All posts tagged: Benin Bronzes

Nigeria’s Museum of West African Art Questions Encyclopedic Museums

Nigeria’s Museum of West African Art Questions Encyclopedic Museums

[ad_1] This fall, barring any last-minute delays, Nigeria will open the glitzy Museum of West African Art, a sprawling 15-acre complex with a world-class historical museum, a contemporary art gallery, a research and education institute, and more. Built on the razed site of the former Benin City and constructed to resemble a historic palace, MOWAA represents a new kind of museum: deeply embedded in and designed in concert with the culture it enshrines and celebrates. “We think about MOWAA as a blueprint, a convening point, and the center of outreach that helps grow and sustain museum infrastructure throughout West Africa, working with the living culture of Nigeria—our artisans, our local regional museums—and forging meaningful relationships and partnerships with museums in the West and globally,” Aindrea Emelife, an art historian and head curator at MOWAA, told ARTnews in a recent interview. Related Articles As part of the construction process, archaeological teams excavated the area to bring to the surface Benin City’s surviving walls, moats, and gates, and incorporate them into the new structures, blending the region’s …

20 Works That Faced Claims of Looting, Plundering, and Theft

20 Works That Faced Claims of Looting, Plundering, and Theft

[ad_1] Art theft typically conjures pieces ripped from the walls of world-class museums, and while art heists take place frequently, they are not the only means by which priceless treasures are taken. Throughout history, masterpieces have been plundered, looted, and stolen, and taken far away from the original locales. For the former owners of such stolen works, getting their prized possessions back can be tricky and involve decades-long legal and political ordeals. Whether the cases involve allegations that works were looted during war or plundered during conquests, the process of retrieving these pieces can be long and difficult—and even, in many cases, unsuccessful. The list below surveys 20 works that were subject to claims that they had been looted, plundered, or stolen by other means. By no means comprehensive, it includes works looted by the Nazis, objects taken as war booty, and artifacts plundered amid conquests and colonization. In many cases, allegations that the works were taken improperly have been disputed by the institutions and collectors that currently claim ownership over the art in question, …