Sunday, February 24, 2008

Art Law Op-Eds (UPDATED)

It was art law day on the New York Times op-ed page yesterday. First, former State and Justice Department official Allan Gerson wrote about the "From Russia" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts that was nearly canceled until the British Parliament enacted special legislation providing immunity to Russia against any ownership claims with respect to the loaned paintings. He argues that "the sad truth is that the British government and the Royal Academy are now complicit in the theft of private property. If other countries follow Britain’s lead and pass 'immunity from seizure' legislation in the hopes of playing host to 'From Russia' or similar shows, the results will be far more pernicious than anyone can imagine."

Also, Eliane Karp-Toledo, the former first lady of Peru, isn't a fan of the preliminary agreement between Yale and Peru regarding the disposition of the school's Machu Picchu artifacts: "Having finally obtained a copy of the agreement, I can see that Yale continues to deny Peru the right to its cultural patrimony." Karp-Toledo figures prominently in this New York Times Magazine piece about the dispute from last summer. More recently, Paul Needham's been doing a good job covering the controversy for the Yale Daily News (see here and here).

UPDATE: Derek Fincham has some thoughts on the Machu Picchu issue.