The Destruction of Art During War: History, Consequences, and How We Can Stop It

The Destruction of Art During War: History, Consequences, and How We Can Stop It

Please join us for a talk by Columbia alumna, Erin Thompson ’02BC, ’10GSAS, ’10LAW.

The ancient Romans stole the cult statues of their enemies. The Nazis filled bonfires with “degenerate” paintings. And today, radical groups are using bombs, bullets, and bulldozers to destroy ancient temples, churches, and holy sites. Why have so many conflicts deliberately targeted and destroyed works of art? Professor Thompson will discuss the goals of such destruction and explore how this destruction harms our knowledge of the past and erases the cultural identity of regions, such as Syria, where archeological sites serve as reminders of diversity and tolerance. Professor Thompson’s talk will give an overview of the various legal and policing strategies currently in place to fight the looting crisis. She will also examine other less traditional, but perhaps more promising proposals, from marketing campaigns that attempt to persuade collectors not to buy looted objects, to computer scientists producing 3-D reconstructions of destroyed antiquities from crowd-sourced photographs, to the use of drones to monitor vulnerable archeological sites.

Reception: 6PM
Lecture: 6:30PM
Dinner: Immediately following the Lecture
Reservations for dinner with Erin Thompson are available through your Penn Club member portal.

For more information about Erin Thompson click here. You can find the most recent New York Times op-ed by Erin Thompson here.

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