin before 1970."

"It's the right thing for the Getty, not only because the Getty has had complicated relationships with foreign governments in the past but because the Getty is more than a museum," he says. "The conservation work and foundation work that we do internationally can't be compromised."
The key issue is that collecting histories need to be demonstrated through authenticated documentation.

We look forward to reading his Rice University Campbell Lectures that will appear as Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum (Chicago UP) [website] this December. Previous titles have posed questions: Whose Muse?; Who Owns Antiquity?; Whose Culture? Is the new title a break with precedent and perhaps more than a little suggestive?



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2 comments:

Paul Barford said...

That's what I like about you David, ever the optimist.

Avatar said...

There is a hint, there. People made mistakes in the past, but that does not mean they did not learn from it. We all will watch Cuno's steps closely. He will not violate other the Getty principles nor other country's laws, unless he wants to end up in a legal battle.

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