Showing results 1 - 12 of 46 for the month of November, 2010.

November 28, 2010

How independent is the British Museum from the British Government?

Posted at 1:19 pm in British Museum

When asked about returning the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum likes to fall back on the arument that they couldn’t do so without a change in the law – making it a matter for the government. Yet at the same time, the government indicates that the issue is one for the trustees of the British Museum.

The government would like you to believe that the British Museum is entirely independent of government – the reality though is that the two are closely tied together – seeing the British Museum as a completely separate entity that is in complete control of all decisions is an inaccurate understanding of things. This is evidenced here, by the fact that (for whatever peculiar reasons) the British Museum can’t access large amounts of its own money because it is being with held by the government.

From:
The Art Newspaper

Treasury withholds museum donations
British Museum is denied access to £42.5m of its own cash
By Martin Bailey | From issue 218, November 2010
Published online 5 Nov 10 (News)

LONDON. UK national museums, including the British Museum and the National Gallery, have found it difficult to access over £50m donated by philanthropists, because of Treasury regulations. These are funds from donations and bequests which went into museums’ financial reserves and later fell under government control.

The scale of the potential problem is enormous, since the reserves for all national museums total £285m. The museums have not publicised the difficulty, fearing that this might rock the boat during delicate discussions with government.
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Did Lord Elgin save the Parthenon Sculptures or wreck them?

Posted at 1:14 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Mary Beard, author of a book on the Parthenon has written a summary of the arguments surrounding the Elgin Marbles for the history section of the BBC’s website.

From:
BBC

Lord Elgin – Saviour or Vandal?
By Mary Beard
Last updated 2010-10-15

Much of the sculpture that once enhanced the Parthenon in Athens was brought to London by Lord Elgin 200 years ago. Was this the act of a saviour or a vandal? Mary Beard looks at both sides of a fierce argument.

Controversy

During the first decade of the 19th century the agents of Lord Thomas Elgin (British Ambassador to Constantinople 1799-1803) removed whole boatloads of ancient sculpture from Greece’s capital city of Athens. The pride of this collection was a large amount of fifth-century BC sculpture taken from the Parthenon, the temple to the goddess Athena, which stood on the Acropolis hill in the centre of the city.
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November 22, 2010

Former Getty curator Marion True’s defence lawyer speaks out following the end of her trial

Posted at 10:46 pm in Similar cases

The fallout following the end of Marion True’s trial in Italy continues, with statements from her defence lawyer.

From:
The Art Newspaper

Marion True’s defence lawyer speaks out
As the case ends, True’s innocence is vigorously asserted
By Gareth Harris | Web only – Published online 4 Nov 10

“In the sense of trying to comprehend all that’s happened I am in shock. That it has been five years, with never the possibility of airing the defence—it was a very long time,” Marion True, former antiquities curator of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, told the New Yorker. Last month in Rome, she saw charges against her of conspiring to receive antiquities that had been illegally excavated and exported from Italy, dismissed. The case was closed after a marathon five-year trial because the statute of limitations had expired.

The trial began on 16 November 2005, following a ten-year investigation into her associations with co-defendants Swiss dealer Robert Hecht and art expert Giacomo Medici. The case was triggered in 1995 when Swiss and Italian authorities raided Medici’s Geneva store and found thousands of photographs and records which they claimed showed illegally excavated antiquities.
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Peru seeks help from Barack Obama in dispute with Yale over Inca artefacts

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

The latest stage in an escalating dispute between Peru & Yale University, over Inca treasures taken from Machu Picchu, is an official request by Peru’s president for Barack Obama to intervene.

From:
New York Times blogs

November 3, 2010, 5:21 pm
Peru Seeks Obama’s Help in Dispute With Yale
By RANDY KENNEDY

Escalating a war of words between his government and Yale University, President Alan García of Peru has made a formal request for President Obama’s intervention in a long-running dispute over the ownership of a large group of artifacts excavated in 1912 at Machu Picchu by a Yale explorer.

Peru has argued that the items were only lent to the university and should have been returned long ago. Yale has contended that it returned all borrowed objects in the 1920s, retaining only those to which it had full title. In 2007 the sides reached a tentative agreement that would have set up a long-term collaboration and granted title of the disputed antiquities to Peru while allowing a certain number to remain at Yale for study and display. But that deal fell apart in 2008, and Peru filed a civil suit in federal court in Connecticut.
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Should aesthetic considerations regarding looted artefacts take precedence over human rights?

Posted at 2:08 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku responds to the article by Tom L Freudenheim that I posted a few weeks ago.

From:
Modern Ghana

SHOULD AESTHETIC CONSIDERATIONS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITH REGARD TO LOOTED ARTEFACTS?
Columnist: Kwame Opoku, Dr.

We read with great interest an article by Tom L. Freudenheim, a former art museum director and former assistant secretary for museums at the Smithsonian Institution entitled “What Is Lost When Works are Trophies” that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2010 (1) and was reproduced in Elginism (2) on September 28, 2010 under the heading “Disputed artefacts – famous for being famous…”

The article contains statements which deserve close examination. The first sentence surprised me:

“It’s interesting to contemplate how works of art, which museums generally want us to appreciate for their aesthetic values, can turn into trophies: emblems of issues or events that have nothing to do with their status as art.”
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When replicas are as convincing as the real thing, do museums still need to keep the originals?

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

In the past, the British Museum has suggested to Greece that as a solution to the dispute over the Elgin Marbles, they will send the Greeks high quality copies. In the mind of the British Museum, this seems to solve the situation & anyone who rejects this offer is ungrateful. At the same time though it raises a new question of why the British Museum isn’t happy to keep the copies & return the originals.

From:
The National

Tutankhamun’s replica treasures in Manchester
Ben East
Last Updated: Nov 3, 2010

It’s quite a sight. The golden treasures of King Tutankhamun’s tomb look as arresting as they may have been on the day archaeologists happened across his virtually intact resting place in 1922. There are statues, chests and the pièce de résistance , the glittering death mask that caused the man who first discovered the tomb, Howard Carter, to remark breathlessly: “We were astonished by the beauty and refinement of the art… the impression was overwhelming.”

Except they’re not the originals. The Tutankhamun – His Tomb And His Treasures touring exhibition, just opened in an unlovely corner of a Manchester shopping complex, is instead stocked with costly reproductions of some of the most famous archaeological artefacts of all time.
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Is China’s quest to recover looted artefacts from the Summer Palace likely to be successful?

Posted at 1:53 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Many experts feel that China’s attempts to catalogue (with the aim of eventually recovering) the artefacts looted from the Summer Palace in Beijing is unlikely to be successful.

From:
France 24

01 November 2010 – 17H15
China bid to regain looted relics a tough task: experts

AFP – China’s call on museums and antique collectors around the world to return relics looted from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing 150 years ago is unlikely to yield any significant results, experts say.

The Army Museum in Paris and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum are just two of the institutions that possess items taken from the former resort for Qing dynasty emperors — and are not about to give them up easily, they say.
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November 21, 2010

Museum Architecture – Bernard Tschumi’s New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 11:58 pm in New Acropolis Museum

A new book, from a series on the architecture of museums, looks at the design of the New Acropolis Museum which opened last year in Athens.

Lord Elgin’s rocks on display in the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Posted at 9:55 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

This story reads almost like a peculiar parody of the Parthenon Marbles… The Eighth Earl of Elgin (son of the Seventh Earl who removed the sculptures from the Parthenon) was at one time governor of Canada (when he wasn’t ransacking the Summer Palace in Beijing). During his time there, rocks got thrown at him during a riot, that he later brought back to his family home in Scotland as a souvenir of the experience. A few years ago, the Elgin family then decided to return Elgin’s rocks(as they became known), so that they could go on display in Canada as they were a part of Canada’s history.

One wonders, if Elgin had not faced financial insolvency & been forced to sell the Parthenon Sculptures, would his family have taken a more enlightened approach to the British Museum & returned the sculptures to Greece already?

From:
Edmonton Journal

History museum offers new narrative of Confederation
By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News October 28, 2010

Canada’s main history museum has unveiled a new exhibit casting the country’s Confederation story in a fresh light emphasizing the tensions that threatened to pull British North America apart in the years leading up to 1867′s unification project.

It’s a rewriting of the narrative of the country’s birth, says Canadian Museum of Civilization president Victor Rabinovitch, that doesn’t follow “the usual line about how peaceful everything was up here.”
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Restored monument to Callimachus’s victory at Marathon goes on display in the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 9:42 pm in Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

More coverage of the restored Callimachus victory monument that has gone on display in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

From:
Xinhua

“Callimachus Victory” monument re-assembled after 2,500 years
2010-10-27 07:38:04

ATHENS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua)– Greek Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos unveiled on Tuesday at the New Acropolis Museum the “Victory of Callimachus”, an ancient Greek monument which was re-assembled and is on display to the public for first time as a complete monument after 2,500 years.

The statue which depicts Nike (Victory), in the form of a woman with wings, on top of an inscribed column, was created by marble in honor of Callimachus, one of the generals who took part and died in the Battle of Marathon between Athenians and Persian invaders in 490 BC.
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Broader isssues with museum culture reflected in the History of the World in 100 objects

Posted at 9:34 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Following his earlier article, Tom Flynn was invited to contribute to a discussion about Radio 4′s collaboration with the British Museum – A history of the world in 100 objects. Unfortunately he was not able to attend, so the actual points he was making about the series were lost in an abridged quote which whole issue that he has with the series.

From:
ArtKnows

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Banging the drum for the BBC

I’m running the risk of sounding like a stuck record, but that’s better than being accused of munching on sour grapes, which is what a guest on BBC Radio Four’s Making History programme has just done with regard to my criticism of the British Museum’s ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’ series.

Last Friday I received an email from the Beeb asking if I’d like to contribute to a discussion about whether the ’100 Objects’ project had been a success. Sadly I had to decline as I had a teaching commitment that morning.
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November 19, 2010

Nike Monument in honour of Callimachus unveiled at the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 2:09 pm in Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

A restoration of the Nike Monument, built to honour Callimachus afte the Battle of Marathon has been unveiled at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

From:
Athens News Agency

10/27/2010
Nike Monument unveiled at new Acropolis Museum

ΑΝΑ-ΜPΑ/The Nike Monument erected in honour of the ancient military commander Callimachus after the Battle of Marathon, its various surviving shards reassembled for the first time to resemble the form they would have had in antiquity, was unveiled in the new Acropolis Museum on Tuesday by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.

In statements at the unveiling, Geroulanos emphasised the importance of the monument 2,500 years after the historic battle, an event broadly regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of European culture.
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