More on the Benin Bronzes

A Benin sculpture is facing the auction block.

An Edo Bronze from the Kingdom of Benin, not dated, L. 16″

General information about the sale of this particular object can be found at Christie’s catalogue for this sale of art from Africa, Oceania, and North America.

This article by Erin Thompson gives you some context for the sale on June 29, 2020.

Follow-up June 30: The link to the catalogue does not work and this bronze does not appear among the objects in the sale.

Case Study: Returning works of cultural heritage to their homelands

How will this develop at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris? Read more in Fayah Nayeri’s New York Times article of June 5, 2020.

On the museum’s website you can link to a variety of tours to explore their collections.

You can also explore collections from places around the globe from the map.

Canada: repatriating cultural heritage

“People Across the Globe Want Their Cultural Heritage Back. Canada May Offer a Blueprint for How to Get There”

“A proposed law would mobilize a national strategy to help Indigenous communities reclaim cultural heritage objects at home and abroad.”

A mask of the Kwakiutl, a native American clan on the West coast of Canada on display in the Humboldt Box museum in Berlin. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images.

An additional article on the Cranmer Potlatch of 1921 from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, June 8, 2018. That article closes with the following important questions:

Ask yourself:

Question 1:

What would you want to pass down to future generations?

Question 2:

What kind of cultural heritage is important to you and your community?

Question 3:

What role can museums play to help preserve and protect heritage?

 

Acquisitions, repatriation, and popular culture

“These items are not for sale.”

“What Black Panther Gets Right About the Politics of Museums”

“In one scene, the blockbuster superhero movie touches on issues of provenance, repatriation, diversity, representation, and other debates currently shaping institutional practices.”  Lise Ragbir, Hyperallergic, March 20, 2018.

“Museums Should Consider Why They’ve Become Targets of Attack and Protest”

“A terror plot targeting the British Museum was recently thwarted, but the reasons why it became a target in the first place go far beyond the current political climate.” Erin L. Thompson, Hyperallergic, June 11, 2018.

National Museum of the American Indian

Jacki Thompson Rand
Why I Can’t Visit the National Museum of the American Indian, Reflections of an accidental privileged insider, 1989-1994.” Common-Place, vol. 7, no. 4 (July 2007).

From the article: ” ‘We’ve been trying to educate the visitors for five hundred years; how long will it take to educate the visitors?’ spoke an elderly Native woman at one of several community-based consultations I organized for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) between 1989 and 1994. Her words—strong, angry, and impatient—formed a response to the question we carried to each consultation: what should the museum say about Native America? Her agitated comeback affected the remainder of my experience as one of the museum’s early planners and has remained with me for the past fourteen or fifteen years. Smithsonian representatives had no response for the woman then; today, the finished museum stands as a reminder of how the small-but-growing museum staff failed to find, in that tense moment of public scolding, inspiration and encouragement to tell the story that we know and the nation denies.”

This took a long time…

Why? I’d like to read the follow-up story here. How will the public help identify these works?

“The Louvre is showing Nazi-looted art in a bid to find its owners. Some wonder why it took so long.”

James McAuley, Washington Post, Feb. 2. 2018.

Paintings looted by Nazis during World War II on display at the Louvre in Paris on Tuesday. (Christophe Ena/AP)