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Zombie Statistics, Draconian Laws, Media Complicity: The End of the Global Antiquities Trade
Speaker(s): Kate Fitz Gibbon, Megan Noh

Zombie Statistics, Draconian Laws, Media Complicity: The End of the Global Antiquities Trade

The media has helped to propound a myth – that the illegal trade in cultural goods is a pillar of organized crime. That trade in antiquities is part of a multi-billion dollar network with links to the drug and arms trade, to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Talk Details

Recent studies intended to substantiate these allegations have found no evidence for such claims. ‘Cultural racketeering’ turns out to be a giant hoax – but with real consequences for the art market and future global circulation of art. At the same time, there is widespread acceptance of dictatorships use of art for political promotion and control, conflating unbridled nationalism with anti-colonialism. This does more than threaten the existence of the antiquities trade. It encourages a narrow, highly-politicized view of culture that justifies academic censorship and limits the ability of museums around the world to preserve art, study it, and show it to the public.

The panel will discuss:

  • Investigating the provenance of works of art and antiquities
  • Analyzing Bilateral treaties and international laws relating to cultural property and patrimony
  • Championing better laws and policy with public and private partners worldwide against cultural racketeering
  • Should the sale of antiquities should be banned altogether?

This talk was originally filmed during The Business of Art Observed.


Speaker Details

Kate Fitz Gibbon

Editor, Cultural Property News at Committee for Cultural Policy, Inc.

Kate Fitz Gibbon is the Executive Director of the Committee for Cultural Policy, a U.S. think tank on art and cultural property policy, and editor of the online journal, Cultural Property News. Kate was a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the President from 2000-2003. She was editor and contributor to Who Owns the Past? Cultural Property, Cultural Policy and the Law, Rutgers University Press, 2005, and has co-authored six books on Asian art, including IKAT, winner of the Wittenborn Prize for Best Art Book of 1996. She is a principal of Fitz Gibbon Law, LLC in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she works in the fields of art and cultural heritage law, museum law, and estate planning. Kate also serves on the Art and Cultural Heritage Law Steering Committee of the American Bar Association.

Megan Noh

Partner at Pryor Cashman LLP

Megan E. Noh is a partner in Pryor Cashman’s Art Law Group. With nearly 15 years of combined experience in private practice and both in-house legal and business positions in the auction world, Megan has extensive knowledge of the complex issues impacting today’s art market. Her clients include auction houses, collectors, galleries, individual artists, estates and non-profits, whom she counsels on a range of transactional and litigation matters. A recognized speaker on art authenticity and pre-transaction diligence, Megan lectures regularly for professional and academic audiences and has been quoted in the New York Times, Maine Antique Digest, and other industry publications. She has authored scholarly articles for the Institute of Art & Law’s journal, Art Antiquity and Law, and contributed to the course material for the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Institute, for which she is a Program Chair. Megan also sits on the New York City Bar’s Art Law Committee and is the Vice-Chair of the Board of the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

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