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September 2015

ICC and Cultural War Crimes The International Criminal Court (ICC) to review charges against, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi for the destruction of cultural heritage in Mali, under the jurisdiction granted by the 2002 Rome Statute. This “represents an important step forward in the fight against impunity, not only in Mali but also in the broader Sahel and Sahara region of Africa, whose populations have in recent years been subjected to unspeakable crimes,” said Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In the same statement, Bensouda acknowledged the gravity of attacks against cultural heritage and the importance of standing up to this destruction. The next hearing for the case is scheduled for January 18, 2016.

Migrating Benefits of Dismaland: lumber to France from UK, labor from France to UK Famous street artist Banksy has announced that the various construction materials, “timber and fixtures” used in Dismaland, a pop-up exhibition that has been described as a twisted version of Disneyland, will be sent to the Calais “Jungle.” Dismaland was on display from August 21, 2015 until September 27, 2015 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset England. The exhibition featuring 61 artists, including Banksy and Damien Hirst, attracted over 150,000 visitors. In addition to the approximately £450,000 ($682,000) made from the sale of £3 ($4.55) admission tickets required for everyone over the age of 5, the exhibit brought in an estimated £20 million ($30.3 million) to Weston-super-Mare in tourist funds. At least one of the exhibits at Dismaland was a social commentary about the current migrant crisis in Europe. Banksy’s decision to ship the construction materials from Dismaland to a series of refugee camps located near Calais, France is another poignant comment on the social disparity.

A version of the present day “jungle’ was initially established by the Red Cross in 1999 but it was disassembled by French Authorities. The latest iteration of the Jungle sprang about in 2009 and, according to a July 2015 Telegraph article, currently houses 3,000 refugees, most of whom are seeking entrance to and work opportunity in the United Kingdom. If not a prank, the materials from Dismaland may be used to build shelters for the refugees, who are mostly from the Middle East and East Africa. According to CNN, Banksy has not spoken to or requested permission from Calais officials to ship the construction materials to the Calais Jungle.

DH Red Flag: Kapoor in Provenance Following an 18-months review, the Toledo Museum of Art has decided finally to send four art objects (out of the dozens investigated) back to the Repubic of India. The objects identified as ripe for restitution include a stone stele of Varaha Rescuing the Earth, a bronze sculpture of Ganesha, a gold and enamel pandan box of Mughal origin and a watercolor depicting Rasikapriya from the Samdehi Ragini. These works of art were purchased from the infamous dealer Subhash Kapoor, between 2001 and 2010. The Museum decided to send these pieces back to the country of origin having determined that the provenance had been forged or could not be verified. The United States Department of Justice is currently conducting an investigation into whether Kapoor illegally imported and stole these pieces of art as well as others. Details.

For profits for Nonprofits (with profits) A French communications company, Agenda, organized this years annual Communicating the Museum Conference, held in Istanbul from September 9 to the 12. Subjects covered during the Conference included museum branding and curating on social media with keynotes about redefining museums for the twenty-first century and the mainstream acceptance of contemporary art. The Conference also played host to a number of excursions, for an added price, including private tours of the Hagia Sophia and the Istanbul Underground as well as a trip to Gallipoli and Troy. The conference was founded in 2000 and has been held in a different city and country each year. Past host cities include in Paris, Valencia, Turin, Rotterdam, Madrid, Venice, Malaga, Vienna, Düsseldorf, New York, Stockholm, and Sydney and Melbourne. DH