What We Are Reading Today: Who Owns Antiquity? 

Updated 16 September 2018

What We Are Reading Today: Who Owns Antiquity? 

  • James Cuno calls for measures to broaden rather than restrict international access to antiquities


Whether antiquities should be returned to the countries where they were found is one of the most urgent and controversial issues in the art world today, and it has pitted museums, private collectors, and dealers against source countries, archaeologists, and academics.

Maintaining that the acquisition of undocumented antiquities by museums encourages the looting of archaeological sites, countries such as Italy, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and China have claimed ancient artifacts as state property, called for their return from museums around the world, and passed laws against their future export. 

But in Who Owns Antiquity?, one of the world’s leading museum directors vigorously challenges this nationalistic position, arguing that it is damaging and often disingenuous. “Antiquities,” James Cuno argues, “are the cultural property of all humankind,” “evidence of the world’s ancient past and not that of a particular modern nation. They comprise antiquity, and antiquity knows no borders.”

Cuno argues that nationalistic retention and reclamation policies impede common access to this common heritage and encourage a dubious and dangerous politicization of antiquities — and of culture itself. Antiquities need to be protected from looting but also from nationalistic identity politics. To do this, Cuno calls for measures to broaden rather than restrict international access to antiquities. 

He advocates restoration of the system under which source countries would share newly discovered artifacts in exchange for archaeological help, and he argues that museums should again be allowed reasonable ways to acquire undocumented antiquities. Cuno explains how partage broadened access to our ancient heritage and helped create national museums in Cairo, Baghdad, and Kabul. The first extended defense of the side of museums in the struggle over antiquities, Who Owns Antiquity? is sure to be as important as it is controversial.

Negin Mirsalehi takes Vegas awards show by storm

Updated 15 November 2018

Negin Mirsalehi takes Vegas awards show by storm

  • Mirsalehi shared the news with her 5.1 million followers on Instagram
  • The winner of the “Influencer of the Year” award is decided through fan votes

Regional fashion sensation Negin Mirsalehi has been named “Influencer of the Year”at the recently concluded Revolve Awards in Las Vegas — a second for the Amsterdam-based Iranian beauty.

Mirsalehi shared the news with her 5.1 million followers on Instagram, where she posted a picture of herself with Victoria’s Secret Angel Romee Strijd — both carrying the iconic Revolve trophy. Strijd won the “Model of the Year.”

Mirsalehi, who has her own hair care brand, Gisou, wore a floor-length Michael Costello dress to the live audience awards ceremony, complete with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit.

The winner of the “Influencer of the Year” award is decided through fan votes. When Mirsalehi first won in 2017, she took to her website to thank her fans  and ascribed the award to her “strong relationship” with them.

The star was also named as part of Europe’s 30 Under 30 list by Forbes due to her hair care line, which made $3 million in sales last year.

Many other style icons were present at the glittering awards night held at the Palms Casino Resort last week, including Aimee Song, Camila Coelho, Emily Ratajkowski and Kendall Jenner, who took home the “Icon of the Year” plaque.

The influencer is the founder of the brand Gisou Hair. (Getty Images)

The “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” star, who has a 98.3-million strong following on Instagram, walked the Revolve Awards red carpet in an eye-catching feathered bandeau dress.

Revolve is multi-brand online shopping site known for its exhaustive use of influencer marketing.

The ceremony came after a successful Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York, which Mirsalehi attended, where a bevy of models with Middle Eastern roots walked the runway, including Melie Tiacoh, a French-born model of Lebanese heritage; Shanina Shaik, whose father is Saudi-Pakistani; and the US-Palestinian Hadid sisters.

Sixty models put on an Amazonian display of luscious waving locks, slender bodies and sun-kissed makeup for what is considered one of the most competitive gigs in the industry.

Scheduled to be televised on Dec. 2, the 2018 show was distinctive by a collaboration with London-based designer Mary Katrantzou that showcased psychedelic bodysuits.

Negin Mirsalehi won the prize for ‘Influencer of the Year.’ (Instagram)