Showing results 1 - 12 of 46 for the month of July, 2009.

July 29, 2009

The deluded notion of free museums?

Posted at 1:08 pm in British Museum

The British Museum regularly highlights the fact that their exhibits can be viewed free of charge, but rarely enters into any serious discussion of the actual merits of this.

It appears that many people are not in complete agreement over benefits of free entry.

Daily Telegraph

There is no such thing as a free exhibition about the Zutons
Letters, July 28: The deluded notion of free museums
Published: 12:01AM BST 28 Jul 2009

SIR – If Michael Cattell (Letter, July 27) believes that entry to museums is free, he is sadly deluded.

Every penny given to museums is taken from individuals or employers through taxation.
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Discussions on the return of Australian Aboriginal art

Posted at 1:03 pm in Similar cases

This article has a few additional details about the discussions over the potential return of some Aboriginal artefacts in UK Museums.

Thinking Australia

UK Move On Aboriginal Art

Negotiations between Australia and UK could soon re-start in a battle over the return of valuable Aboriginal artworks, writes Nick Gibson.

The Dja Dja Wurrung tribe are seeking the return of a pair of Aboriginal bark paintings – insured for more than $1m – that originate from Lake Boort, north-west of Melbourne.
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July 27, 2009

Record of iconoclasm cut from video in New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 1:13 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Following their complaints about the depiction or priests damaging sculptures on the Parthenon in a video on show at the New Acropolis Museum, the Greek Orthodox church has been successful in getting these scenes removed from the film.

The original video can still be seen here.

New York Times

Scene Cut From Athens Museum Film After Protests
Published: July 25, 2009

Filed at 5:48 p.m. ET

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A scene from an animated film shown to visitors at the new Acropolis Museum that depicts Christian priests destroying parts of the Parthenon has been deleted following protests by the Greek Orthodox Church.

The creator of the segment, Greek-born French filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras, has demanded that his name be taken off the film credits in protest.
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British Museum to open Abu Dhabi outpost

Posted at 1:03 pm in British Museum

The British Museum loves the idea of cultural partnerships – but only when they are the ones dictating the terms. Despite repeated rejections in the past of the concept of being part of a joint curatorship of the New Acropolis Museum, they are now happy to follow the Louvre’s lead & set up an outpost in Abu Dhabi. The benefit of this will be that people in the Arab world may be able to see items from the British Museum’s vast Middle Eastern collection, but one has to wonder why the idea of outposts in some locations (which coincidentally have large mounts of money & are not requesting the return of artefacts) is acceptable, whereas in other countries similar proposals are not even up for discussion.

The Times

July 26, 2009
British Museum treasures head for Abu Dhabi
Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

THE British Museum has struck a multi-million-pound deal to help launch a museum in the Middle East designed by Lord Foster.

In its biggest overseas venture, the institution will be unveiled tomorrow as the official partner of the national museum of Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich Gulf state. The new building will sit alongside offshoots of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums.
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Video in New Acropolis Museum angers Greek Orthodox church

Posted at 12:54 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Greece’s Orthodox Church has complained about the content of a video about the history of the Parthenon, on display in the New Acropolis Museum. They want the removal of sections showing priests destroying some of the monuments sculptures in the eighth century AD.

Whilst the church leaders may object to this clip within the video, its depiction of the iconoclasm is based on evidence of what actually happened. Surely blocking things like this to revise history merely amounts to censorship, in much the same was as the priests then were trying to censor the pagan sculptures on the buildings. A far better way of dealing with it would be to actually explain in detail why things happened the way that they did then, followed by the reasons why we have moved on from that now & that such practises would no longer be condoned.

GR Reporter

New Acropolis Musem aggravates the Church
24 July 2009

The Greek Orthodox Church has reportedly become angry with administration of the new Acropolis Museum. The grudge is caused by a 13-minute documentary, projected in one of the halls of the museum, which shows, using digital animation, a group of priests in robes destroying sculptures of the Parthenon in the VIII century AD. Interestingly enough, creator of the documentary is the world-famous Greek director Kostas Gavras. The film itself dates back to 2004 and has been shown in front of a big audience at the New York Cultural Olympics, organized during the summer Olympic games of 2004.

The film is devoted to the legendary Athenian chief Pericles and his urban plans. It’s precisely the period under Pericles when the Parthenon has been built on the hill of the Acropolis. The director spends too much time unfolding the temple’s decorations, and only briefly describes the events in the 25 centurial history since it was first built. The first disaster to befall the temple was a big fire in 267 B.C. Next is the early Christian period, which damages a number of the ancient Greek cultural monuments, including the Parthenon which is turned into a church. Other historic events are also visited by Gavras – during the fourth Crusade, the Parthenon is converted into a Roman church. Also in 1458, when the Turks conquer Athens, it is turned into a Muslim mosque. The marble structures, which lord Elgin takes to Britain are also mentioned.
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Former Metropolitan Museum director talks about restitution of artefacts

Posted at 12:46 pm in Similar cases

Former Met director Philippe de Montebello has given a talk in which he speaks about the issues of restitution affecting museums. Based on previous comments, it is unsurprising that he is against the idea of restitution. What is puzzling is that even after the return of the Euphronios Krater from his own museum he still doesn’t seem to understand the problem – he sees it as something that should only ever be dealt with when legal reasons dictate that an artefacts should be returned & never for a philosophical / ethical reason. This skips neatly over the fact of why many of the laws allowing return are what they are, whereas legal action should be the last resort after other more amicable negotiation methods fail. He also introduces an odd idea of entitlement – that people should be able to see artefacts in locations other than their original locations (e.g. New York), but with little explanation of why this should be the case or who decides this.

Bangor Daily News

Former Met director talks at Strand
By Jessica Bloch – BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Philippe de Montebello is considered one of the most powerful men in the world of art. Yet de Montebello, who recently retired after 31 years as the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, joked Thursday evening that he grew to dread the renowned art experts who worked under him.

“I have the utmost respect, and fear, of curators,” said de Montebello, who participated in a question-and-answer session at the Strand Theatre with Roger Dell, the Farnsworth Art Museum’s director of education, as part of the museum’s Farnsworth Forum series.
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July 23, 2009

New Acropolis Museum architect Bernard Tschumi to speak at University of Geneva

Posted at 6:48 pm in Events, New Acropolis Museum

Bernard Tschumi, the architect who designed the New Acropolis Museum will be a keynote speaker at the annual Latsis University Prizes Ceremony at the University of Geneva.

He is giving this talk at 18:00 on Monday 5th October.

Follow Elginism on Twitter

Posted at 12:54 pm in Elgin Marbles

For people who are using Twitter to keep up to date with news, Elginism is now on Twitter. All posts here would be linked to, but I will also try to add other items of information – either breaking news that I don’t have time to create a full blog post for, or links to other relevant articles.

You can of course continue to view Elginism in the normal way here.

Click here to follow Elginism on Twitter.

July 22, 2009

Aboriginal artefacts not covered by the Human Tissue Act up for discussion

Posted at 1:05 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

There have been many cases in recent years where museums in the UK have returned Aboriginal artefacts that consist of (or incorporate) human remains. New negotiations involving bark etchings however are interesting, as there is no clear indication from the article that there is any connection with human remains. Technically this would mean that the British Museum was legally forbidden from returning them, although there is the possibility of some form of loan, as was used with the Kwakwaka’wakw mask returned to Canadian first Nations people.

Melbourne Sun Herald

British Museum may hand back Aboriginal artifacts
July 22, 2009 12:21pm

THE British Museum has begun talks with Victorian Aboriginals about the possible return of rare bark etchings believed to be more than 150 years old.
The three etchings, estimated to be worth more than $1 million, have been held in London for many years after their collection by Victorian landowner John Hunter Kerr near Lake Boort in the 1850s.

When they were lent to Museum Victoria along with a ceremonial headdress for a temporary display in 2004, members of the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe dramatically seized hold of them and demanded they be returned to the Boort area.
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Why all restitution cases should be treated on their own unique merits

Posted at 12:55 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The initial history of the Elgin Marbles in this article is over-charitable to Lord Elgin (who had for instance never visited Athens at the time that he instructed the removal of the sculptures from the Parthenon to start). The key point to consider though is that no precedent would necessarily be set by the reunification of the surviving Parthenon Sculptures in Athens. It has long been understood that in cases such as this, each case is assessed on its own strengths & weaknesses. No two restitution cases are identical. Not only do you have to consider how artefacts were acquired, but also the significance of the artefacts, their uniqueness, what they represent etc before any decision can be made. In the case of the Parthenon Marbles, there is a strong case, not least because they are fragmented parts of a whole. If the pages of a book were spread randomly between different locations, few would be able to argue that this was the best way that the book could be displayed.

Further to the whole argument of precedent though (which has been gone over many times by many people), surely doing an arguably right act now should not be stopped because you fear that doing what is morally right once may mean that you are then encouraged to make similar commitments again in the future?

From: (Pakistan)

The debate over the Elgin marbles
By Irfan Husain
Wednesday, 22 Jul, 2009 | 08:48 AM PST

Ever since the end of the colonial era, countries whose cultural heritage was looted by European powers have been demanding the return of their treasures. And yet decades later, these priceless objects continue to fill the display areas of hundreds of museums, private collections and auction houses in the West.

Perhaps the longest outstanding claim has been for the return of the Elgin marbles from the British Museum to their home in Greece. This stunning collection was removed from its resting place in the Parthenon in Athens. Built 2,500 years ago on the Acropolis as a temple to honour the goddess Athena, the Parthenon served as a church for another thousand years before being converted into a mosque by the conquering Ottoman Turks who turned Greece into a province of their far-flung empire. It then fell into disuse and was a dilapidated ruin when Lord Elgin arrived in Constantinople as the British ambassador in the late 18th century.
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Seeing sculptures in a new light in the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 12:43 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The old Acropolis Museum, despite its proximity to the Parthenon lacked life – the statues in it felt very remote from their original locations. For many people seeing the artefacts now on display in the New Acropolis Museum, these pieces gain a new vitality & vibrancy – leading people to see them in a way perhaps closer w=to how they were originally intended to be perceived.

San Diego Reader

Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
By Bonnie Maffei | Published Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For about $37 a night, you can stay next to the historic Plaka district. The clean Australian-owned, air-conditioned Athens Backpackers hostel at 12 Makri Street, 11742 Athens, offers free breakfast, communal kitchen, free coffee all day, laundromat, WiFi, movies and tours. Don’t miss the RoofTop Bar. From the hostel, you can walk up to the Acropolis in 2 minutes.

The Acropolis Museum at the top of the hill houses a wealth of ancient Greek sculpture and friezes, including the graceful Goddess Athena unloosening her sandal, the leaning Athena with Spartan helmet, the standing male youths, the kouros, and the young maidens, the kore. I took in every gesture, each pattern of hair and flow of garment. Panning slowly along the Parthenon friezes, I savored the rhythms and movements of the soldiers and horsemen. I felt nourished, as if I were partaking in some cosmic feast. The work of the masters: food for the soul.

The Elgin Coins?

Posted at 12:39 pm in Similar cases

An interesting story only because of its location in Elgin (yes – I know that Lord Elgin’s house was not actually in Elgin). A local museum wants artefacts returned, or compensation for artefacts that are being held onto by a national museum that they were sent to for research purposes.


Museums Squabble Over Treasure Coins
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
July 20, 2009

Usually the British treasure trove laws work favorably to protect the amateur finder, professional archaeologists and museums that may become involved in any find. I said, “Usually.”

In recent years, all sorts of artifacts have been found in a field at Clarkly Hill in Burghead, Scotland, by people with metal detectors. Among the many artifacts are some Roman coins, two gold finger rings believed to date from the fifth and the 12th centuries, a gold earring believed to be Roman, and some odd and curious or primitive gold ring money understood to date from the Bronze Age.
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