"Looters of ancient art: A detective story" with Roger Atwood and Brendan Lemon

Thursday September 29, 2005
The LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street
New York, New York
7:00PM – 8:30PM

SAFE and Out Professionals presented journalist and author of Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World in conversation with Brendan Lemon, Editor-in-Chief of Out magazine. Atwood received the 2004 SAFE Beacon Award. The evening began with an introduction by SAFE’s founder Cindy Ho about the organization and concluded with a book signing.

In Stealing History Atwood documents how the antiquities trade has become a streamlined, efficient industry that is slowly tapping out the last physical remains of ancient civilizations around the world. He shows how major American museums such as the Met have become complicit in the destruction by accepting donations of pillaged objects. His exposế has been called “riveting” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “a perfect detective story” (Washington Post)

Beginning with the systematic looting of the National Museum in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Atwood explains how the initial reports about the looting were more bogus than real and diverted attention from a real cultural disaster, the wholesale devastation of Sumerian archaeological sites in Iraq to feed the international antiquities market.

Atwood also focuses on Peru, following tomb-raiders and smugglers as they take looted antiquities from ruins and graveyards to museums and galleries in America.

A Reuters reporter for 15 years, Roger Atwood now writes for ARTnews, The Washington Post and Archaeology magazine. His articles on culture and politics have appeared in The New Republic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The Miami Herald, and The Boston Globe. Based in Washington, D.C., he is currently a fellow at the Alicia Patterson Foundation.

Since being appointed editor-in-chief of Out in April 2000, Brendan Lemon has helped restore the magazine’s status as a leading voice in gay journalism. At The New Yorker from 1989 to 1997, Lemon served editor-in-chief Robert Gottlieb as the head of the magazine’s Goings On About Town section, and Tina Brown as both cultural editor and Talk of the Town editor. The author of “Last Night,” a novel, he is also the American theatre critic for the Financial Times and a frequent contributor to the New York Times.

“Exposes quite a few skeletons in the cupboards of respected American institutions . . . Yet Atwood not only describes the disease, he tries to find a cure. He proposes a detailed program of international and domestic legislation to stop gravediggers, smugglers, and their rich patrons."

Konstantin Akinsha in The Washington Post