Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Proof of Recovery After War and Looting

Having watched the war in Iraq begin at the start of my interest in both the Middle East and art history, the destruction and ransacking of the National Museum crushed me. Seeing this article and the spirit that recovery can come in time is inspiring. No community is completely without its art. A community will find a way to rebuild despite all the odds both then and now. As the article notes, its reopening comes at a critical time with the growing violence under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the mounting concerns as ISIS turns its destruction to monuments and historical sites in addition to Iraqis. We can only hope that the artifacts will survive ISIS as they have the Iraq War. The conflicts in the region have had a profound impact on its art and antiquities. I look forward to seeing how its art managers recover and rebuild elsewhere. 

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3 comments on “Proof of Recovery After War and Looting

  1. benjamendouglas
    August 26, 2014

    I’ve been watching this, too. It has been such a travesty. And now, in what should be their crowning moment, there’s as much angst as there is celebration.

    I just finished reading “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. Excellent book. Fast read. But the reason I recommend it is that it’s about a book conservator working on an illuminated haggadah in Bosnia, and preparing it for exhibition as a celebration at the end of the war. Lots of parallels there.

  2. dianalfreeberg
    August 27, 2014

    I was very lucky to have been able to visit the Middle East in 2007 as a teenager. I remember thinking on that trip how amazing it was that so many artifacts were so well preserved. The majority of my trip was spent in Israel and Egypt, but I remember thinking that these two vastly different countries, both with their own horrific, war-torn pasts, still made serious efforts to preserve their art. Same could be said for this effort in reopening the National Museum of Iraq. There’s a serious desire and effort to preserve their history in art. I hope the absolute best for their efforts.

    Thank you for sharing this article. It’s an area of the world that is very close to my heart and obviously a topic that is deeply connected to all of us!

  3. evanjsanderson
    August 27, 2014

    I wonder who the people are who are going to the museum. What demographic slice of Iraq are they? It’s hard enough to get people to go to museums in American with no bloodthirsty fundamentalist army-state knocking at our doors. I would love to know more details about what how they get people in there, who those people are (not just Iraqi, but are they Kurdish? Shia? Rich? Middle class?). The little I know about Iraqi’s is that they fiercely proud of their artistic and cultural heritage so maybe it’s all of the above.

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