Review and Interview with ARCA

The Association for Research into Crimes against Art has posted a great review of Chasing Aphrodite and an interview with Jason about the recent return of the Getty goddess.

Q: How did you feel, being so close to this story, seeing “Aphrodite” being returned to her homeland? Did you understand more about the statute by visiting the area she came from?

A terracotta Persephone on display in the same gallery as the goddess. Many experts now believe the Getty goddess is not Aphrodite.

Jason: We were thrilled to be able to attend the inauguration of the Getty goddess in her new home in Aidone, Sicily. For both Ralph and me, the trip — which coincided with the release of Chasing Aphrodite — really brought a feeling of closure to our own “chase,” which began more than six years ago. Seeing the goddess — can’t really call her Aphrodite anymore — in Sicily brought up some bittersweet feelings. The archaeological museum there sees about 17,000 visitors a year, far fewer than the 400,000 than visit the Getty Villa. Sicilian officials are hoping the goddess’ return will change that, but certainly fewer people will see her now, and LA has lost an important masterpiece. That said, it was VERY powerful to see the statue in her new context, a stone’s throw from Morgantina, the Greek ruins from where she was looted in the late 1970s. Surrounded by eerily similar figures depicting the fertility goddesses Persephone and Demeter, the statue takes on a startling new meaning.

If you don’t know it, ARCA is an interdisciplinary research group on issues of art crime. In addition to publishing the biannual peer-reviewed Journal of Art Crime they host conferences and publish a good blog here.
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