Showing results 25 - 30 of 30 for the month of April, 2008.

April 4, 2008

Is litigation the answer to the Parthenon Marbles Question?

Posted at 6:15 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Following the Athens UNESCO conference, Tom Flynn has concluded that litigation may be the only way to make the British Museum take the Parthenon Marbles issue seriously. This echoes the view of various other comentators who have been observing other similar (but successful) cases that have occurred in recent years.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The Parthenon Marbles: Time to litigate?

The case of the Parthenon Marbles has been simmering away for decades. Every now and then an event occurs which prompts the Greeks to half-heartedly drag it forward onto the media front burner. For a few weeks everyone watches it let off steam until it gradually slides onto the back burner again.

The last time the Marbles issue moved up the news agenda was in 2003, just prior to the Olympic Games in Athens. But thanks to British Museum intransigence (it was also the BM’s 250th anniversary) the Greek appeals came to nothing. Now the temperature has risen once again due to the planned opening later this year (or more likely early next) of the new €94 million Bernard Tschumi-designed Acropolis Museum.
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April 3, 2008

The British Museum’s avoidance of dealing with restitution claims

Posted at 1:06 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The British Museum does not just ignore restitution claims, but in many cases, they refuse to even enter into any sort of negotiations in the first place.

Kwame Opoku (by email)


It is becoming increasingly clear that many of the European museum directors are not very convinced of the soundness of the arguments they present in favour of the retention of stolen African cultural objects by their museums. We have shown the illegality, illegitimacy and immorality of the continued holding of thousands of African cultural objects which the museums are unable to display for lack of space. We have also demonstrated their denial of the cultural and human rights of many Africans by the persistent refusal even to discuss the issue of restitution of stolen cultural object and also that the refusal to return these items constitutes a violation of several United Nations and UNESCO resolutions. (KOpoku, NEFERTITI, IDIA AND OTHER AFRICAN ICONS IN EUROPEAN MUSEUMS: THE THIN EDGE OF EUROPEAN MORALITY
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The viability of legality in the museums of the West

Posted at 1:02 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Continual stories of perceived wrongdoing by museums mean that our respect for them as institutions of learning & imparting of knowledge is diminished. The problem is that many of the museums seem intent to pursue the current line until the bitter end, that what they are doing is ethical.


Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Wednesday, 02 April 2008

We are reading almost on a daily basis some comment or reply by a European or an American museum director in defence of the holding of stolen cultural objects or objects illegally exported from other countries and now in their museums. However, these defences seem so patently weak or unconvincing that one wonders how people in such positions can argue as they do. Britain, France, United States, Germany and the other European countries have produced some of the best thinkers of our age. Moreover, these countries still possess some of the finest universities that exist.

Many of us have spent a major part of our lives studying European thinkers and attending European and American universities. We therefore feel embarrassed and depressed when we read what is coming from directors of important cultural institutions such as the British Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. How can those institutions be defended with such weak and unworthy arguments? A good example of such a defence is reported in an article published in USA TODAY on 1 April, 2008 Greece to Britain: Hand over artwork
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Museums struggling with issues of provenance

Posted at 12:40 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

For some reason, Museums worldwide seem to find huge difficulties in not buying looted artefacts. They claim to research these issues during the acquisitions process – but the large numbers of high profile cases in recent years suggests that there is a tendency to turn a blind eye or to avoid asking awkward questions.

Christian Science Monitor

Art museums struggle with provenance issues
Recent high-profile police raids show that the problem of stolen and looted art remains.
By Randy Dotinga | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the April 2, 2008 edition

San Diego – The first inkling of trouble came when a customs agent arrived at the door of the San Diego Museum of Art in 2004.

The agent carried a subpoena and, to the museum’s chagrin, news that one of its 18th-century paintings was stolen property.

The painting ultimately returned home to Mexico in 2006, five years after its purchase from an art dealer, and the museum strengthened its policies regarding the acquisition of art. “We’re no longer going to take things that people say for granted whether they sell or donate an object,” says museum director Derrick Cartwright. “What’s really at stake is the public trust.”
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April 2, 2008

A selective sort of context

Posted at 8:27 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Yet again, in discussions about the Parthenon Marbles (amongst other things), Neil MacGregor reverts back to his favourite Universal Museum argument. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Universal Museum idea – but at the same time, it is only one premise (out of many) that a museum could be based on. Just because the British Museum happens to fit within this (largely self created) category, it does not mean it is the only option, nor does it mean that it is the right option. Many archaeologist would convincingly argue, that seeing site specific historic artefacts within the context they were created for is far more important than seeing them within the context of other tenuously related artefacts from different times & cultures.

Time Out (London)

Neil MacGregor: interview
By Ossian Ward. Photography Gautier Deblonde
Posted: Tue Apr 1 2008

You may think you‘re in London when you visit the British Museum but according to its acclaimed director Neil MacGregor you are actually walking the corridors and galleries of a global institution. As the record-breaking ’First Emperor‘ exhibition comes to an end, MacGregor tells Time Out why he‘s excited about the future
Neil MacGregor: interview

Neil MacGregor loves talking about the world, because most of it is on display at the British Museum, where he’s been director since 2002. ‘The museum was set up in 1753 to be a comparative world collection. One that should be usable by the world and free to people of all nations.’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone repeat one word so often in the space of an hour. ‘In order to make citizens equipped for the world, they’ve got to study the world. There was no equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge in London at that point, so in a way this became the Open University. In fact, it’s like the World Service, helping to build global citizenship and community.’
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April 1, 2008

Melina Mercouri Foundation creator dies

Posted at 12:36 pm in Elgin Marbles

Some more detailed obituaries following the death of Jules Dassin yesterday.

Agence France Presse

Jules Dassin: US cinema prodigy who found refuge in Greece
15 hours ago

ATHENS (AFP) — Veteran US moviemaker Jules Dassin, who died Monday in Athens at the age of 96, was a film noir master who sought exile in Europe after being named during the anti-communist witch-hunts of the 1950s.

Dassin married the legendary Greek actress Melina Mercouri, joined her campaign for the return of Greece’s lost Parthenon marbles and was eventually awarded honorary Greek citizenship.
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