List price of “Cultural Heritage Law”: $465.00 [No Joke]

Such much! Some enhanced appreciation of one’s own cultural heritage comes from learning about it in a new language, if not in a new book. Let me share a “Russian” joke with you:

— Excuse me, how much watch?
— Near six.
— Such much?
— For whom how…

Which means:
«What time is it?»
«Almost six»
«So late?!»
«It depends.»

Incidentally, this joke was appropriated from the the cult film Casablanca (1942), where two Germans are discussing time in “English”.

But back to art and cultural heritage law, which are also sometimes funny. Here are some of the good, bad and not funny jokes to be enjoyed at their expense:

  • A painting attributed to Andy Warhol is bought for $185,000. Before it is offered for sale again, it is presented to the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board and ultimately it is stamped “DENIED” not once but twice. Collector, whose property is thus defaced and devalued, sues. The court finds in favor of the Board but the victory that comes with a price tag of about $7 million. As the Andy Warhol Foundation stops authenticating Warhol Art, the comically inclined wonder, didn’t the Foundation know that all good jokes must have three parts, and thus the painting should have been stamped three times?!  Read: Authentication Committees Disband.
  • Fossilized bones of a T. bataar dinosaur, that died in the Cretaceous period, are improperly imported into the United States. Hundreds of hours chiseling and assembling bones of different dinosaurs from different places together result in a forfeiture of the newly assembled skeleton and a return of the beast to Mongolia. It should have been Siberia for a better punchline! Read: Fossils Dealer Wants his Dinosaur Skeleton Back.
  • Art works gifted to the Brooklyn Museum by a long-time deceased Colonel turn out to be fakes. However, they may not be deaccessioned easily because all of the trustees of the estate of the sad colonel are deceased as well. In other words, they’ve gone extinct! [That was a dinosaur reference. Do you get it?!] Read: Of Brooklyn Museum, Colonel and Cy Pres.
  • A new textbook on Cultural Heritage Law priced at half a thou dollars.  Now, that’s a good one!
Why is that funny? If you don’t get it, let you me try to explain. I just came across a new publication, entitled Cultural Heritage Law (of the International Law Series). It is edited by James A. R. Hafziger and it sells on Amazon, with a 9% discount as of May 9, 2013 for the whooping $421.65. Yes, such much! It is a hardcover, probably still in its first edition (no wonder) and over 850 pages long. 

Contributors to this volume include the deans of art law and the leaders of cultural heritage protection. To name but a few: Lawrence M. Kaye, Partner with Herrick Feinstein (NY), Patty Gerstenblith, professor at DePaul Law School (IL), Lyndel Prott, former Director of UNESCO’s Division of Cultural Heritage (Australia). The volume’s editor is Professor of law and Director of International Programs at the Willamette University College of Law. In all seriousness, I am sure it is a worthy reference but who can afford it?! The collectors who now have fewer Warhols and dinosaur bones to acquire?  Perhaps, this anecdote would make for a good MasterCard commercial:

Fake Andy Warhol — $185,000;
Legal treatise on Cultural Heritage Law — $465.00;
2 hrs of blogging  — $100;
Appreciating your cultural heritage — Priceless.

Source: Amazon.com; Elgaronline.

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