March 22, 2007

Is Marbles Reunited “yet another campaign”?

Posted at 2:17 pm in Marbles Reunited

This rather negative piece about the relaunch of the Marbles Reunited campaign. The writer seems to have missed the fact that the uncanny resemblance to another Marbles Reunited campaign was because it was a relaunch – as stated in all promotional material surrounding the event. Parthenon 2004 was essentially absorbed into Marbles Reunited, as the name was no longer relevant once the Athens Olympics had passed. The New Acropolis Museum is now far closer to opening by 2008 than it ever was in 2004 – it is well past the point of no return, where legal battles etc can no longer delay progress on it.


March 21, 2007
Yet Another Campaign to Reunite the Parthenon Marbles

Speaking of losing battles that I have journalistically championed…

A new campaign was launched today in Great Britain, chaired by Parliament member Edward O’Hara, to return the British Museum’s portion of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. I’ve supported the rejoining of the marbles numerous times (most notably in this NY Times Op-Ed piece), on the grounds that the sculptural frieze is a single work, depicting a continuous procession. To split it in pieces violates the integrity of one of the great masterpieces of Western Civilization.

Another Parliament member, Andrew George, introduced a motion last week that “calls on the Government to work with the British Museum to open negotiations with the Greek authorities to arrange for the proper restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.”

“Marbles Reunited,” which hosted a kickoff reception today at the House of Commons, bears an uncanny resemblance to Marbles Reunited, a campaign launched in Great Britain three years ago, not to mention Parthenon 2004, which aimed to send the marbles to Greece in time for the Olympics that year in Athens.

The new push is pegged to the expected June 2007 completion of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, designed by Bernard Tschumi, which “will be fully operational in 2008.” Failing an agreement with the British Museum, the new Athens museum will exhibit the Greek-owned marbles in a gallery with a view of the Parthenon from whence they came, leaving empty spaces where the British-owned marbles were intended to be.

I’ll believe the 2008 opening when I see it: The previously expected 2004 inauguration was clearly missed by a long shot. (Early images of Tschumi’s designs are here).

Scheduled to be on hand for today’s British campaign kickoff was Dimitrios Pandermalis, president of the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which is supervising its creation. Another scheduled speaker was our old friend, Nigel Spivey, the host of the art-edutainment television series, “How Art Made the World,” who had elucidated classical art by treating us to an extended live beefcake segment of buff ancient Greek wannabes, ludicrously accompanied by the Noel Coward song, “Mad About the Boy.”

Play it again, Nigel!

Lee Rosenbaum

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