Showing results 1 - 12 of 31 for the month of December, 2008.

December 30, 2008

Opposition to demolition of building near New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 1:47 pm in Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

I am not entirely clear why this is a news item again – as nothing seems to have changejd significantly in the case since the decision by Greece’s Central Archaeological Council earlier this year. Similarly, the protests about the issue are nothing new.

From:
The Times

December 29, 2008
Opposition grows to Athens Art Deco demolition
Marcus Binney, Architecture Correspondent

Plans to demolish a handsome Art Deco house that will block the view from the café of the new Acropolis Museum are prompting opposition from around the world. The front of the large four-storey mansion is faced in finely veined panels of pink marble with Deco sculpture and colourful mosaic panels. It was designed in 1930 by Vasilios Kouremenos, a leading member of the Athens Academy who worked in Paris, Istanbul and Dublin. The house was initially to be preserved but has now been delisted by the Ministry of Culture.
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December 29, 2008

British Museum director is Briton of the Year

Posted at 1:36 pm in British Museum

According to the Times Newspaper, British Museum Director Neil MacGregor is the Briton of the Year. Whilst this may or may not be the case, the articles do seem to take a very similar tone to the sycophantic ones about the museum published in the summer.

One also has to put things in perspective – there are some achievements at the museum that can be credited to Neil MacGregor, but many others can not. For example, the Great Court was planned & under construction for many years before he started working there – which also led to reduced visitor figures in the prior period, as the museum felt like a building site much of the time. Similarly, he took over at a time when international visitor figures were severely reduced due to people not wanting to travel after 9-11.

He may have managed to steer the museum down a different route from the one it was taking – but it needs far more changes if it is to become an institution for the twenty-first century.

From:
The Times

December 27, 2008
Briton of the Year: Neil MacGregor
‘Saint’ whose charm and enthusiasm had a curative effect on the British Museum
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, Chief Art Critic

Saint Neil is his nickname. And we are blessed to have him. The British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, is far more than just the highly successful administrator of an iconic national establishment. He is a committed idealist who, in a world in which culture is increasingly presented as the acceptable face of politics, has pioneered a broader, more open, more peaceable way forward.

This year we almost lost him. He was being courted to replace Philippe de Montebello as the head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
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Egypt’s restitutions in 2008

Posted at 1:30 pm in Similar cases

This article is about Archaeology in Egypt in 2008 – which due to the events of the past year, means that there is a lot of focus on restitution cases. (The relevant section is towards the end of the article)

From:
Daily Star (Egypt)

2008: the year of archaeological restorations
By Ahmed Maged
First Published: December 26, 2008

CAIRO: While stunning archaeological revelations are expected to make headlines by the beginning of 2009, archaeology-enthusiasts were let down by unfulfilled promises of exciting excavations made in 2008.

What marked the year 2008, however, were the landmark restorations that highlighted archaeological events, especially in the field of Islamic architecture.
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December 28, 2008

The return of Amenhotep III

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

Further coverage of Egypt’s success in securing the return of a looted artefact depicting the head of Amenhotep III.

From:
Al Ahram (Egypt)

25 – 31 December 2008
Issue No. 927
The return of Amenhotep III

EGYPTIAN archaeologists were in high spirits this week as a greywacke head of the 18th Dynasty King Amenhotep III was returned to Egypt after two decades of being shunted back and forth between Switzerland, Britain and the US, reports Nevine El-Aref.

The distinctive features, with full cheeks, wide, raised and slightly arched eyebrows above elongated but sharply edged narrow eyes, are a supreme example of the sculptural style that dominated King Amenhotep III’s reign. Originally part of a larger statue of Amenhotep III, the head is thought to have been made in the studios located within the Ptah Temple enclosure at Memphis, near the Saqqara necropolis.
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December 27, 2008

British Government monitoring the Elgin Marbles issue

Posted at 1:41 pm in Elgin Marbles

This article is not directly relevant, except that it reveals that the Parthenon Sculptures were one of the search terms monitored by the government. This shows that despite statements that it is entirely the responsibility of the British Museum, the government still feels that they also need to monitor the issue – meaning that it is on their radar if nothing else.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Government spends £16 million on spin
More than £16 million of taxpayers’ cash was spent in the last three years on keeping track of news items relating to the work of Government departments and quangos.
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:43AM GMT 24 Dec 2008

The Conservatives accused Gordon Brown and his ministers of being obsessed with spin, after new figures revealed the scale of the budget for “media monitoring”.

Statistics obtained by the party in a series of Parliamentary answers show that Whitehall departments and taxpayer-funded quangos and agencies have paid private consultancies at least £13 million to monitor news coverage since 2005.
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December 21, 2008

Britain will return Egyptian sculpture

Posted at 1:35 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the return of a sculpture of the head of Amenhotep III to Egypt from Britain.

From:
BBC News

Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008
Britain to return Egypt sculpture

An ancient sculpture of a pharaoh smuggled out of Egypt disguised as a tacky souvenir is to be returned home after almost 20 years.

Antiques restorer Jonathan Tokeley-Parry dipped the stone head of Amenhotep III in plastic and painted it black to make it resemble a cheap copy.
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December 20, 2008

Head of Amenhotep III returns to Egypt

Posted at 2:04 pm in Similar cases

A sculpture smuggled out of Egypt eighteen years ago by Jonathan Tokeley-Parry has been returned. What the article is unclear about, is why it took from 1999 (when it was recovered by police) until now for it to be returned.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Smuggled ancient sculpture returns to Egypt
A priceless sculpture which was expertly smuggled out of Egypt disguised as a cheap souvenir of itself is to be returned home.
By Sarah Knapton
Last Updated: 3:11PM GMT 19 Dec 2008

The Head of Amenhotep III, a pharaoh who died in 1375BC, was stolen 18 years ago by a British smuggler.

Jonathan Tokeley-Parry disguised the stone head as a souvenir, coating it in plastic and painting it black to make it appear to be a tacky copy of a historical artefact.
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December 17, 2008

Closure of the Acropolis due to strikes

Posted at 1:51 pm in Acropolis, New Acropolis Museum

This is not the first time that strikes have caused the closure of Greek archaeological sites such as the Acropolis. It does however in some news sources seem to have been caught up into the (entirely separate stories) of riots in the city. The site has now re-opened. If anything, such strikes serve to re-enforce the need for the New Acropolis Museum to operate in a new way to that currently used for Greece’s other state run institutions, to try & allow it to run more smoothly.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Friday December 12, 2008 – Archive
Sacred Rock shut due to temporal demands

The ancient site of the Acropolis and the Parthenon remained closed to visitors for the third consecutive day yesterday as Culture Ministry staff continued their strike over pay and benefits.

Protesting workers are complaining that a 150-euro bonus reportedly promised to them by Minister Michalis Liapis has not been included in the government’s budget for next year.
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December 14, 2008

Greece welcomes Byzantine icon return

Posted at 2:06 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

A Byzantine Icon was returned to Greece last month after being smuggled out of the country 30 years ago – the country still awaits the return of the Elgin Marbles however, which are seen as by far the most important reunification request.

From:
The Epoch Times

Greece Welcomes Return of Byzantine Icon
Culture minister still awaits returns of ‘Elgin’ marbles
Reuters Dec 14, 2008

ATHENS—Britain returned a 14th century Byzantine icon to Greek authorities last month, 30 years after it was stolen from a monastery in northern Greece, the Culture Ministry said.

The painting of Christ being taken down from the Cross was snatched from a monastery in the city of Serres in 1978 and discovered in 2002 in the hands of a Greek collector in London.
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When will Western museums return their looted artefacts?

Posted at 1:56 pm in Similar cases

Kwame Opoku talks about the accusations from museums that there is no formal demand for the return of artefacts – when in many cases there is a demand, but the institution would prefer to ignore it or not acknowledge it as a formal request.

From:
Afrikanet

Will western Museums now return some of the looted/stolen artefacts?
Datum: 14.12.08 21:46
Kategorie: Kultur-Kunst

Von: Dr. Kwame Opoku

FORMAL DEMAND FOR THE RETURN OF BENIN BRONZES: WILL WESTERN MUSEUMS NOW RETURN SOME OF THE LOOTED/STOLEN BENIN ARTEFACTS?

“The restitution of those cultural objects which our museums and collections, directly or indirectly, possess thanks to the colonial system and are now being demanded, must also not be postponed with cheap arguments and tricks.”
Gert v. Paczensky and Herbert Ganslmayr, Nofretete will nach Hause (1)

We have often heard from those holding on to the looted/stolen Benin artefacts that there has not been any demand for their return by the owners. This is, of course, a blatant lie which often reminds one of an absurd theatre piece. A performer states clearly a view point and immediately thereafter, another character tells the audience that so far no such statement has been made. We have the remarkable situation in which the King of Benin, the Oba, writes in an introductory note in the catalogue of the exhibition Benin: Kings and Rituals -Court Arts from Nigeria requesting the return of some of the Benin cultural artefacts. Almost immediately thereafter, we have directors of four museums organizing the exhibition with the co-operation of Nigeria declaring in a preface that they have no intention of returning these objects and advising the Nigerians to forget the past and look to the future. (2) The Benin demand was also stated by the Enogie of Obazuwa, brother of the Oba, at the opening of the exhibition on 9 May 2008. Some months after the exhibition in Vienna, the show which went to Paris (October 2, 2007-January 6, 2008) moved to Berlin (February 7-May 25, 2008) and we had people from the Berlin Ethnology Museum creating the impression that there had been no request for the return of the Benin bronzes even though at the opening of the exhibition, the Nigerian Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Prince Adetokumbo Kayode, had clearly stated the wish of the Nigerians to have back their cultural objects. (3) What kind of game is this?
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December 13, 2008

Should ancient art be given back?

Posted at 2:45 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Another review of Sharon Waxman’s new book on the looting of the ancient world by museums of the West.

From:
Forbes

Book Review
Give Me Back My Ancient Art
Judith H. Dobrzynski, 12.12.08, 12:00 AM EST
A battle rages between museums and countries of origin.

From time to time, the battle for antiquities that rages between museums, collectors and dealers on one side and governments and archaeologists on the other breaks into the headlines–”Bail Set in Greece for Ex-Getty Curator,” “Antiquities Trial in Rome Focuses on London Dealer” and the like.

The coverage rarely lasts long or goes deep; it tends to sympathize with the countries making claims. Most people probably shake their heads in disapproval of the looters, smugglers, museums and collectors, and turn the page.
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The barrier to compromise over the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 1:38 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The Financial Times has published various letters in response to their earlier article on what is required for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned.

From:
Financial Times

The real barrier to a compromise over Marbles
Published: December 6 2008 02:00 | Last updated: December 6 2008 02:00

From Prof John Kapranos Huntley.

Sir, It is refreshing to read a balanced commentary on the future of the Parthenon Marbles by someone who so clearly understands the conflicting feelings and aspirations that surround it (Peter Aspden, “A manifesto for the Marbles”, Life & Arts , November 29/30). A putative voice for reason and conciliation has been raised. What might drown it out is the underlying conflict over a matter the FT and its readership would hopefully go a long way to defend: property rights.

The Parthenon Marbles are not simply artefacts; they are fixtures attached to buildings on the Parthenon for more than 2,300 years until they were forcibly removed. They are not independent pieces of statuary or pottery to be crated around the “cultural” museums of the world.
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