Volume 11, Number 1, Jan. 1989, pp.10-11
This extensive article touches on the many reasons why the Getty Museum is being scrutinized so intensely. The question which predominates is that of why a museum with an estimated annual acquisitions budget of around $50 million, has such incomplete collections. John Walsh, the museum's director, contends that the museum is 'preserving the distinctive character of a private collection', and that he is 'glad to sacrifice breadth for depth."
With the recent National Geographic announcement of the discovery of a pre-Columbian grave site of the Moche culture, Christopher Donnan, the archaeologist at the UCLA Museum of Cultural History, has come into some prominence for his role in uncovering this find. This article gives some details of this important discovery, and gives some insight into the workings of an archaeological site.
See also "Move Over, King Tut", by Matt Clark with Jane Whitmore and Eduardo Levy-Spira in Newsweek (September 26, 1988), pp 66-67.
The article based on the author's catalogue for the 1988 exhibition offers a clear art historical account of fashion and its many influences from the time Queen Victoria ascended to the English throne to the time of the first World War. Photographs of several pieces of the Museum's extensive costume collection are included with the text.
The article includes first hand accounts of the founding of the silver crafting business started by William Spratling in Taxco, Mexico in the late 1920's. It includes descriptions of the early and later silver alloys used by the shop and interesting accounts of pre-mechanized sheet beating, wire drawing, and polishing techniques.
An Arabic proverb says, "Holes in the Pyramids puncture the honor of Egypt." This saying has prompted national authorities in Egypt to call for strict scientific and antiquarian supervision of all future foreign digs. Beginning in 1977, some "wasteful and useless digs at Egyptian national monuments, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx" carried out by foreign archaeological teams produced only "self-important fanfare and damage to antiquities".
"Trustees have a duty of obedience to the organization's purpose and could be held liable for failing to carry out that duty." Special attention to museum collections is given due to the American legal system which operates 'on basic principles such as due care and fiduciary responsibility'. Negligence is determined by what a person knew, or should have known about an artifact's condition, and whether the person is fulfilling his fiduciary responsibility.
Two pieces of ancient ivory found in a village in Czechoslovakia, shaped with flint tools may be one of the most important objects found from the Ice Age. It is a portrait carved in a realistic fashion, of what could be a male, Upper Paleolithic hunter. The larger of the two pieces is broken in several places and had been glued together and then covered with a protective coating. Alpha- particle spectral analysis revealed large quantities of uranium and radioactive products of uranium decay. The uranium would enter the ivory only after its burial in sand or sediment where groundwater containing traces of uranium was seeping. Unfortunately the exact site of this find is unknown and so the story is incomplete, and only with further testing can the date of this important artifact be assessed.
Using Tandem Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (TAMS), results have been achieved indicating that the cloth, believed to have been the burial cloth of Christ, was created between 1260 and 1390 A.D. Clear explanations of this method of analysis are given in this short and informative article.
Evelyn Rosenberg, a New Mexico sculptor, is using plastic explosives to create detonographs (metal bas-reliefs). This sculpting technique creates unique artworks, replacing die-stamping, casting, and repoussage, as a less time consuming and relatively inexpensive method of cladding one kind of metal with another. The artist comments: "My expression as a sculptor is reinforced by the magic, primitive quality of explosive art."