Global Art news covers international events, from the destruction of cultural heritage through war, infrastructure development, and government neglect – to the successful implementation of policies that enable documentation, scholarship and art preservation. Articles cover both nationalist perspectives and the historic view that the international circulation of art is a bridge for communication, humanist study, and mutual understanding.
Current events demonstrate how international cultural property issues have become highly politicized, both as an expression of self-determination for formerly-colonized nations and as diplomatic bargaining chips. In the past, Western nations had virtually unlimited access to art from around the world; today, the pendulum has swung to the furthest opposite position, as national governments claim absolute ownership of the entire history of art within their political boundaries.
Fifty to one hundred years after independence, few countries have established the state-regulated trade in art envisioned in the 1970 UNESCO Convention. Instead, many countries have made it illegal to export virtually all art through laws that make art the property of the state. Other nations have seized control over the cultural heritage of Christian, Jewish, and other religious and ethnic minorities. This is the background to current events in which the legitimate art trade is treated as a pawn in international diplomacy, and access to art is viewed as expendable compared to more pressing economic or trade interests.