The Art Newspaper: Louvre teams up with Sotheby’s to investigate provenance of works bought during the Second World War

The Art Newspaper: Louvre teams up with Sotheby’s to investigate provenance of works bought during the Second World War. “Sotheby’s and the Louvre in Paris have joined forces on a project aimed at researching items acquired by the museum between 1933 and 1945. The sponsorship deal, which lasts three years, will help fund research that ‘may lead to restitutions [incorporating] digitisation, the organisation of seminars, study days, and publications’, the Louvre says in a statement.”

The Guardian: Newcastle museum to return Benin bronze stave

The Guardian: Newcastle museum to return Benin bronze stave. “A Benin bronze in the collection of a Newcastle museum is to be proactively returned to Nigeria, the latest in a number of repatriations that ratchet up pressure on the British Museum to follow suit. Bosses of the Great North Museum: Hancock announced that it had recently been established that a brass stave with a distinctive bird finial had been looted from Benin City by the British military in 1897.”

The Drum: Vice Media highlights disputed artifacts in British Museum with interactive campaign

This is from earlier in December but the video I saw for it is so astounding I feel I must include it. The Drum: Vice Media highlights disputed artifacts in British Museum with interactive campaign. “Vice Media has created a campaign to highlight the origin of 10 disputed artifacts that are currently in the British Museum. The campaign, called ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ and conceptualized together with Dentsu Webchutney, is focused on artifacts including Summer Palace (China), Gweagal Shield (Australia) and Amaravati Marbles (India). The stories of these artifacts will be told through an interactive mobile site and a 10-episode podcast series featuring experts from the homelands of these objects.”

Reuters: New online archive for Benin Bronzes to go live at end of 2022

Reuters: New online archive for Benin Bronzes to go live at end of 2022. “An online archive bringing together information on thousands of Benin Bronze artefacts in museums around the world is expected to go live at the end of next year, one of the organisers said on Friday. The Benin Bronzes, which are mostly in Europe, were stolen from Nigeria’s Benin City during colonialism and are among Africa’s most significant heritage objects.”

Hyperallergic: A Portal Tracks Objects Acquired by German Institutions Through Colonialism

Hyperallergic: A Portal Tracks Objects Acquired by German Institutions Through Colonialism. “Newly launched by the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library), the Collections from Colonial Contexts (CCC) portal tracks artifacts in German institutions acquired under conditions of colonialism. So far, over 8,000 objects from 25 institutions have been listed.” This is separate from the Benin bronzes database.

The Art Newspaper: Smithsonian Museum of African Art removes Benin bronzes from display and plans to repatriate them

The Art Newspaper: Smithsonian Museum of African Art removes Benin bronzes from display and plans to repatriate them . “The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC has removed its Benin bronzes from display and is planning to repatriate artefacts that were looted by the British in an 1897 raid on the royal palace, according to the museum’s director, Ngaire Blankenberg.”

New York Times: Citizen Activists Lead the Hunt for Antiquities Looted From Nepal

New York Times: Citizen Activists Lead the Hunt for Antiquities Looted From Nepal. “Roshan Mishra recalls standing inside the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, staring into the eyes of a wooden goddess that he believed was the same artifact that had disappeared nearly 50 years earlier from a local temple in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, where he lives. Mishra, director of the Taragaon Museum in Kathmandu, describes that encounter, in 2019, as the event that inspired him to create a digital archive of nearly 3,000 Nepalese artifacts that he believes are being held by museums outside the country.”

Wired: These historical artefacts are totally faked

Wired: These historical artefacts are totally faked. “Nora Al-Badri was bored by deepfake porn. She thought the technology, best known for putting people’s faces into videos they weren’t actually in could be put to work doing something better. As an artist who regularly works with digital technology, Al-Badri had an idea for a more interesting project employing an AI technique known as a generative adversarial network (GAN), commonly used for deepfakes. That work, Babylonian Vision, used GANs to expand what we know about ancient history and question museums’ ownership of objects in the 21st century.”

EuroNews: British Museum accepts Nigerian artist’s gift – but keeps looted bronzes

EuroNews: British Museum accepts Nigerian artist’s gift – but keeps looted bronzes. “A Nigerian artist who gifted his own work to the British Museum with the hopes of receiving looted colonial art back from them has had his offer declined. The British Museum accepted a bronze plaque made by an artist Osarobo Zeickner-Okoro, from Benin City in Nigeria, who entered negotiations for the museum to return priceless Benin Bronzes that were looted by British troops in 1897. He offered his creation to encourage the museum to give back the sculptures but also to demand acknowledgement of Benin City’s modern-day culture.”

Museums Association: Trustees approve return of Benin bronzes held in Berlin museums

Museums Association: Trustees approve return of Benin bronzes held in Berlin museums. “Trustees of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the federal government body that oversees the city’s state museums, authorised its director Hermann Panzinger to “negotiate the return of objects from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin as part of the joint negotiations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the competent authorities in Nigeria.”

Artnet: Artists and Scholars From Europe and Africa Are Collaborating to Help Kenya Reclaim Its Art From Foreign Museums

Artnet: Artists and Scholars From Europe and Africa Are Collaborating to Help Kenya Reclaim Its Art From Foreign Museums. “There are no museum objects on view at a major museum exhibition in Nairobi, only empty display cases. This poignant absence that pervades ‘Invisible Inventories,’ which opens at the Nairobi National Museum on March 18, is the product of a years-long research project by the National Museums of Kenya alongside two German institutions, the Welkulturen Museum in Frankfurt and the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne. Together, they are tackling how to make Kenya’s art and objects—which are currently largely found peppered across Western cultural institutions, either on display or stowed away—present in the African country.”

The Art Newspaper: In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage

The Art Newspaper: In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage. “One of the biggest challenges for police and customs officials in combating the illegal trade in looted antiquities is in identifying stolen objects. While drugs or weapons are readily identifiable as illegal imports, stolen antiquities can be passed off as modern copies or legitimate imports if they are accompanied by convincing documentation…. German information technology experts are developing an app to help them, and a prototype may be ready for practical trials by the middle of the year, says Martin Steinebach, the head of media security and IT forensics at the Fraunhofer Institute in Darmstadt.”