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Underbelly of Museum Business

October 8, 2012

How did a known smuggler come to be able to sell so much of his illegal imports to many US museums, including the much loved Metropolitan Museum?

Does that tell us something about the way museums as well as large and small private collections were and still are, put together?

Cultural heritage, legacy, richness of context, these are all very well to talk about, but when an individual or a new country is hungry for a piece of past, in order to place themselves in the civilised world, this is what one might expect.

Also, art is good business. So for a person or institution or even a regime with money, along with fetching good monetary returns, it might instantly serve as a ticket into the Haute Hall.

I am still making up my mind about whether this practice should be damned and cursed, or should be merely called unethical on the buyer’s part, putting the blame squarely on the squandered culture for it’s inability to protect it’s priceless gems. And also for producing traitors who’ll sell out its treasures.

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From → Quo Vadis

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