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Cultural Property News

Cultural Property News covers national and international news affecting the art world, from in-depth research and reports on art and cultural policy to articles on museums, exhibits, the art market, media, education, technology, archeology, anthropology, and scientific discoveries. Cultural Policy News is sponsored by the Committee for Cultural Policy (CCP), a US nonprofit organization established to strengthen the public dialogue on arts policy.

The Committee For Cultural Policy

The Committee for Cultural Policy supports public appreciation and the safeguarding of art of ancient and indigenous cultures through education. We provide resources and information to the press and educational institutions.

CCP advocates for a regulatory structure that fosters the lawful collection, exhibition, and global circulation of artworks. We encourage cultural policies that preserve artifacts and archaeological sites through adequate funding for site protection and policies enabling safe harbor in international museums for at-risk objects from countries in crisis. We defend uncensored academic research and urge funding for museum development in source countries. We believe art should be a positive conduit for international understanding.

The Committee for Cultural Policy was established in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The CCP board includes museum professionals, legal scholars, academics, art dealers and collectors.

Board of Directors of the Committee for Cultural Policy

Dr. Gary Vikan, President was Director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore from 1994 to 2013. He serves on the Leadership Council of Johns Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute, on the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts of the Salzburg Global Seminar, on the founding Board of Culture Kettle in Santa Fe, on the Committee for Cultural Policy in New York City, and is a Councilor of the Maryland State Arts Council. He has been an advisor to the Getty Leadership Institute and Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology. He was appointed by President Clinton to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and was knighted by the French Minister of Culture in the Order of Arts and Letters. Dr. Vikan received Carleton College’s Distinguished Achievement award and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Before coming to Baltimore, he was Senior Associate at Harvard’s Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. Dr. Vikan currently owns Vikan Consulting, LLC.

Arthur Houghton, Vice President is a former Foreign Service officer with assignments in the Middle East, the Department of State and on the National Security Council staff, Arthur Houghton holds a BA degree from Harvard University and MA degrees from Harvard and the American University of Beirut.  From 1982 to 1986, he was associate curator and curator-in-charge of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.  He was president of the American Numismatic Society, 1995-2000.  He served on the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee from 1984 to 1987 as a representative for museums.

Robert Poster, Treasurer is a collector of Asian art, particularly that produced in India or influenced by the traditions of the Indian Subcontinent.  He is a past member of the Art Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and has donated objects from his family’s collection to the Brooklyn Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Princeton University Art Museum and other museums.  He is a practicing attorney specializing in ship financing in New York City, and a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Law School.

Kate Fitz Gibbon, Secretary serves on the boards of New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts and the ABA Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee. She was appointed to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee by President Bill Clinton. She frequently writes and lectures on cultural policy, was editor of Who Owns the Past? Cultural Property, Cultural Policy and the Law, Rutgers University Press, 2005, and is the author of six books on Asian art, including IKAT, recipient of the Wittenborn Award for Best Art Book of 1996. Kate Fitz Gibbon is owner of Fitz Gibbon Law, LLC in Santa Fe, NM. Ms. Fitz Gibbon is the Editor of Cultural Policy News and Executive Director of CCP.

Michael de Havenon completed his Masters Thesis, “The Earliest Vishnu Sculpture from Southeast Asia,” at Columbia University in 2007. He was President of Kulen Capital until he retired in 1996. Prior to that, he served for five years as President of Merrill Lynch Capital Corporation and for approximately twenty years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. He earned a B.A. from Yale College (1962) and a J.D. from Columbia University (1966). Michael is a member of the Board of Friends of Khmer Culture; the Board of the Walters Art Museum, where he is Chairman of its Collections Committee; and the Board of the Yale University Art Gallery, where he is on the Collections Committee. He was a Trustee of the Brooklyn Museum for 22 years, Chairman of its Collections Committee and a member of its its Executive Committee.

Matthew Polk co-founded Baltimore-based Polk Audio, Inc. in 1972, where he served as Chairman and head of product development until the sale of the company in 2006.  After retirement he co-founded MSI DFAT Services, LLC a Baltimore-based company providing high intensity acoustic testing services for spacecraft. Mr. Polk and his wife Amy Gould, FAIA, are deeply involved in the arts as museum trustees, collectors of modern and historic textiles and advocates for policies that encourage public appreciation of diverse artistic traditions. They founded the Historic Textile Research Foundation, whose mission it is to develop a database of textile related carbon dating information for reference use.

Ariel Herrmann is an independent scholar based in New York. Her main area of concentration is Hellenistic and Roman sculpture and she has contributed to publications from several museums. After a ten-year residence in Rome, she served as a research associate in the Greek and Roman Departments of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and of the Metropolitan Museum. She has a long-standing interest in the history of collecting.

John Eskenazi is a dealer in oriental art, author and publisher, and a founding partner of The Art Newspaper. He was instrumental in setting up Asian Art Week in London and New York, and in establishing London Sculpture Week. He has curated or co-curated many specialist exhibitions at leading galleries including the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Eskenazi is the author of Il Tappeto Orientale, Milan, 1982, publisher of The Goddess from Anatolia, Milan, 1990, co-publisher: Dunhuang: Caves of the Singing Sands: Buddhist Art from the Silk Road, Textile Art Publications, London, 1996 and of Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings: Illuminated manuscripts from The White Beryl, Sam Fogg Ltd. and John Eskenazi Ltd, London, 2001.

James Fitzpatrick is a senior partner of the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter where for many years he was chair of the Legislative and Public Policy Group. Mr. Fitzpatrick represented the antiquities dealer community in Congressional proceedings leading to the 1983 Implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention, and in judicial and State Department proceedings dealing with cultural properties. Mr. Fitzpatrick has taught at the London School of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of New Mexico Law School. He is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School.

John Gilmore Ford, and his wife, Berthe, are collectors of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan art. Their collection was shown in the USA and internationally for many years and was later gifted to the Walters Art Museum. Mr. Ford has served as Trustee at The Walters since 1986 and founded the Friends of the Asian Collection there in 1983. He has served on the South Asian and Himalayan Acquisitions Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1980 and was a trustee of the Freer-Sackler Museum for ten years. For six years, Mr. Ford was chairman of the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, a non-profit group dedicated to the survival of traditional architecture in Nepal. Mr. Ford founded the John Ford Associates design studio in Baltimore, MD. He is also a senior appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers.

Dr. Carlos A. Picón, an authority on Greek and Roman sculpture, retired after almost 30 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to become Director of Colnaghi’s New York gallery. Dr. Picón was elected Curator-in-Charge of the Department of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1990.  He most recently unveiled the new Hellenistic, Etruscan and Roman art galleries which were the culmination of a 15 year-long project including the opening of the prehistoric and early Greek art, the Archaic and Classical Greek and the Cypriot galleries. He was recently elected Curator Emeritus by the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dr. Picón received a B.A. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College, and both a master’s and doctoral degrees in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford. Dr. Picón is a widely published authority on ancient and classical art.  He was elected Trustee of the Corning Museum of Glass in 1995.

Peter K. Tompa is an attorney practicing in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia with the firm of Bailey & Ehrenberg. In addition to his active practice in employment law and complex litigation, he is one of the foremost legal specialists in cultural property in the U.S. Mr. Tompa is also a well-known author on cultural property issues and has frequently contributed to academic publications and specialist magazines, as well as through his Internet blog, the Cultural Property Observer. He is a fellow and trustee of the American Numismatic Society and a board member of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, a life member of the American Numismatic Association, and a member of the Ancient Numismatic Society of Washington, D.C.