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Books: Museum History

  • James Stourton, Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation (November 2016) (ISBN:978-0385351171) This publication provides an in-depth look at the life of Kenneth Clark – director of the National Gallery, art historian and pioneer of British television arts programming – and tells the story of twentieth-century art. Available for purchase here.
  • Jenkins, Tiffany, Keeping Their Marbles (May 2016) (ISBN:9780199657599): In Tiffany Jenkins’ new strongly-worded essay on repatriation, she traces the sometimes messy histories of how artifacts ended up in Western museums. The book is written amid an increase in repatriation cases over the last few decades, a recent phenomenon that Jenkins assesses. Controversially, Jenkins argues in favor of the museum as crucial centers for knowledge and culture, and for these artifacts to stay in them. Available for purchase here.
  • Vikan, Gary,  Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director (Sept. 2016) (ISBN: 978-1590793930). Critically acclaimed already, this 2016 publication is a memoir of an art museum director who looks at the “messy underbelly of museum life: looted antiquities, crooked dealers, deluded collectors, duplicitous public officials, fakes, inside thefts, bribery, and failed exhibitions.” Museum directors come and go, but their journeys are often lesson-forming and memorable. In case of Vikan, his experiences included meeting “the elegant French oil heiress, Dominique de Menil, the notorious Turkish smuggler, Aydin Dikmen, his slippery Dutch dealer, Michel van Rijn, the inscrutable and implacable Patriarchs of Ethiopia and Georgia, and the charismatic President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze—along with a mysterious thief of a gorgeous Renoir painting missing from a museum for over sixty years.” Available here.