Showing results 1 - 12 of 32 for the month of September, 2008.

September 28, 2008

Nationalism & looted cultural property

Posted at 9:58 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Some such as James Cuno, see reunification requests for looted artefacts as cultural nationalism. It is always implied that this is an inherently bad thing, although the issue is never fully discussed. If a country lost part of its national identity, surely it should be allowed to rebuild it, rather than only being defined by what was left behind by the museums & institutions of the west?

From:
Modern Ghana

IS NATIONALISM AS SUCH A DANGEROUS PHENOMENON FOR CULTURE AND STOLEN/LOOTED CULTURAL PROPERTY?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sun, 28 Sep 2008

“The charge of nationalism (whether outdated or au courant) is frequently levelled at those seeking the repatriation of cultural treasures to those nations and communities from which they were extracted. But nations have always used their own material culture as a means of constructing and expressing their national identity. There is nothing implicitly damaging or divisive in that. However it becomes so when the objects being used are not indigenous to that country but instead material extracted from other nations during periods of imperial conquest or colonial adventure.” Tom Flynn (1)
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September 26, 2008

Recognising the illegality of looted artefacts

Posted at 9:49 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes on the return of the Palermo Fragment from the Parthenon frieze earlier this week & how the British attitude differs from the that of the Italians.

From:
Modern Ghana

ITALY RETURNS PARTHENON FRAGMENT
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Fri, 26 Sep 2008

Italy has returned to Greece, a piece of the Parthenon, “Palermo fragment” which has been missing from Athens for 200 years. The fragment showing the right foot of the Greek hunting goddess Artemis and part of her robe had been in the collection of the Antonio Salinas Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Italy. (1)

How did this fragment from the Parthenon end in Palermo? It was part of the marbles removed by the infamous Lord Elgin, then British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire which was occupying Greece. Elgin gave the fragment as gift to the British Consul-General of Sicily in 1816 and took the bulk of the sculptures to London where they are now in the British Museum. Greece has been demanding their return ever since then but to no avail. (2)
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September 25, 2008

The return of the Palermo Fragment

Posted at 9:43 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

A press release from the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles following the return of the Palermo fragment of the Parthenon Sculptures earlier this week.

From:
British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

Press Release
The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles welcomes the return of the ‘Palermo fragment’ to Athens

YESTERDAY 24 September 2008, the President of the Italian Republic, on a state visit to Greece, brought with him, to present to his Greek counterpart, the ‘Palermo fragment’ from Slab VI of the East Frieze of the Parthenon on the Acropolis at Athens. It had spent more than two hundred years in Sicily, after being acquired by a British consul and passed on to the Salinas Museum in Palermo. It portrays, in exquisite detail, the draped lower leg, ankle and foot of a seated goddess, probably Artemis. It will immediately take its place in an inaugural exhibition of returned artefacts, at the brilliantly-designed New Acropolis Museum.
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Lewis Chessmen to be discussed

Posted at 9:37 am in British Museum, Similar cases

After a lot of coverage at the start of the year, it appears that efforts to secure the return of the Lewis Chessmen to Scotland are still underway, with the Scottish Culture Minister due to meet Neil MacGregor to discuss the issue.

From:
Stornoway Gazette

Chessmen could celebrate ‘Homecoming’ on Lewis
25 September 2008
By Michelle Robson

THE LEWIS Chessmen could be coming home next year as part of Scotland’s national celebrations.
2009 is the Year of the Homecoming and Scottish Ministers are hoping the British Museum will agree to return the historical items to their finding place.

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said this week that she was due to meet the Director of the British Museum on October 6 to discuss the issue further.
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Parthenon fragment from Palermo returns for Nostoi exhibition

Posted at 9:25 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum, Similar cases

The return by others of artefacts that were once part of the Elgin marbles (e.g. the Palermo Fragment), can only be seen as strengthening Greece’s position & adding to the pressure on the British Museum.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Italy returns Elgin Marbles fragment to Greece
Italy has given back to Greece a fragment of the Parthenon sculptures – increasing pressure on Britain to return the Elgin Marbles.
By Nick Squires In Rome
Last Updated: 6:01PM BST 24 Sep 2008

The 2,500-year-old section of marble was presented to the Greek government by Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, as a gesture of goodwill between the two Mediterranean countries.

The 14-by-13-inch artifact consists of a foot and part of a dress hem from a sculpture of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
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September 24, 2008

More on the Palermo fragment return

Posted at 1:16 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum, Similar cases

Further coverage of the return of the Palermo fragment from the Parthenon Sculptures. The move to repatriate the piece ties in with the opening of the Nostoi exhibition in the New Acropolis Museum, displaying looted artefacts that Italy has recovered in recent years.

It is also worth mentioning that tow more fragments (both currently in the Vatican) are also expected to return to Athens shortly.

From:
Sydney Morning Herald

Italy returns long lost Parthenon fragment to Greece
September 24, 2008 – 2:05AM

Italy has returned to Greece the ‘Palermo fragment’, a marble piece of the Athens Parthenon missing for nearly 200 years, officials said Tuesday.

The sculpted fragment of the ancient Greek hunt goddess Artemis, part of the eastern Parthenon frieze depicting the twelve gods of Olympus, had been in the collection of the Antonio Salinas Archaeological Museum of Palermo.
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A piece of the Parthenon sculptures is returned

Posted at 12:43 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Following occasional hints in the preceding weeks from the Greek press & yesterday’s meeting of Greek & Italian presidents, the Palermo fragment from the Parthenon frieze has now been returned on loan to Athens.

This is not the first piece from the Parthenon sculptures to be returned, but follows on from the reunification of another smaller piece by Heidelberg University two years previously.

The Palermo fragment return has a long history to it & efforts have been ongoing to secure its loan despite previous attempts that failed. It was originally taken from Greece by Lord Elgin & found its way to Palermo as a gift, separated from the remaining Elgin Marbles in London.

The British Museum have tried in the past to argue that the Parthenon Sculptures are spread across many different locations & that their institution should not be specifically be targeted. The number of other institutions holding on to fragments of the sculptures is rapidly falling though, making the British Museum’s argument progressively weaker.

From:
Associated Press

Italy returns piece of Parthenon Marbles to Greece
By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS – 15 hours ago

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has finally taken possession of a chunk of the Elgin Marbles, and now holds renewed hopes of regaining the rest.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday presented Greek authorities with a small piece of sculpture from the Parthenon kept in a museum in Palermo, Sicily, for the past 200 years.
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September 23, 2008

Greek & Italian presidents meet

Posted at 12:59 pm in Elgin Marbles

Greek president Karolos Papoulias has met with his Italian counterpart. What is relevant about this though, is that for the first time in any English language press (it has previously been covered in the Greek media) it notes that the Palermo fragment of the Parthenon frieze is going to be returned.

From:
Athens News Agency

09/23/2008
Papoulias meets Italian president

President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday met with his visiting Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano.

Papoulias particularly thanked Napolitano for the gesture of the return of a fragment of the Parthenon frieze from Palermo, which he said acquired particular gravity at a time when Greece was seeking the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.
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September 19, 2008

Nigeria’s claims for the return of looted artefacts

Posted at 12:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku looks at how widely spread the Benin Bronzes are amongst museums of the west – but few of these institutions show any indication of willingness to enter into negotiations about how they might be repatriated.

From:
AllAfrica

Nigeria: The Quest of Reclaiming Stolen Cultural Objects from Western Countries
Vanguard (Lagos)
ANALYSIS
21 September 2008
Kwame Opoku

Last Thursday, on our Arts and Book Review pages, we published an article titled ‘Western countries may return stolen Benin artifacts if…”, where the spokeswoman of the Art Institute in Chicago, United States, Erin Hogan, was said to have expressed the willingness of the Western countries to return stolen Benin artifacts to the country if asked to do so by the Nigerian government.
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Behind the scenes at the Met

Posted at 12:45 pm in Similar cases

A book due out next year by Michael Gross looks behind the scenes at the Met – in particular, how they made some of their acquisitions & whether they really did believe that they were always acting in good faith. The author tells me that quite a bit of previously unknown information will be revealed in the book.

Perhaps this will offer an interesting antidote to James Cuno’s book, giving the other side of the story of how a universal museum actually operates.

From:
New York Post

MUSEUM EXPOSÉ
September 17, 2008

ONE unwelcome chore for Thomas Campbell, director-elect of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be the repercussions from “Rogues’ Gallery” by Michael Gross – the exposé Campbell’s predecessor, Philippe de Montebello, failed to stop. Though it’s not due out until spring, it’s already ruffling feathers. Among its revelations is the real reason why the Met returned its Euphronios vase and other looted objects to Italy this year: Italian prosecutors threatened to indict the museum’s emeritus antiquities curator, Dietrich von Bothmer, and put the wheel-chair-bound nonagenarian on trial if the treasures weren’t returned. Just like that, they were.

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September 18, 2008

Restoration of Parthenon frieze casts

Posted at 12:58 pm in Elgin Marbles

More information on the casts of the Parthenon sculptures in Edinburgh that are soon to be restored.

From:
The Scotsman

Wednesday, 17th September 2008
College carves out art grant for its forgotten sculptures
Published Date: 17 September 2008
By CATHERINE SALMOND

THEY may have been based on some of the world’s most famous and bitterly contested works of art, but until recently they were gathering dust in a city cupboard.

Now a collection of sculptures, which are one-off copies of the Elgin marbles, are to take pride of place at the Edinburgh College of Art – thanks to a £500,000 makeover.
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Two hundred year struggle over the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:52 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum, Similar cases

Developments such as the New Acropolis Museum mean that the Elgin Marbles may be closer to returning than they once were, but they are still a long way from Greece.

From:
Balkan Travellers

Ancient Greece’s Elgin Marbles Stand at the Centre of a 200-Year Long Great Ado
Text by Ekaterina Petrova

During his term as British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the nineteenth century, Thomas Bruce, Seventh Earl of Elgin, already knew his actions were controversial and that he might go down in history as a “vandal.” But he most likely did not anticipate that, 200 years on, the heated international dispute he caused would continue to rage with full force.

Almost two centuries after the British diplomat controversially acquired and brought to Britain precious pieces of the Acropolis in Athens, the British Museum still refused to return them to Greece. The Elgin Marbles have in the past couple of decades become emblematic for disputes over the ownership of cultural heritage objects between wealthier countries and nations that boast ancient sites on their territory.
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