Showing results 25 - 34 of 34 for the month of February, 2008.

February 8, 2008

The flaws in John Carr’s arguments

Posted at 1:53 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Some more responses to John Carr’s provocative statements about the Elgin Marbles in Athens News. Including his own correction of some of the errors in his original narrative.

Athens News

No. 13272
Letters to the editor


Four million see Elgin Marbles
THERE’S many a slip… Somehow, out of the digital mysteries of emailing, a zero emerged where it shouldn’t have. My letter in the January 18 issue should have read that 4 million, not 40 million, people see the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum each year. My many critics may thus calm down. To err this time was in-human; though to forgive will be Duveen.
John Carr

Carr’s arguments flawed…
IN RESPONSE to John Carr’s letter (January 18) I would like to correct his flawed arguments. Firstly, concerning Carr’s statement “the Marbles, which were acquired fully in accordance with the administrative rules of the Ottoman Empire, which was the legitimate authority of the Balkans at that time”. To justify the Ottoman rule of Greece would mean that the War of Independence in 1821 was illegal. Using Carr’s own argument, Britain itself acted illegally then for aiding the Greek people to liberate themselves from the Ottoman Turks. The truth is Lord Elgin (Thomas Bruce) took the Marbles illegally while Greece was occupied. He took them not even for his country, but rather to decorate his mansion in Scotland. Only after he lost his fortune did the British Museum acquire them.
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February 6, 2008

The archaeologist’s viewpoint

Posted at 1:57 pm in Similar cases

After his interview with James Cuno, Richard Lacayo has interviewed an archaeologist for an alternative viewpoint on the problems of sharing & exchange between archaeologists & host countries.

Time Magazine Blogs

February 4, 2008 5:37
A Talk With: Alex Barker
Posted by Richard Lacayo

After my recent conversation with Jim Cuno, the director of the Art Institute of Chicago, I thought I would get in touch with a prominent archeologist to see what he thought of Cuno’s proposal for a return to partage, the practice whereby source nations used to share some of the finds from archeological digs with the foreign museums or universities that financed the digs and provided the archeologists. Alex W. Barker is the director of the Museum of Art & Archeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and chair of the Ethics Committee of the Society for American Archeology.

LACAYO: Many people outside of these debates don’t understand the idea of archeological site damage. Could you name a particularly painful instance?
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February 4, 2008

How do museums create their collections

Posted at 2:25 pm in Similar cases

The Iconoclasm blog has an interesting piece on the signs in the Brooklyn Museum, stating clearly their acquisitions policies. I’m not sure what some other institutions would have to write (that would be truthful) if they had to put similar notices in their own galleries.

Read the original article, along with an image of the sign in question here.

Indonesia demands return of historic stone from Scotland

Posted at 2:10 pm in Similar cases

Indonesia appears to have taken advantage of the current wave of interest in restitution issues in Scotland stemming from the Lewis Chessmen to demand the return of a four tonne inscribed stone. It remains to be seen whether Scotland feel the issues are so important once they are sitting on the opposite side of the argument.

The Scotsman

Published Date: 04 February 2008
Source: The Scotsman
Location: Scotland
Indonesia demands historic stone back
By Tristan Stewart-Robertson

AN ANCIENT Indonesian carving given to a British diplomat almost 200 years ago as a gift has become the latest relic involved in intricate discussions about its repatriation.
Government ministers in Jakarta have confirmed they are negotiating for the return of the four-tonne Minto Stone, on which is carved in ancient script of the history of the island of Java.

It has been part of the Minto family estate near Hawick, Roxburghshire, since 1812, after it was given to the 1st Earl of Minto by explorer Stamford Raffles, and is now overseen by the family’s Minto Trust.
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Stalemate over the Lewis Chessmen

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

Chess playing analogies continue, as the Sunday Herald looks at some of the history behind the disputed Lewis Chessmen.

Sunday Herald (Scotland)

February 04, 2008
Stale mate

They were made in Norway. Lost en route to Ireland. Washed up in Scotland. Now most of them are on display in England. But which country can justly lay claim to the Lewis chessmen? By Allan Burnett

WHO OWNS the Lewis Chessmen? For the SNP government in Edinburgh and their Labour opponents in London, squabbling over whether this huddle of priceless medieval artefacts belongs in Scotland or England, the answer might seem obvious. But the fact they are contesting the issue at all, and that their conclusions directly contradict each other, only goes to prove that the answer is very far from clear. In fact, the truth about the Lewis Chessmen is infinitely more complex and colourful than the usual black-and-white certainties common to the games of politics and chess.
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February 3, 2008

A debate to make you loose your marbles

Posted at 1:52 pm in Elgin Marbles

Some more information on the involvement of Stelios Hadji-Ioannou with a debate on the Parthenon Marbles.

Financial Times

A debate that could make you lose your marbles
By Peter Aspden
Published: February 2 2008 02:00 | Last updated: February 2 2008 02:00

“It makes sense,” says Stelios Haji-Ioannou, purveyor of all things easy and orange, and showing a fine predisposition for Socratic irony, “for easyCruise to be associated with an academic debate of the highest standard.” So the travel company, which specialises in inexpensive tourism, is sponsoring a Cambridge Union debate on the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. But does it make sense? Really?

I suspect I am not alone in identifying easyJet and its various offshoots with experiences that are less than exalted. Easy on the pocket, yes. But rarely comfortable and frequently vexing. That’s fine. I have nothing against cheap and cheerful, still less against the notion of an affordable cruise that encompasses the best of classical Greece – Mycenae, Delphi, Olympia, unmissable treats, all of them.
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February 2, 2008

US museum returns historic wig to UK

Posted at 1:50 pm in Similar cases

It is a very small part of the museum’s collection – but it is significant as an example of their thinking process that a US museum has decided to return an item from their collection to an institution in the UK. Not only did they decide to return it, but this decision was made without being forced through by any form of request from the other parties involved. They refer to it as a change in the way museums operate – it will be interesting to see if other institutions apply this same reasoning to their collections in future.

News Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois)

Hairpiece in county museum being returned to England
By Paul Wood
Friday, February 1, 2008 2:12 PM CDT

Remember good ol’ Abe Lincoln, trying cases in Urbana and Danville in that big white horsehair wig of his? Of course you don’t. It’s those Brits who have historically worn wigs in English courts. Lincoln wouldn’t have been caught dead in one, even though he was once a member of the Whig Party.

So Champaign County’s Early American Museum, located in Mahomet, doffed the wig it had displayed over the course of 40 years, once owned by a man named Beard, and sent it packing back across the pond.
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February 1, 2008

James Cuno, preservation versus access & cultural identity

Posted at 1:52 pm in Similar cases

James Cuno, director of the Art Institute of Chicago, talks about some of the issues facing museums today, in particular, those of restitution issues & cultural identity.

Time Magazine Blogs

January 27, 2008 1:47
A Talk With: James Cuno
Posted by Richard Lacayo

James Cuno, director of the Art Institute of Chicago, was in New York last week. He arrived with the architect Renzo Piano for a press luncheon about the new wing for modern art that Piano has designed for the Institute. Before lunch I sat down with him to talk about a different topic, antiquities.

The Art Institute is not a big collector in that area and it hasn’t been among the collections targeted by Francesco Rutelli, the Italian culture minister who’s been demanding, and getting, so many things back from American museums. But Jim is a well respected spokesman for the concerns of the museum world generally. (And yeah, yeah, he’s on everybody’s short list of possible candidates to succeed Philippe de Montebello as director of the Met in New York.) In May he’ll also be publishing a new book, Who Owns Antiquity?, which I’ve been reading lately with interest.
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New Greek laws on cultural property

Posted at 12:09 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

New laws can help with recent cases involving illegally acquired artefacts – but can rarely apply directly to items outside a country’s own legal jurisdiction. Anything like this though that can help prevent future cases is to be welcomed.

Balkan Travellers

Balkan Travellers
1 February 2008
The Greek Ministry of Culture proposed a law to regulate various rights regarding Greek unmovable and movable cultural monuments.

The rights concern a set of issues, such as acquisition, changes in ownership, mandatory registration and cases in which the monuments can be expropriated and the claimants compensated, as well as collectors’ practices.

The law, which needs to be approved by Parliament before coming into force, also attempts to broaden the authority of national courts in international disputes concerning antiques that were found in Greece.
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The Lewis Chessmen saga continues

Posted at 12:03 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

No one thought that the rubbishing of attempts by Scotland to secure return of the Lewis Chessmen could be the end of the story.

The Scotsman

Published Date: 30 January 2008
Source: The Scotsman
Location: Scotland
Burning issue
Should the Lewis chessmen be brought back to Scotland?


Margaret Hodge, UK culture minister

I AM delighted to see the impact that my argument against returning the Lewis chessmen to Scotland has had. I was keen to provoke a debate, and did my best to stir the pot by stretching the argument for returning them to ever more absurd lengths. I was not entirely serious in suggesting that Mr Salmond would turn his sights next to stripping out the pink granite of the Albert Memorial and shipping it back to Mull. But you never know…

But beneath the banter, I was trying to draw out a real point about culture – and our feelings for it – in the shrinking world of the 21st century. In a nutshell, what I believe is that culture – whether it’s works of art, great literature, music or fine craftsmanship – should be available for all. And this is because it enriches everyone. Its relevance and impact is universal. It is part of what defines us as human beings and, crucially, provides a tangible link between our present and our past. It should not primarily be an instrument of the tourist industry, nor an icon of nationalism, although it can support both. No, culture is what ties us together. I believe that those who would pull everything back to its alleged point of origin are working against this. It is insular, it excludes, it divides us, and it is wrong.
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