About, for, and to #3

Erin Thompson and Pierre Losson

March 10, 2022, 7:00pm
932 Grand

How does the law determine the rights of cultural objects? Where should they belong?

Legal specialist Erin Thompson and political scientist Pierre Losson discuss the legalities and politics of repatriation campaigns, especially when countries such as Mexico and Nepal, among many others, claim artifacts from collections in the United States and Europe. How do these campaigns write and rewrite the past to give expression to nationalism and other identities? Looking at Gala Porras-Kim’s works about artifacts-turned-museum objects and her attempts to help them “exit” the museum, Erin and Pierre discuss when artifacts have indeed left a museum to return to ritual use, and when such attempts to take objects back out of the realm of museums have failed.

This event is free and open to the public.

Image: Picture of the objects from the Sacred Cenote, Chichen Itza, Mexico. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Erin L. Thompson is a professor of art crime at John Jay College (City University of New York). She studies the black market for looted antiquities, repatriation, forgery, museum theft, the ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage, art made by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and a variety of other overlaps between art and crime. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign and the author of Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments (Norton, 2022).

Pierre Losson is the author of The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America: Nationalism, Policy, and Politics in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru (Routledge, 2022). Pierre has worked in French cultural centers in Mexico City and Lima for ten years. His research focuses on cultural policy in Latin America. He graduated in international relations from the Institut d’Études Politiques of Strasbourg, holds MAs in arts administration from the University of Lyon and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University, and a Ph.D. in political science from The Graduate Center, CUNY. In fall 2020, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. He currently lives in New York City.