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March 2012 - Page 2 of 7 - Elginism

Showing results 13 - 24 of 79 for the month of March, 2012.

March 29, 2012

Is it really of benefit to the UK culture sector to have free museum admission?

Posted at 12:49 pm in British Museum

Despite cutbacks across most government spending, free admission to museums seems to be treated as sacrosanct. Boasts are often made by the British Museum, that only there, can the Elgin Marbles be seen free of charge, but little consideration seems to be given to ho this affects the UK culture sector as a whole.

From:
Independent

Museums slash staff and opening hours after ‘devastating’ cuts
Of the 140 museums surveyed, 22 per cent are reducing their opening hours, and 30 per cent are cutting education staff
By Rob Sharp , Arts Correspondent

A fifth of British museums have been hit with “devastating” budget cuts of more than 25 per cent, according to the first wide-ranging survey of the sector since the Coalition’s Comprehensive Spending Review last year.

The cuts have had an impact on opening hours, public events and staffing, the Museums Association says in its report on 140 museums across the country, published today.
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Dorotheum attempts second auction of African artefacts – is provenance any better this time?

Posted at 8:24 am in Similar cases

Viennese Auction House, Dorotheum, last year auctioned an assortment of African artefacts, but questions were raised about the unclear provenance of many of the items.

Another auction is planned this year, but will the provenance of the items be any clearer than at the previous one?

From Kwame Opoku via email.

ANOTHER AUCTION OF AFRICAN ARTEFACTS BY VIENNA AUCTION HOUSE, DOROTHEUM: BETTER PROVENANCES?

Dorotheum, the Viennese auction house, is holding another auction of African artefacts on 2 April, 2012. Readers may recall that in an article entitled Auction of Arican Art by Dorotheum, Vienna. But what are the Provenances of the Artefacts? reference was made to the absence of proper and adequate provenance for most of the artefacts which were part of the African collection of the late Prof. Rudolph Leopold, founder of the Leopold Museum. Museum of Modern Art, Vienna.

The artefacts in this second auction raise the same problems as the first. The provenance given is often extremely vague e.g. from the “collection of a German missionary”, “Belgian collection,” “Austrian collection”, “private South African collection,” etc. This imprecision does not facilitate the determination of the mode of acquisition of the artefacts and their legitimacy. Nor do we have any precise dates. Thus we cannot follow the history of the ownership of the object.
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Can travelling exhibitions be seen as a real alternative to restitution of artefacts?

Posted at 8:04 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku has forwarded me a response to Neil MacGregor’s assertions that the artefacts should not be returned & instead substituted with travelling exhibitions to help share the artefacts.

From Kwame Opoku via email.

Travelling Exhibition as Alternative to Restitution? Comments on Suggestion by Director of the British Museum.

The Director of the British Museum has indeed a fertile mind that never tires of inventing new defences for the retention of looted artefacts of others in the major museums.

Once it became clear that the infamous Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums. (2002) and its principles were not as effective as the signatories thought, other approaches had to be considered.

One such approach is the “travelling exhibition”. This seems interesting and reasonable until one begins to consider what is being proposed. MacGregor is reported in Elginism to have told an audience at the University of Western Australia that due to globalisation, the concept of “travelling exhibitions” will become more relevant;
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March 28, 2012

Lecture in Athens on the politics of archaeological heritage

Posted at 4:58 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Unfortunately, I only spotted this one today, but it appears that the lecture took place yesterday.

See original flyer for the event here.

From:
City Press

Lecture for the return of the Parthenon Marbles
Post: 26-03-2012 13:30 | City Press Newsroom

The Arcadian Centre for Greek, Mediterranean and Balkan Studies hosts at 19.30 archaeologist and Ph.D. Candidate University of Cambridge, Ms. Venus Chatzoglou, which will give a lecture entitled:

The politics of Archaeological Heritage: The case study of the Parthenon Marbles and the New Acropolis Museum
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George Clooney’s new film highlights the issue of looted Nazi art

Posted at 1:11 pm in Similar cases

George Clooney’s new film, “The Monuments Men”, is about the true story of looting of artworks by the Nazis, along with Hitler’s reasoning behind this, in his attempt to create the greatest art museum in the world.

This is an issue that is still a major problem today, as people try & untangle the true ownership of many artworks, so anything that gives the story more of a public prominence will hopefully help to raise the profile of ongoing cases.

The film is based on Robert M. Edsel’s book, “The Monuments Men.”

From:
Artlyst

Date: 08 Jan 2012
George Clooney Highlights Stolen Nazi Art
New film “The Monuments Men” starts pre- production in LA

A film directed by Hollywood A- lister George Clooney has started pre- production in LA this month. The film is based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” by Robert M. Edsel. It is about Adolf Hitler’s attempts to steal the most important art in Europe and set up the worlds greatest museum, in Berlin. His armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.

Clooney will be writing, directing and starring in the film, a co-production along with his partner, Grant Heslov. Clooney stated at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday; “I’m excited about this project, It’s a fun move because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small, it’s la anding in Normandy.” “I’m not opposed to doing a commercial film, I’m just opposed to doing a commercial film that doesn’t feel organic to me. So if we’re going to do a commercial film we thought, ‘Let’s do something that seems exciting and actually has something to say.’”
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Hunterian Museum rejects requests for Charles Byrne’s skeleton to be buried at sea

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the (rejected) requests for the Hunterian Museum’s skeleton of Charles Byrne to be buried at sea.

From:
Sydney Morning Herald

UK museum to keep ‘giant’ skeleton
Tim Moynihan
December 23, 2011
PAA

British museum chiefs have rejected a suggestion by experts in law and medical ethics that the skeleton of an 18th-century man known as the “Irish Giant” should be removed from display and buried at sea.

Charles Byrne, originally from County Londonderry, stood just over 7ft 7in tall.
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Burying the Hunterian’s “Irish Giant” skeleton at sea?

Posted at 12:51 pm in Similar cases

One of the most noticeable exhibits in London’s Hunterian Museum is that of Charles Byrne, also know as “The Irish Giant”. 230 years after his death though, there are renewed calls for the skeleton to be buried at sea, in accordance of the stated wishes of Charles Byrne whilst he was alive.

From:
Londonist

Should The Hunterian Museum’s Giant Skeleton Be Buried At Sea?
By M@ · December 21, 2011 at 15:01

Anyone who has ever visited the Hunterian Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields will remember this one exhibit. The skeletal remains of Charles Byrne, the ‘Irish Giant’ who stood 7′ 7” tall, are something of an unofficial mascot for the anatomy museum, as the mal-stuffed walrus is for the Horniman Museum and that weird jar of moles is for the Grant.

But now there are renewed calls for the skeleton to be buried at sea. It’s a tale of 230-year-old last wishes, corpse robbing and the grey area between science, education and morality.
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Stephen Fry & the Elgin Marbles

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

More coverage of Stephen Fry’s article on why he believes that the Parthenon Sculptures should be returned to Greece.

From:
Greek Reporter

Stephen Fry Supports the Return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece
By Stella Tsolakidou on December 24, 2011

Stephen Fry is known for his philhellenic ideas. His latest demonstration of those was his December 19 article, in which he asked from the British PM to return the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful owner: Greece.

Fry begins his article with the title “A moderate proposal” and introduces his idea both as a tribute to life for the also known philhellene Christopher Hitchens, who passed away one week ago, and as a supportive action towards Britain’s good friends (the Greeks) who are currently going through harsh times.
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Trying to steal the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum

Posted at 8:12 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Another review of the children’s book, Scorpia Rising, that revolves around a (fictional) plot to steal the Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum.

From:
Guardian

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz – review
Krazy Kesh
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 December 2011 09.00 GMT

‘I think that this book is unlike any other and brings out the dark side of Anthony Horowitz’s writing mind’

Alex Rider is back with his notorious foes: Scorpia. Although he doesn’t know it, this time they are pulling the strings.
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The great artefact restitution from Yale’s Peabody Museum to Peru

Posted at 8:03 am in Similar cases

After many years of campaigning, false starts & re-iterated demands, agreements were finally reached between Yale University & the Peruvian government for the return of various disputed artefacts collected by Hiram Bingham. These have been gradually been arriving back in Cusco.

From:
NPR

Finders Not Keepers: Yale Returns Artifacts To Peru
by Diane Orson
January 1, 2012 from WNPR

High in the Andes Mountains, Peruvians have been lining up to see a collection of antiquities that have finally returned home. The objects from the Inca site of Machu Picchu spent the past 100 years at Yale University in Connecticut, where they were at the center of a long-running international custody battle.

Now, the university is giving back thousands of ceramics, jewelry and human bones from the Peabody Museum in New Haven to the International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture.
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March 27, 2012

The problems with the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

Marc Masurovsky has helped me out, by going into some of the issues with the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act.

The bill has now been introduced in the Senate as S. 2212. The worry is, that many of the successful cases that have been brought in the US in recent years, to secure the return of looted cultural property would no longer be possible. For those of you in the USA, the Senators supporting the bill are: Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch. As he points out, Fenstein has many major museums within her community, which includes San Francisco & Los Angeles.

As Marc says “It’s the end of art restitution as we know it.” Supporting such a bill would be a backward step for the country that is currently one of the more forward thinking (well compared to the UK at any rate) in terms of cultural property restitutions & the legal framework that allows them to take place. “After all, once you write a bill that carries with it select exclusions, it implies that you tolerate other forms of looted art to enter the US for display. Hence, the clarification to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act should either be all-inclusive or dropped entirely. It is absolutely critical for source countries to express themselves”.

Doubtless, many organisations such as the AAMD are unlikely to agree with this point of view.

More details of the act can be found in my original post on it.

The ethics of metal detecting for artefacts

Posted at 1:34 pm in Similar cases

For some, metal detecting is an innocent hobby with an occasional chance of making a big find. For many archaeologists though, the practice requires much tighter regulation, to stop illicit digging of artefacts without any proper excavation or cataloguing of the finds taking place. New programmes in the US, American Digger & Diggers, both seem to be encouraging this fairly carefree attitude to digging up the past & a there are a fears that a new series in the UK could also serve to publicise it.

Paul Barford has already written quite a bit about this program on his blog.

From:
Guardian

TV treasure hunt show to pick Britain’s most important archaeological find
Britain’s Secret Treasures on ITV to follow experts as they judge the merits of antiquities discovered in the UK in the last 15 years
Maev Kennedy
Monday 26 March 2012 13.17 BST

Historians and archaeologists are arguing over the single most historically important archaeological find among almost a million objects discovered in the UK in the last 15 years. Contenders include the heap of glittering Anglo-Saxon gold of the Staffordshire Hoard, a scruffy little coin that proved the existence of a previously unknown Roman emperor, a bronze token that some claim entitled the bearer to the illustrated services in a Roman brothel, a stone hand axe, or the eerie shimmering beauty of the Crosby Garrett Roman helmet.

The debate will be followed over a week of primetime television programmes being made for ITV, Britain’s Secret Treasures, to be broadcast in July and presented by the historian Bettany Hughes and the veteran journalist Michael Buerk in his first appearance on the channel.
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