Showing results 1 - 12 of 19 for the month of January, 2009.

January 27, 2009

Greece to give Iraq money and know how for museums

Posted at 1:32 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Greece is using some of the expertise that they have gained in the recovering of looted treasures to help Iraq to recover items lost in the chaos following the fall of Baghdad.

From:
Reuters

Greece to give Iraq money, know-how for museums
Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:53pm EST

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will give Iraq financial aid and expertise to help reconstruct its looted and war- stricken museums, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanni said on Tuesday.

Iraq had thousands of priceless antiquities plundered after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Most were stolen from Baghdad’s National Museum or damaged in the war, while others were removed from poorly-guarded archaeological sites across the country.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 25, 2009

A response to Alastair Bruce

Posted at 2:00 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku responds to the piece published earlier this month by Alastair Bruce – the great great great grandson of Lord Elgin.

From:
Afrikanet

Datum: 24.01.09 17:12
Kategorie: Kultur-Kunst
Von: Dr. Kwame Opoku
Response to the great great great grandson of Lord Elgin

Alastair Bruce may have a filial duty in respect of the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles and no one can criticise him for that. (http://www.sharonwaxman.com) After all, we are not responsible for the deeds or misdeeds of our ancestors. What he should really not expect from the rest of us is to buy the argument that his Great Great Great Grandfather, Lord Elgin, “wanted to preserve them from the destruction they faced, at a time when war and local indifference was grinding away at the edifice.” This is a baseless argument which has been used by all those who have taken illegally or in a questionable manner, the cultural objects of others. It is an extremely weak argument which does not gain credibility by being repeated often. Who preserved these objects before his Great Great Great Grandfather ever set foot in Athens?
Read the rest of this entry »

The Universal Museum – the way forward?

Posted at 1:50 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

In the anniversary lecture given by by Neil MacGregor, he predictably expounds the universal museum concept as the way forward for the British Museum. It should still be remembered that the whole Universal Museum concept is one pushed by the museum itself – no one appointed them to this role, it is not the only possible role for a museum & most importantly, the original owners of artefacts were never consulted about it.

The Universal Museum ideology neglects the circumstances of acquisition and the original context, focusing instead on the entity of the holding museum itself. This is not to say that it is without any benefits, but it should not be seen as a clear cut justification for perpetuating the status quo.

From:
The Times

January 25, 2009
British Museum director Neil MacGregor talks collections
An extract from Neil MacGregor’s anniversary lecture where he reflects on the great works made by humans throughout history

Neil MacGregor

It was 250 years ago this month that the British Museum first opened its doors to the public. When you visit the museum today, you visit somewhere that is like no other collection, no other building on earth. It is the only place where you can, in every sense, walk through the world, and through time, and look at the whole range of what humans have made and speculate as to what they have thought.

But the British Museum’s collection is a very odd one. There are great works of art in it, of course, such as the Iris from the Parthenon or Michelangelo’s only surviving study for Adam. But the British Museum is not a museum of art. And its collection has always led to contradiction with its name. It is a matter of bafflement to many people why it is called the British Museum when such a small percentage of the objects in it are British. But it is quintessentially British. It is effectively the first public institution to be called British — rather to our irritation, the British Linen Bank got there first. It was quintessentially British in 1753, when it was founded by parliament; and it is true today.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 22, 2009

Yves Saint Laurent and the Eighth Earl of Elgin

Posted at 1:40 pm in Similar cases

In Beijing, the Eighth Earl of Elgin has a similar reputation to that which his Father (The Seventh Earl) enjoys in Greece. China is now fighting back, trying to block auctions involving artefacts that were looted by the Eighth Earl.

From:
The Times

January 21, 2009
China tries to halt Yves Saint Laurent art sale
Charles Bremner in Paris and Jane Macartney in Beijing

China is trying to block the sale in Paris of two 18th-century bronze animal heads from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent, the late French couturier, because they were looted from Beijing by a marauding Franco-British army.

A team of Beijing lawyers is to lodge a suit with French courts to prevent the sale during a three-day auction by Christie’s from February 23.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 20, 2009

Universal museums & selective hearing

Posted at 2:30 pm in Similar cases

Returning of looted artefacts can often be seen simultaneously as a good thing & a bad thing by the same party, depending on what side of the argument they are on.

From:
Modern Ghana

Thomas Gaetgens on “Challenging the Encyclopaedic Museum – Berlin’s Museum Island” at the Art Institute of Chicago.
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Mon, 19 Jan 2009

I listened with great interest to the lecture by Thomas Gaehtgens on Challenging the Encyclopedic Museum – Berlin’s Museum Island at the Art Institute of Chicago.

His performance was quite remarkable. Even though he mentioned that the Russians had taken away artworks from Germany and that this constituted a problem between the two countries, he was silent about the artworks that the Germans had taken from other countries, such as Poland and the Benin Bronzes stolen from Nigeria by the British and sold to the Germans. Did these not constitute a problem for the Germans and for the “universal museum” or the “encyclopaedic museum” about which he spoke so eloquently? Obviously, he wasted no time on Nazi-looted art. Are the museums in Berlin not confronted with this problem?
Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt askes Sweden to return artefacts

Posted at 1:35 pm in Similar cases

The ever pugnacious Zahi Hawass has issued a formal request to Sweden asking for the return of 212 artefacts.

From:
International Herald Tribune

Egypt asks Sweden to return artifacts
The Associated Press
Published: January 19, 2009

CAIRO, Egypt: Egypt has formally asked Sweden for the return of 212 artifacts taken out of the country by a Swedish collector in mid 1920s, Egypt’s chief archaeologist said Monday.

Zahi Hawass, the head of the Council of Antiquities, said in a statement that the council’s lawyer has been in touch with Ostergotlands County Museum in Sweden.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 15, 2009

Time for a new era?

Posted at 1:26 pm in British Museum

The British Museum is celebrating its two 250th birthday. Maybe this should be seen as the ideal point for making a grand gesture regarding the disputed artefacts in their collection. The world has changed a lot since the founding of the museum – perhaps now, the museum can re-invent itself to once again lead the way in the world rather than dragging its heels whenever the issue of restitution is raised.

From:
The Times

January 15, 2009
It’s 1759 and all that … or the history you never learnt at school
Ben Hoyle, Arts Correspondent

[...]

One of the salient achievements of an extraordinary year will be celebrated at the British Museum, which opened 250 years ago today. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew were also new in 1759.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 14, 2009

Should all looted artefacts be returned?

Posted at 1:12 pm in Similar cases

A response to Norman Rosenthal’s statements about why museums should not return artefacts looted during the holocaust.

From:
Modern Ghana

RESPONSE TO JONATHAN JONES: “SHOULD ALL LOOTED ART BE RETURNED”?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Tue, 13 Jan 2009
Feature Article

“The public interest must surely be in upholding the rule of law, rather than promoting an international free-for-all through the unrestricted circulation of tainted works of art. Do we really wish to educate our children to have no respect for history, legality and ethical values by providing museums with the opportunity freely to exhibit stolen property? ”
Read the rest of this entry »

January 10, 2009

Museums should keep Nazi loot

Posted at 7:31 pm in Similar cases

In a move that goes against the accepted norm, Sir Norman Rosenthal is arguing that Nazi loot in museums should not be returned. An additional twist to the story is that Sir Norman Rosenthal is Jewish himself.

So. To recap – he is arguing that artefacts looted within living memory & presumably purchased without sufficient due diligence to highlight their provenance should now be regarded by everyone as completely legitimate property of the museums that now hold them, whilst the surviving heirs are left with nothing. I find it hard to see how this point of view benefits anyone other than the museums that he speaks on behalf of.

From:
Daily Mail

Museums should be able to keep artwork raided by the Nazis, says son of Jewish refugees
By Liz Thomas
Last updated at 5:26 PM on 09th January 2009

Former Royal Academy chief Sir Norman Rosenthal has provoked anger after arguing that museums should be able to keep Nazi looted artwork.

Sir Norman, who is the son of Jewish refugees who fled from Adolf Hitler to the UK, has called for museums to be allowed to keep pieces plundered by the Nazis, rather than being forced to return them to descendents of their owners.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sharon Waxman talks about the ownership of ancient artefacts

Posted at 1:58 pm in Events, Similar cases

Author Sharon Waxman is giving a talk at the University of North Florida about who owns ancient treasures.

Waxman has recently generated a lot of interest in the issue with her book: Loot.

From:
The Florida Times-Union

Ownership of ancient treasures focus of talk
Western museums are facing a fight for many centuries-old objects.
* By Jessie-Lynne Kerr
* Story updated at 6:13 AM on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009

The battle over who owns ancient treasures will be the subject of a lecture by author and award-winning journalist Sharon Waxman at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the University of North Florida’s University Center.

The event is sponsored by UNF and the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.
Read the rest of this entry »

Africa needs it’s cultural artefacts more than the West

Posted at 1:52 pm in Similar cases

Whilst some argue that Africa is not yet ready to receive returned artefacts, Kwame Opoku argues that the original owners will derive more importance from these sculptures than the West can.

From:
Afrikanet

Datum: 10.01.09 15:03
Kategorie: Kultur-Kunst
Von: Dr. Kwame Opoku
Africans need their cultural objects more than Europeans & Americans

My attention has been drawn to an interesting article entitled “Looted memorial statues returned to Kenyan family” (Text as pdf file to downlad at the end of this article) by Monica Udvardy and Linda Giles which appeared in SAFE (Saving Antiquities For Everyone) that demonstrates in an abundant way the above title which in a normal world would be self-evident but in the world of antiquities appears to be contested by some Western European and US American writers; they even argue that Africans are not yet ready or developed enough to recover their cultural objects which were stolen/looted by Europeans and are now adorning Western museums or are in depots.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 8, 2009

Lord Elgin’s great great great grandson on the Marbles

Posted at 8:51 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

One of Lord Elgin’s descendants has written this short piece about the Marbles. He seems to stick to the post-rationalised agenda of his ancestor, that the sculptures were only removed for their own preservation, before reverting to the often repeated argument that return can’t happen because it would set a precedent.

Setting aside whether or not a precedent would be set, I continue to find it disturbing that the fact that one might have to do the right thing again in the future is used as a feeble justification for not doing the right thing today – if something needs to be done, it needs to be done – if you keep hanging onto this reasoning, everything else will end up going back first, before the precedent argument is abandoned to be replaced by some other equally spurious one.

From:
Sky News

MPs Pushing Elgin’s Marbles Back To Greece
Alastair Bruce
January 8, 2009 11:29 PM

Two MPs championing the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece this year, to mark the opening of a new museum at the ancient Acropolis in Athens, have sent letters out this week to all their fellow legislators recruiting Parliamentary support.

My interest in this is because the marbles were brought back to Britain from Athens by my Great Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, at the start of the 19th century. He was passionate about antiquities and wanted to preserve them from the destruction they faced, at a time when war and local indifference was grinding away at the edifice.
Read the rest of this entry »