On Thursday, February 21, the Harvard Law School ArtsPanel will be exploring the international art trade and the ethics of collecting. Speakers will include Ashton Hawkins, former general counsel and executive vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; James Cuno, director of the Harvard University Art Museums and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors; James F. Fitzpatrick, senior partner at the law firm of Arnold & Porter; and Gary Vikan, director of The Walters Organization, a Baltimore-based museum. The event will begin at 2:45 p.m. in the Ames Courtroom.

“The international traffic in stolen, looted, and illegally exported art and antiquities rivals in monetary value the illegal trade in drugs or people,” said Professor Terry Martin. “It is estimated that 3 billion dollars worth of looted art treasures are being sold on the world market every year.”

The panel discussion will focus on the complex legal issues involved in the art trade as countries take different approaches to such issues as the private ownership of ancient cultural artifacts, the equation of illegal export with theft, and even procedural rules as statutes of limitations. The panelists will also be asked to go beyond legal rules to questions of professional ethics. Are archaeologists complicit by studying and reporting on objects known to be looted? Are museums complicit in purchasing objects of doubtful provenance?

The ArtsPanel, founded in the spring of 1997, is a cultural and an art law group intended to promote an awareness of arts issues and cultural events on the Harvard Law School campus.

For more information: