Chasing Aphrodite by Jason Felch
The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

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Synopsis

In recent years, several of America’s leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? 

The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller—the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO—but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail. 

Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.

 

About Jason Felch

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JASON FELCH is an investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times. In 2006 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for exposing the role of the J. Paul Getty Museum and other American museums in the black market for looted antiquities. His work has also been honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Education Writers Association, the National Association of Science Writers, and the Society for Environmental Journalism. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife and son. RALPH FRAMMOLINO reported for nearly 25 years at the Los Angeles Times, where he and former colleague Jason Felch were finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their articles about the J. Paul Getty Museum and looted antiquities. His work has also appeared in the New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review. Frammolino is now a media consultant for various aid projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, where he trains working journalists on investigative reporting techniques and right to information laws.
 
Published May 24, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 397 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Arts & Photography, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Chasing Aphrodite

The Wall Street Journal

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Encouraged by dealers and collectors, art museums were long willing to overlook the looting of antiquities

Jul 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

The Washington Times

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The 19th century was the golden age of acquisition. European and American collectors, smitten with the lure of antiquities from Greece, Italy and China, spent recklessly to assemble great collections in London, Paris and New York.

Jul 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

AV Club

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The authors seem divided on how to portray the woman who pushed museums across America to stop buying looted artifacts and form closer ties with Italy, Greece, and other “source countries,” while at the same time allegedly picking out dubious pieces for friends to buy and then donate to the museu...

Jun 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

Los Angeles Times

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The Getty's risky business of buying looted antiquities gets a thorough examination in 'Chasing Aphrodite.

May 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

Dallas News

Trafficking in looted art has gone on for millennia, and this tale of the misdeeds of the fabulously wealthy Getty Museum and its antiquities curator is a fascinating look at the longstanding institutional hypocrisy of the acquisitions policies of major American museums.

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

Washington Independent Review of Books

A riveting investigation of the Getty Museum’s acquisition practices sheds light on illegal activities in the world of high culture.

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt f...

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