Showing results 1 - 12 of 21 for the month of June, 2006.

June 30, 2006

Museum of the oppressed

Posted at 7:19 pm in Similar cases

France’s new Musée du Quai Branly aims to correct some of the faults of previous ethnographic museums. Where possible the provenance of artefacts is clearly marked & care has been taken to involve visitors more in understanding the context of the objects & to identify themes that run through parts of the collection. All this does not necessarily solve disputes, but at least the circumstances & location of the acquisition are noted.

Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo)

29 June – 5 July 2006
Issue No. 801
Museum of the oppressed
The first major museum to be built in Paris for 30 years opened in the French capital last week, the cause of great public excitement and not a little controversy, writes David Tresilian

After 10 years of planning, more than five years of work, and with the personal prestige of the French head of state riding on its success, the musée du quai Branly, latest addition to the French capital’s already impressive collection of museums, opened in Paris last week.
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Greece now has the infrastructure to accomodate Elgin Marbles

Posted at 7:09 pm in Acropolis, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Greek culture minister Giorgos Voulgarakis has given another statement on the progress of the Acropolis restoration & the New Acropolis Museum. He noted “Greece now has the infrastructure to accommodate all the missing parts of the Parthenon.” This is an important point, as once the museum is completed; it will effectively remove one of the arguments that has repeatedly been used in the past for why the Elgin Marbles can not be returned – the lack of a suitable place to house them.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday June 29, 2006
Hitch in Acropolis restoration

Restoration work on the Acropolis monuments has hit “another small delay” but this should not hinder the overall course of the project, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday after touring the ancient site.

The ministry will release further funding, if necessary, to tackle the latest glitches, which have arisen in the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon’s vestibule, Voulgarakis said. Since 1999, more than 28 million euros has been spent on restoring the Acropolis, the minister said, noting that 86 percent of these funds came from the European Union. Voulgarakis said cutting-edge technology would be used to analyze the condition of the Acropolis’s peripheral walls, which will also be restored.
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June 28, 2006

Debevec’s Parthenon

Posted at 9:45 pm in Acropolis

Computer graphics researcher Paul Debevec created an amazingly realistic visualisation of the Parthenon based on three-dimensional scans of the monument. The film which was made from this model was first shown at SIGGRAPH in 2004.
The film will be shown again at the 2006 Festival of Visual Effects.

Animation World Network

VES Festival to Highlight Shorts and Other Special Programs
June 28, 2006

The 2006 Festival of Visual Effects will feature a lineup of revolving showcases highlighting the creativity of digital visual effects artists from the earliest pioneers to the latest innovators. These four different programs will complement the previously announced schedule of panels and presentations being held at this year’s Festival, July 6-8, at the famed Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. Each program will be scheduled at least once per day and will be shown at the Steven Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre complex.

Visual Effects Society (VES) exec director Eric Roth noted: “…Seeing the short films we’re screening in a terrific room like the Spielberg Theatre is a rare opportunity and we’re expecting not only working professionals, but students and fans of film to take advantage of it.”
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June 27, 2006

Iraq & Afghanistan’s looted culture

Posted at 9:37 pm in Similar cases

Illegal acquisitions of artefacts have always been happening – nowadays there are many laws & treaties in place that intent to prevent such acts occurring. Recent experiences in Iraq & Afghanistan suggest that unfortunately a thriving international market in looted artefacts still exists.

BBC News

Spoils of war
By Lisa Jardine

The theft of art during war has always taken place, says Lisa Jardine. But the recent plundering of historic remains in Iraq and Afghanistan threatens the permanent loss of the record of ancient civilisations.

I went to look at a painting at Christie’s on Monday, by the early-20th-Century Austrian artist Egon Schiele. Wilted Sunflowers is a largish landscape – about a metre square.
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June 26, 2006

Patrimony of cultural artefacts

Posted at 9:11 pm in Similar cases

Laws to protect cultural property do not always work in the ways that their curators intended. In Turkey for instance the result of discovering an artefact may have completely different outcomes depending on whether or not the official that you report it to is corrupt.
Countries that have lost much of their heritage to the great museums of the west can not sit back & buy into the post rationalised preservationist logic now expounded by these museums. Rarely were artefacts removed from their context to preserve them – in almost every case they were taken (in most cases without permission) because someone wanted them to ad to their collection, or in form of reparations following invasion of a country or suppression of an uprising amongst the countries indigenous inhabitants.

The New Anatolian (Turkey)

Patrimony of cultural artifacts
Recep Guvelioglu
26 June 2006

The matter of stolen artifacts and looted historical treasures has been one of the most important and ongoing issues in Turkey. When I visited the Ephesus Museum in Vienna and the Pergamum (Bergama) Museum in Berlin, and saw many artifacts from Anatolia at the Louvre, the British Museum and Dumbarton Oaks, my first reaction was to curse at the looters and the international system that gives an opportunity to looters and thieves. But when I learned that the Germans dug an enormous shelter for the Pergamum Altar during World War II to protect it from bombings and all the other museums took similar measures, my view changed quickly. Even though Turkey lost those unique historical treasures, at least humanity possessed them. Today many people from all around the world can visit these museums. In addition, what happened to some of the historical treasures in Turkey is well known. The Greek columns of Side, for instance, were burned just to get lime to build brick houses. Read the rest of this entry »

June 25, 2006

Lend & receive

Posted at 8:06 pm in British Museum

When assembling major exhibitions, galleries spend large amounts of time sorting out reciprocal agreements – they will borrow a piece of another institution on the basis that they will lend something else back at a point in the future. This process of lending as well a borrowing encourages greater cooperation in future when something is requested by that museum.

For museums which have pieces that other institutions would like to borrow, this process can put them in a powerful position allowing them to negotiate specific terms to their advantage.

Greece has on numerous occasions offered to offer other significant artefacts in exchange for the return of the Elgin Marbles – a similar agreement to those for exhibitions – but on a longer term basis. This offer has always been rejected by the British Museum.

Los Angeles Times

June 25, 2006
Borrowed imagery
It’s a delicate balance as L.A. museums lend sought-after works so they too can receive.
By Suzanne Muchnic, Times Staff Writer

JOHN CONSTABLE’S breathtaking country landscape, “View on the Stour Near Dedham,” is not in its place of honor at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Neither is its turbulent companion piece, “Flatford Mill From the Lock.” They have flown off to London to play a vital role in the Tate Britain’s historic exhibition of the British artist’s 6-foot landscapes and related oil sketches. Come fall, the show — Huntington pictures included — will move on to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The Huntington’s Flemish masterpiece, “Madonna and Child” by Rogier van der Weyden, remains on view in San Marino, but not for long. From November through May it will be in “Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych,” opening at the National Gallery and traveling to the Royal Museum of Fine Art in Antwerp, Belgium.
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June 24, 2006

Why museums should sell to acquire

Posted at 9:06 pm in British Museum

Simon Jenkins, a former editor of The Times who has voiced opinions in the past that the Elgin Marbles should be returned looks at how museums in Britain could easily solve all their financial problems. Anti-deaccessioning laws such as the British Museum Act are frequently used as a justification for why it is difficult for the marbles to be returned – the reality is that if there was a will by the museums & the government to take such an action then the changes needed to the law would present only a very minor obstruction to the process.

The Guardian

This miser’s hoard is the last vestige of the imperial world-view
The museums plead poverty while sitting on piles of hidden art. Like US galleries, they ought to sell to acquire
Simon Jenkins
Friday June 23, 2006
The Guardian

There are experts and there are art experts. Experts I admire. Art experts are mostly fruitcakes. I was therefore on raisin watch this week when Gustav Klimt’s gold-encrusted Adele Bloch-Bauer I was declared (in the Guardian, no less) to be “worth more” than the £73m world record it had just fetched. Worth more what? Surely not money. Was it the value of the gold if you scraped it off?

The New York cosmetics tycoon Ronald Lauder agreed. He compared the Adele to the Mona Lisa, which is pushing things, but then he had just bought it. The Herald Tribune declared it a masterpiece. Pundits at the Times declared that Klimt’s work was “about life as set in the context of eternity”, not to mention “an icon of complicated vulnerabilities … sumptuous patterns and the lustre of undulating shapes”. The paragon will now hang in Lauder’s exquisite Neue Galerie New York, on Fifth Avenue opposite the Metropolitan.
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A digital future for the past

Posted at 8:42 pm in Greece Archaeology

Only in the last few years have museums been able to take advantage of computer technology to recreate virtual representations of monuments or artefacts to enable visitors to understand them better. New technology being developed means that soon it may be possible to recreate the context of the entire ancient city surrounding sites such as the Athenian Acropolis as well.

IST Results

Probing past memories in a digital future

Most of us find it rather hard to picture ancient times when viewing old bones and stone fragments in dusty museum display cabinets. Now archaeological artefacts can come alive with the help of European research that uses augmented reality, computer game and 3D-image technology to illustrate the past.

“It is sometimes hard to get a good idea of what it is you see when all you see is ruins,” says Tijl Vereenooghe, from the University of Leuven, one of the partners in the IST-funded EPOCH project.
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June 23, 2006

Getty may return artefacts to Italy

Posted at 8:51 pm in Similar cases

In an important change from their original position on restitution issues, the Getty has agreed in principle to return a number of artefacts to Italy. What is particularly interesting about this news is the statement that the Italians have agreed to “provide loans of objects of comparable visual beauty and historical importance. “This is very similar to the terms that the Greeks have previously offered in exchange for the return of the Elgin Marbles. It is also noted that resolving their differences will facilitate much greater cooperation in future between the Getty & institutions in Italy.

New York Times

June 22, 2006
Getty Museum May Return ‘Masterpieces’ to Italy

ROME, June 21 — The J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles has agreed to return some “significant objects” to Italy from its collection of Etruscan and Roman art, including “several masterpieces,” the trust announced Wednesday in a joint statement with the Italian government.

Although few details were provided, the breakthrough seems to pave the way for a settlement to Italy’s claims to dozens of antiquities in the Getty Museum’s collection. Italy has long argued that those objects were looted from Italian soil in recent decades and sold to the Getty by unscrupulous dealers.
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June 22, 2006

Chirac & the Elgin Marbles debate

Posted at 8:29 pm in Similar cases

The Times is not convinced by French President Jacques Chirac’s portrayal of the new Museé du Quai Branly as somehow sidestepping issues of ownership of cultural property. Chirac claims that it is a museum of the world, “dedicated to the dialogue between cultures and civilisations”. No one who looks into the actual stories behind the acquisition of many of the artefacts in this museum will be fooled for long about how they were really acquired. The French have said before that we should not necessarily judge the past by the rules of the present – but on the same basis, we should not try & justify the past by distorting it to fit what is acceptable in the present either.

The Times

The Times
June 21, 2006
Epitaph for a botched President
Tom Dyckhoff

Jacques Chirac wanted to leave his mark on Paris, but his new museum is more like a blot
Paris is the city that invented the modern-day icon project, indeed is composed almost entirely of them. Its landscape has been reworked by successive rulers — Louis XIV, Napoleon, President Mitterrand — as their epitaph, stamping the capital with grands projets in their image (l’état, et l’architecture, c’est moi), while burying political sins with good old-fashioned bread and circuses.

Yesterday President Chirac opened his own projet, the Musée du Quai Branly, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower beside the Seine, the biggest new museum to open in Paris since President Pompidou’s in 1977. Beaubourg exorcised the spirit of ’68. Can Quai Branly, Chirac’s valedictory gift as he shuffles off the world stage, be his epitaph and the saviour of modern, sullen, Paris?
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June 17, 2006

The Elgin Marbles as a logo

Posted at 9:18 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology

The Greek Ministry of culture has announced that they will be using a new logo – based on the Caryatid from the Erechtheion which was removed from the temple by Lord Elgin & is now in the British Museum.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Friday June 16, 2006
Culture redesign

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis unveiled yesterday a new logo for his ministry based on the Caryatid which is on display at the British Museum in London. He said the ministry had decided to replace its logo after a survey suggested that Greeks did not connect with the previous image of an ancient column. Voulgarakis added that the new logo would help make Greek culture more recognizable.

Art museums & ownership isues

Posted at 9:11 pm in Similar cases

Prompted by the rise in restitution cases involving American museums (such as that of the Euphronios Krater), the Washington Post looks at the trade in looted artefacts & how museums are dealing with the problems that this creates.

Washington Post

Art Museums Wrestle With Ownership Issue
The Associated Press
Friday, June 16, 2006; 4:41 PM

— Anthropologist Bennet Bronson recalls working on an archaeological dig in Thailand for months, then returning the next year to discover that the site had been destroyed by looters who used backhoes and machine guns.

Cultural heritage expert Patty Gerstenblith relates stories of plunderers in China walking around with auction house catalogs to determine what artifacts they should target to bring in the most money.
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