Sorry for the recent delays on posting, readers. I hadn’t realized the queue had gone dead, but I’ve restocked it and will keep a sharper eye on it. In the mean time, I have a book to recommend!
Loot: The Battles over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman is a really amazing book that discusses the illicit antiquities trade and the question of repatriation of artifacts by museums and private collectors to their home countries. It really is an amazing book that covers several different perspectives and, in my opinion, is one of the more balanced out there. There is testimony from people on all sides of the issue and, while Waxman herself errs on the side of repatriation as a good thing, she covers some great arguments of for and against.
It was published in 2008 so it hasn’t covered more recent legal issues facing these topics, but the history of the issue (from 19th century looting to the more recent scandals at the Getty) that Waxman covers are still very much relevant to the discussion.
If you’re interested in museums, museum & collection ethics, art history, the 19th and 20th century art worlds, the politics of the art world, art crime, social justice, etc. then I would highly recommend this book!