Saturday, 8 December 2012

Potts: "we must stop the looting"

Timothy Potts, now at the J. Paul Getty Museum, has given an extensive interview for the LA Times (December 8, 2012). The interview suggests that he has shifted his position from his earlier one:
At the Kimbell, Potts became known for his unpopular stance in the heated debates over cultural patrimony. In 2004 he worked with Cuno on a committee of the Assn. of Art Museum Directors to draw up guidelines for museum acquisitions of antiquities — guidelines many felt were too lax considering the volume of potentially illicit material pursued by museums. At the time, he was one of the youngest voices joining old-guard museum leaders like Metropolitan Museum head Philippe de Montebello in arguing for museums' rights (and responsibilities) to collect.
For some discussion of his position at the Kimbell see here. Potts' contribution to Cuno's edited volume Whose Culture did not appear (see here).

Whereas now Potts seems to be speaking out against the looting of antiquities and appears to have embraced the importance of archaeological contexts:
But today Potts sounds more moderate in keeping with the changing museum climate and the Getty's stricter guidelines. "It's important to strike a balance between preventing acquisitions of works [that] would encourage further looting of ancient sites and providing an appropriate home for these objects," he said. 
"It's tough. Today we are losing a lot of information on objects that are artistically and historically important but not finding their way into collections, not being preserved. But we must stop the looting."
The Getty will no doubt continue its policy of transparency and allow research into the collecting histoires behind the objects in its collections.

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This sounds like a real change of heart and mind. But only the future will tell whether this change is for good and not a tactical manoeuvre. We must welcome the new position of Timothy Potts and welcome him wholeheartedly to the camp that advocates end to looting and the intensification of restitution.

Thus this also mean that James Cuno is also changing?

Dr.Kwame Opoku.

kyri said...

"welcome him wholeheartedly to the camp that advocates end to looting"
when did timothy potts or james cuno ever advocate looting??
its this talk of "camps" and intransigent positions,from both sides that does nothing to move the debate forward.


Please read James Cuno carefully and you would realize that even though he did not advocate looting, he was not very enthusiastic about restitution.
Kwame Opoku

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