Showing results 37 - 48 of 64 for the tag: Universal Museum.

October 5, 2008

The reasons for retention

Posted at 12:50 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Another review of James Cuno’s book on why museums should be holding onto cultural property of questionable provenance.

The Australian

Back to the source
Ingrid D. Rowland | October 04, 2008

Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage
By James Cuno
Princeton University Press, 228pp, $US24.95
The encyclopedic museums’ argument against repatriation of classical artefacts is self-servingly flawed, writes Ingrid D. Rowland

EARLY this year, the state apartments of the Palazzo del Quirinale hosted a remarkable exhibition of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan artefacts, all found on Italian soil but held until recently in museums and private collections in the US, notably the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The exhibition was a diplomatic coup for Francesco Rutelli, the former mayor of Rome, who until April was minister of culture for two years in the left-wing government of Romano Prodi.
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September 28, 2008

Nationalism & looted cultural property

Posted at 9:58 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Some such as James Cuno, see reunification requests for looted artefacts as cultural nationalism. It is always implied that this is an inherently bad thing, although the issue is never fully discussed. If a country lost part of its national identity, surely it should be allowed to rebuild it, rather than only being defined by what was left behind by the museums & institutions of the west?

Modern Ghana

By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sun, 28 Sep 2008

“The charge of nationalism (whether outdated or au courant) is frequently levelled at those seeking the repatriation of cultural treasures to those nations and communities from which they were extracted. But nations have always used their own material culture as a means of constructing and expressing their national identity. There is nothing implicitly damaging or divisive in that. However it becomes so when the objects being used are not indigenous to that country but instead material extracted from other nations during periods of imperial conquest or colonial adventure.” Tom Flynn (1)
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August 23, 2008

Lectures on the Encyclopaedic Museum

Posted at 2:05 pm in British Museum, Events, Similar cases

James Cuno, Neil MacGregor, Phillipe De Montebello & Thomas Gaehtgens represent the astonishingly one sided collection of speakers lecturing in Chicago on the concept formerly known as the Universal Museum. (details of each lecture follow the main article).

Chicago Art Institute

NEWS: The Art Institute of Chicago Presents: 360 Degrees: Art beyond Borders
22 Aug 2008

The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

27 September 2008–16 June 2009


Join us for a wealth of insightful and exciting 360 Degrees programming.

# Lectures: Four engaging lecture series occur throughout the season. In “The Fate of Encyclopedic Museums,” directors from the Art Institute, the Getty, the British Museum, and the Met discuss the role of the encyclopedic museum. Noted scholars also explore current and historical perspectives on globalization and Art Institute curators give their take on the encyclopedic nature of their collections.
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August 6, 2008

Who appoints the international community?

Posted at 1:40 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

I’ve argued in the past, that institutions such as the British Museum are being excessively presumptuous in their attempts to put themselves in the role of Universal Museum for the whole world – in effect, deciding what is best for everyone else.

This article looks at that issue & beyond it, to the way in which the international community is lead by a relatively small group of western nations, acting generally on what is best for them, rather than what is best for all parties involved in the discussion.

Daily News (Sri Lanka)

Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Who appoints the ‘International Community?’
S. Pathiravitana

There was a time when newspapers used to have the figure of a man wearing a hat on his head which resembled the earth’s globe and was meant to signify World Opinion. This figure has now disappeared and newspapers refer instead to an ‘international community.’

Unlike the earlier figure which readily made you think of world opinion, the phrase which has replaced it restricts itself to an ‘international community.’
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August 4, 2008

The rationale of non-return of cultural property

Posted at 11:30 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Museums of the west come up with many different explanations to justify why items in their collections should not be returned to the location where they were first (re)discovered. It is stated for instance that the The Code of Hammurabi in the Louvre should not be returned, as the location where it was (re)discovered in 1901 was not the location where it was originally created. This fact is true – the Code was created in Babylon in 1760 BC & at some point in the following six hundred years ended up in the Persian town of Susa. If we apply this rationale however, it is equally legitimate for someone else to take it from the Louvre today with no fear of reprisals. This on case is far from an isolated incident – the details may change in each case, but the overall attitude does not.

Modern Ghana

By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Mon, 11 Aug 2008

The striding and perhaps, growling, lion is surely an appropriate symbol for the power and influence of the three countries, France, Great Britain and Germany at the time that most of the valuable cultural objects were removed from Mesopotamia and other parts of the world.

The objective of the current exhibition (26 June – 5 October 2008) in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, entitled “Babylon: Myth and Truth”, is, according to the official website, “to explore the myth of Babel and the true facts surrounding the ancient city of Babylon: two worlds – one exhibition”. (1) A related Babylon exhibition has already been held in Paris (14 March – 2 June 2008) and another one will be held in London (13 November 2008 – 15 March 2009). The legends and symbolism arising from the myths of Babylon – Sodom and Gomorrah, myths of unrestrained hedonism, Tower of Babel – linguistic multiplicity and confusion, imprisonment and racial oppression, are no doubt very interesting and important and will be discussed by many commentators on the exhibition.(2) Not all visitors to the exhibition may be aware that Bob Marley and the Wailers, echoing Rastafarian beliefs and reflecting the views of many Africans and people of African descent, designated as Babylon the oppressive economic system and political hegemony of the West:
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July 12, 2008

The British Museum and the Universal Museum

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

I’m getting a sense of deja-vu here, having read another ridiculously sycophantic piece on the British Museum followed by a response by Dr Kwame Opoku who points out the various flaws glossed over by the first piece. Clearly the British Museum’s Public Relations department has been particularly successful in the last few weeks (to the extent of appearing too obvious?). I see no other reason to explain why there should be three such congratulatory articles about their institution in the press in a single week.

The Times

From The Times
July 10, 2008
Let’s all have tickets to the universal museum
It’s pointless trying to work out who owns ancient art objects. We need to share them around the world
Ben Macintyre

The visitors pouring through the doors of the British Museum represent the triumph of an idea born in the white intellectual heat of the Enlightenment – as valuable today as it was 250 years ago when the museum first opened, but now under attack, despite its fabulous success, as never before.

The British Museum is the greatest universal museum in the world. On my first visit there, as a teenager, I remember feeling physically overwhelmed by the sheer scale and variety of the artefacts, art and ideas on display: Mesopotamian relics, Roman statuary, pharaonic carvings, Viking burial treasures.
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Is the British Museum really leading the world?

Posted at 6:53 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum’s Public Relations department have clearly been successful in securing various op-ed journalists to write about how amazing their institution is & will continue to be.

A response by Dr Kwame Opoku follows after the first article.

The Guardian

How one cultural vision has lessons for the whole world
The British Museum is now our top attraction. If only others would shrug off their deadening ways and follow its lead
Tristram Hunt
The Observer,
Sunday July 6, 2008

According to its director, Neil MacGregor, the monstrous iron gates of the British Museum have only twice in its history had to be closed to the public. The first time was in 1848, for fear of angry Chartist radicals. And the second was earlier this year, as thousands queued for the museum’s Terracotta Army exhibition.

But boast he might as last week the British Museum was named the nation’s top visitor attraction – thrashing Tate Modern, Alton Towers, and even Madame Tussauds. Instead of Nemesis roller coasters and Will Smith waxworks, tourists and Brits alike clearly preferred the Great Court, Egyptian galleries, and blockbuster exhibitions on show at Great Russell Street. And all the signs are that this month’s Emperor Hadrian exhibition will draw even greater numbers.
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The greatest museum on earth

Posted at 6:34 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The British Museum is currently riding high on a wave of optimism created by rising visitor figures, James Cuno’s book & the news that MacGregor will stay for a further four years. The opening of the New Acropolis Museum later this year though & the unrelenting moral arguments for the return artefacts will still remain as issues that the museum has to confront well after the time when these current issues have become old news.

The Times

From The Times
July 9, 2008
Is the British Museum the greatest museum on earth?
It is Britain’s top cultural attraction, a great new exhibition is on the way and its director is not off to the Met in New York after all
Damian Whitworth

In an age when it can feel as if trash is about to breach the levees and flood the entire cultural landscape, two announcements have offered evidence of the surprising healthiness of the nation’s appetite for the highbrow.

The first was that the British Museum has overtaken Blackpool Pleasure Beach to become Britain’s most popular cultural attraction. In the past year 6.04 million visitors crossed the threshold, trumping Blackpool on 5.5 million and Tate Modern with 5.23 million.
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July 7, 2008

Is there good reason for the Elgin Marbles to remain in Britain?

Posted at 1:29 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

James Cuno’s new book expounds his views that we should not be moving towards more reunifications of artefacts. The Daily Telegraph (somewhat predictably) chooses to agree with him in their review of his new book, although others have already pointed out the numerous flaws in his reasoning.

Daily Telegraph

Why the Elgin Marbles should stay
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 06/07/2008

Jonathan Keates reviews Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage by James Cuno

Connoisseurs of little-known facts will rejoice in the existence of a department of Unesco called the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation.

Besides defying all efforts to reduce it to a manageable acronym, the name surely deserves some sort of accolade for its verbosity.
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July 1, 2008

Stolen artefacts to travel from one Universal Museum to another

Posted at 12:49 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Universal Museum concept has not been without its critics. Now it seems that (where large sums of money are involved), artefacts can move from one such institution to another, but the possibility of returning them to their original owners is an entirely different issue that should never be considered.

Modern Ghana

By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Sun, 29 Jun 2008
Feature Article

Although the Art Newspaper published the details of the arrangements on Friday, 27 June, 2008, the contract between Abu Dhabi and France on the creation of Louvre Abu Dhabi was signed last year. See Tom Flynn, Getting ahead in the sand: universal museum in the age of neo-liberalism

If you ever thought there was no money in the museum business and that museums dealt only with artefacts and dead bodies, as one lady told me, the news below should make you reflect. You will perhaps realize that the so called “universal museums” are making huge profits from their stolen art objects. Not only do they keep their entrance fees (where this is required) but also charge for the use of images of the stolen objects by way of copyright. They also sell the expertise they develop through their possession of thousands of objects from all over the world and indeed charge some of the deprived countries for supplying knowledge about their own culture. The report below shows that the Louvre is reaping huge benefits from Abu Dhabi for the use of the name “Louvre”. Part of the fame of the Louvre surely comes from its possession of stolen art made possible by French imperialism. The French boast of using their expertise in building a “universal museum” in this part of the world. One cannot deny the undoubted expertise and experience of the French in establishing a “universal museum”. The financial obstacles outlined in Universal Museum Starter Kit may not apply here but what about the legal and political objections?
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June 27, 2008

Cuno talks with Conforti

Posted at 10:10 am in British Museum, Similar cases

James Cuno has taken part in a long radio conversation to promote his new book.

Tom Flynn speculates on his site, why Cuno’s book is being treated as credible.

Listen to the radio interview on KCRW here.

Tom Flynn’s response is here.

June 21, 2008

Cuno & the credible museum

Posted at 11:51 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

In many ways, once James Cuno’s arguments are deconstructed, one can only conclude, that he has been planted in the museums world by restitution organisations to make their own campaigns appear more credible. Unfortunately though, it appears that he is for real – & more worryingly, is one of the candidates for becoming Director of the Met once de Montebello retires later this year.

Kwame Opoku (by email)

James Cuno: “There is not a credible museum in this country that has an object in it that it knows to have been stolen from someplace else.”

This statement attributed to Cuno must surely rank as one of the most blatant misrepresentations of our times.

Cuno and others have engaged a lot of people with the concept of “universal museum” which they now refer to as “encyclopaedic museum”. See “Encyclopaedic Museum Starter Kit”,
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