Showing results 13 - 24 of 29 for the month of February, 2013.

February 22, 2013

Who owns the Banksy street art on a wall? The wall owner or the public?

Posted at 7:22 pm in Similar cases

As the case of the Banksy artwork removed from the wall in Wood Green continues, more & more people are trying to draw slightly absurd parallels to the Parthenon Marbles & calling for the British Ministry of Culture to intervene to block the auction from taking place. However in this case, I can’t really understand quite what the basis for the arguments is.

It now seems clear that the owner of the building (of which the wall on which the graffiti was on was a part) authorised & presumably organised the removal of the artwork. No doubt they stand to make a reasonable profit from it. Now, Banksy picks the walls he paints on – with no consultation with the owners, so this lucky owner is soon going to be wealthier than they were before – and it is entirely through luck.

Haringey Council are claiming that the art is something that enriched the area & was in part something that belonged to the people. It is unclear how they can make this judgement, though, when much of their time is spent cleaning graffiti (that is typically of much poorer quality) off walls. There is no body which decides what is graffiti & what is street art – and that one must be scrubbed off & one preserved, so there argument does not really carry much weight.

It would be great if the work could have stayed – but that is just my own personal opinion – nothing more. Just because you don’t like what is happening, it doesn’t mean that the law should suddenly intervene (without any clear legal framework under which to do so).

Comparisons to the Parthenon Marbles are far more ridiculous – street art by its nature is a transient thing – even with protection, paint will flake off in a few years, leading it to fade away. The sale is being made legally (despite the fact that many people are upset by it).

From:
Artinfo

February 20, 2013, 6:25 pm
London’s Stolen Banksy Heads to the Auction Block Despite 11th Hour English Rescue Attempt

Part of the inherent definition of street art is that it is, by nature, public. It appears on the sides of buildings and on sidewalks, in doorways and on concrete blocks. It most often appears in urban neighborhoods, and tends to lend itself to some sort of social commentary. The illicit nature of the craft is in itself subversive and, as a corollary, non-commercial. Or it was anyway.

In recent years, street art has become gritty-chic, touted by the likes of Kate Moss, and therefore increasingly popular as a collecting category. Original works by Banksy, probably the most important street artist of the last twenty years, now fetch six figures at auction. It was only a matter of time before people started ripping down walls to, quite literally, extract the value from them.
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Greece responds to David Cameron’s comments on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 6:59 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Costas Tzavaras, Greece’s minister responsible for cultural affairs has responded to David Cameron’s comments that he does not support the return of the Elgin Marbles.

From:
Athens Macedonian News Agency

Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-21
Culture minister on Parthenon Marbles issue

AMNA — Greece and the United Kingdom have a different approach on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, alternate Education Minister responsible for cultural affairs Costas Tzavaras said on Thursday in reply to statements by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

There is a clear “difference in approach and conception separating us (Greece) from the United Kingdom on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles”, he said.
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Could Koh-i-noor diamond be leased back to India?

Posted at 2:50 pm in Similar cases

Following David Cameron’s comments that there were no plans to return the Koh-i-noor diamond, a group in Mumbai is proposing that India could leas the diamond from Britain rather than it being returned. Similar deals has been proposed in the past for the Parthenon Marbles, where they could return to Greece as a long term loan, to avoid the anti-deaccessioning clauses in the British Msueum act – although, all such proposals have been rejected by the museum.

I do not know what the legal status of the Koh-i-noor is. Unlike the Parthenon Sculptures, it is not held by a museum, but is part of the crown jewels. Now, this is a far more unique situation & I have no idea of the legal framework attached to items such as this belonging to the Crown – so whether any sort of loan is possible without changes in the law is unclear. If anyone knows more about this, please clarify the details for me.

You can vote for the return of the Koh-i-noor on the Made In India website.

From:
Times of India

‘Kohinoor must be given to India on lease’
TNN | Feb 22, 2013, 03.46 AM IST

MUMBAI: A citizens’ group has provided a unique solution to the tug-of-war over the Kohinoor diamond. It has suggested to the British Prime Minister that the UK government lease it to India for a period of 25 years.

“We do appreciate the safety and preservation that you have offered to the Kohinoor,” a letter from Shailendra Singh, head of Made in India, to British PM David Cameron says, before going on to offer a solution: the British government can lease the Kohinoor back to India for 25 years. The organization had asked Indian citizens to vote for a petition on its website, http://www.iammadeinindia.com, asking for the return of the gem to India.
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Mold gold cape to return from British Museum to Wrexham on loan

Posted at 2:37 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This story seems very similar to that of the Lindisfarne Gospels – and is made more similar by the fact that the British Library & the British Museum used to be one & the same institution.

Yet again, an artefact is returned – but only on a very short term loan. This seems to be an acknowledgement that in some ways it belongs closer to where it was created – but at the same time limiting its visit to as short a period as possible, to stop people getting any idea that it may make sense for it to be permanently on display outside the British Museum.

From:
Wrexham.com

Mold Gold Cape To Return To Area
Posted: February 22, 2013 Written by Rob Taylor

The Mold Gold Cape will go on loan from the British Museum for public display in Wales this summer. In partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives, this will be the third time the cape will have been displayed in Cardiff and will go on to be shown in Wrexham, not far from where it was found. The Cape will be on display for free at both venues as part of the Spotlight Tours organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK Scheme.

The Mold Cape is a unique ceremonial gold cape and made around 3,700 years ago, during the Early Bronze Age. A highlight exhibit at the British Museum, the cape will be shown at National Museum Cardiff 2 July to 4 August and then Wrexham County Borough Museum, 7 August to 14 September 2013.
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David Cameron, Modern India, Returnism, the Koh-i-Noor & the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 9:42 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

David Cameron’s comments on the Koh-i-noor diamond have provoked huge amounts of controversy amongst Indians everywhere, with thousands of posts on twitter speaking out against his attitude. The vocal attitude of the restitution supporters is to be encouraged – and perhaps other countries could learn from some of their techniques and apply them to their own campaigns. I was particularly intrigued by this comedy routine discussing the diamond – and its continued retention by Britain.

The British Prime Minister made apologies, for some of the worst acts committed in India during the time of the British Empire – something that may have required much thinking & soul searching (& possibly even a few conversations with lawyers about any potential increase in liability / culpability). At the same time though, this was only a statement, something that required no physical or financial commitment. On the case of the Koh-i-nor however, making any sort of commitment would mean that he had to actually do something rather than just talking about it.

The saying that actiona speak louder than words is well known – but the very different approach to these two issues by David Cameron suggests that our Prime Minister would far prefer to be a man of (cheap) words, than one of (expensive actions). Words are meaningless unless they are followed up by some physical commitment.

In part, the British PM is no doubt worried that the return of such a high profile artefact as the Koh-i-noor, a diamond famous around the world, that forms part of the crown jewels. He is worried that restitution could be a vote loser, whereas, the clamour of voices for return is still not loud enough for its continued retention to be seen as cause for concern. Where people think that there is a just case for return (of any artefacts), they must continue to make their feelings known – letting the current owners know that the issue is not going to go away if it is ignored – that some sort of compromise or negotiated agreement needs to be met. Almost always, there is potential for an agreement that can benefit both sides – but it often involves thinking outside the box, to consider what each side has that may benefit the other & most of all, to put aside worries about any temporary loss of face that may be caused by doing the right thing.

Throughout all of this, we must remember that the Koh-i-noor (like many other restitution cases) is a complex issue. Different parties take different positions on the circumstances of the original acquisition – was it a spoil of war, or a legitimate exchange? If someone’s hand is forced in making a deal, does the deal still hold the same legitimacy? Furthermore, India is not the only country claiming ownership of the gem – so even if it returned, they might then have to deal with other restitution claims from Iran, Pakistan & Afghanistan (these are the potential claimants that I know of – there may well be others).

Modern India is a very different place, from the one that gave up the diamond to Britain in 1849 – in much the same way as contemporary Greece bears little resemblance to 1800, when it formed an outpost of the Ottoman empire. If Britain wants to deal with (& benefit from the wealth of) these modern countries, perhaps it needs to do something to put right some of the actions that reduced their culture in the past – rather than just returning again wanting to take more (albeit in a very different way).

Where does this all leave the Elgin Marbles? Well, Cameron has previously made his (ill informed) views on this subject clear in the past, so the fact that he has not had a sudden change of heart should not be seen as a big surprise. What is ridiculous however, is his lumping of completely different cases together under the one umbrella – the suggestion that all cases should be dealt with by a single statement, rather than even starting to consider the varying individual merits & circumstances of each one.

Cameron upsets many with the use of the term Elgin Marbles – a phrase that has for a long time been deprecated by the British Museum & that (while known to the public), is no longer taken as being the correct name for these sculptures. Use of such terms in public statements, suggests that he has only a passing acquaintance with the actual facts of these cases, meaning that his cursory brushing away of any suggestions of restitution is all the more galling.

I spoke before of his use of the word returnism – a term that does not seem to have many other mentions elsewhere – perhaps I should not complain too loudly about this though – particularly as the title of this blog is equally guilty of nealogizing… I actually quite like the term – if I hadn’t named this site Elginism, perhaps returnism would have been a good alternative name.

From:
Global Post

Faine Greenwood
February 21, 2013 07:20
Britain doesn’t plan on returning Koh-i-Noor diamond to India, says Cameron

The enormous Koh-i-Noor diamond may have originated in India, but it won’t be returned to its original owners, reiterated British prime minister David Cameron on the third day of an official visit to India this week.

The 105-karat Koh-i-Noor diamond once graced the crown of Queen Elizabeth I and remains an integral part of the British collection of crown jewels, displayed at the Tower of London.
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New legislation in Europe may help recovery of looted national treasures

Posted at 8:58 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

New legislation proposed by the European Commission may help EU member states to recover artefacts that they believe have been illegally removed from their country. The clear limitation though, is that this would only work when both countries are EU members – which instantly strikes the majority of high profile restitution cases off the list of ones covered by the legislation. Although, the Parthenon Marbles would of course be covered.

Until more details of the legislation are published, it is hard to guage what the actual impact of it might be.

From:
New Europe

New legislation to facilitate recovery of illegally removed national treasures
Article | February 19, 2013 – 1:52pm | By Elena Ralli

The European Commission is planning to help Member States recover national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from their territory by amending its current legislation that has several inadequacies. Consequently, the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani proposed today to strengthen the possibility for restitution available to Member States.

As Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship stated: “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of all Member States is of major importance to the European Union. Our proposal is therefore necessary to further strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against illegal trafficking in cultural goods. The harmful effect on our national treasures represent a serious threat to the preservation of the origins and history of our civilization.”
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February 21, 2013

David Cameron argues against returnism, stating that he does not support return of Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 2:50 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

British Prime Minister, David Cameron had already indicated in 2010, that he had no interest in considering the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India. During his current visit to the country, he has once again re-iterated his point – but this time extended it to cover other cases such as the Parthenon Marbles (although it is not the first time he has mentioned his views on that case either).

Taking this approach is a great shame. He wants to encourage greater trade links with India, and he has made limited apologies for some of the worst atrocities of colonial rule, but at the same time, his actions suggest that he still believes we are in the age of empire – that Britain can lay down the way problems are to be dealt with & that everyone else had to just buy into it, without any real option to put their point of view across properly.

He argues that the British Museum is already linking up with other museums around the world, but whenever this has taken place, it is very much the British Museum that sets the terms of how the relationship will operate – and in most cases is created to promote a two way traffic (i.e. to enrich the permanent collection in London with high quality temporary loans). Any reciprocal loans are something that they accept as part of some deal, yet it rarely feels as though they are a driving factor.

Cameron talks of returnism – labeling complex cases as though they are all basically the same & can be dealt with by a short comment, whereas the reality is that each case is very different. There is a huge range between cases, from those strong restitution cases where there is a clear argument for return & relatively weak ones, where for most people, the balance might sway in favour of them being retained, perhaps because their original purchase was legitimately made, or perhaps because of when / how they were taken etc.

Certain sectors of Britain’s ruling classes need to wake up to the fact that we no longer have an empire & that times have changed – we might have once led the world, but dragging our heels in the attempts to cling onto the past will be of no help in trying to regain this position.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday February 21, 2013
Cameron rules out return of Parthenon marbles

British Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out the return of the so-called Elgin marbles to Greece.

Speaking from India, where he is on an official visit, on Thursday the Tory leader turned down requests for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to Britain’s former colony saying he did not believe in “returnism.”
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Lindisfarne Gospels return to Durham – but only on a three month loan

Posted at 2:32 pm in British Museum, Events, Similar cases

Sometimes, intra-national restitution cases can be just as complex as international ones. In the case of the Lindisfarne gospels, many have ben asking for their return for years, but the campaign is split over where their rightful home actually is.

It is unclear whether the loan that is now due to take place is the same one that was mentioned in this article from a few years ago. If so, it has taken a long time fro the commitment being made, to the actual loan taking place.

Of course, this isn’t really a return – just a fairly short loan. The campaigners still have a long way to go if they are to achieve their goal of having the documents located in the North East of England permanently.

From:
Durham Times

Years of work behind three-month Durham’s Lindisfarne Gospels loan
By Mark Tallentire, Reporter (Durham)
1:00pm Thursday 21st February 2013

THIS summer’s North-East exhibition of the hallowed Lindisfarne Gospels will be hosted by Durham University. Mark Tallentire meets University Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins.

THE moment the doors of Durham University’s Palace Green Library are thrown open on July 1 will mark both a beginning and an ending.
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Louvre returns nazi looted paintings to descendant of original owner Richard Neumann

Posted at 9:12 am in Similar cases

In the space of a few years, return of artefacts looted by the Nazis has become almost the accepted norm, although it in itself is very much a special case offered favourable terms compared to almost any other disputed artefacts.

While the return of such disputed items is great, I do not see how an automatic dispensation should be applied to a single special case, while all others (no matter how strong their case) are treated as second class citizens on the journey to restitution.

From:
BBC News

15 February 2013 Last updated at 10:56
Louvre museum returns Nazi-looted artwork

Seven paintings taken from their Jewish owners in the 1930s are being returned to their surviving relatives as part of an ongoing French effort to give back looted, stolen or appropriated art.

The works include four paintings that currently hang in the Louvre in Paris.
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February 20, 2013

The Acropolis Museum as an exercise in nation branding for modern Greece

Posted at 2:11 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum represents a high point in Greece’s recent history – finally, after years of arguments, political wranglings & archaeological digs, a new home had been constructed to house the Parthenon Marbles. for once, a building was able to tell a story of a modern country that was still deeply in touch with its rich cultural heritage – it was not using moernity to turn its back on the old, but instead using it as a framework to re-evaluate it & re-discover it.

From:
Modern Diplomacy

The Acropolis Museum: a paradigm of Nations Branding in the Making
Peggy Kapellou, Maria Kyriacopoulou Hellenic Foreign Policy

In the gloomy after crisis general ambience in Greece, how many of us still take the time to review major achievements of the country’s reputation to the International Community? And still, it was only three years ago, on June 20, 2009, the whole world witnessed the opening ceremony of what has been characterized by the New York Times as «one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in the last decade»: the new Acropolis museum.

The inauguration day and the week of various festivities and parallel events, was the culmination of a long run project, carefully planned and implemented as part of an integrated approach.
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More on the “stolen” Banksy artwork

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Reading the original article closely, it appears that the Poundland store does not own the building from which the Banksy artwork was removed last week. On this basis, although many have complained about its removal, none of the complainants has been the actual owner of the wall – which suggests that the whole removal was probably arranged legitimately.

The auction page selling the artwork can be viewed here.

From:
Guardian

Banksy mural torn off London Poundland store for Miami auction

Haroon Siddique
Monday 18 February 2013 12.54 GMT

A Banksy mural has been put up for auction on a US website with a guide price of up to £450,000 after being removed from a building in north London.

The artwork of a barefoot boy using a sewing machine to stitch union flag bunting, apparently in a sweatshop, appeared on the outside wall of a Poundland shop in Wood Green in May. It was widely interpreted as condemning child labour and mocking the impending Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations.
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What David Cameron did not apologise for during his trip to India

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

David Cameron made apologies to India, about some of the wrongs committed by the British within the country during the colonial period. The apology stops far short of rectifying all the problems – for instance many in India are unhappy that the Koh-i-Noor diamond still occupies pride of place in the Crown Jewels. There are many more treasures in institutions such as the British Museum that India would also like returned.

From:
BBC News

20 February 2013 Last updated at 13:11
Andrew North South Asia correspondent
What David Cameron did not apologise for

By making a statement of regret over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, David Cameron has opened up a can of other questions and grievances over Britain’s colonial past.

What about the British museum returning all the treasures looted from India during the Raj? What about sending back the Kohinoor diamond still embedded in Queen Elizabeth’s crown?
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