Previous Posts: August 2022

The Parthenon Marbles (ctd.)

August 4 2022

Image of The Parthenon Marbles (ctd.)

Picture: BG

There was an interesting story in The Sunday Times signalling a major shift in the British Museum's approach to the Parthenon Marbles. Jonathan Williams, the BM's Deputy Director, has offered "a positive Parthenon partnership” with the Acropolis Museum in Greece. They're not clear what the partnership would involve - whether long term loans, transferring ownership (unlikely), or some sort of fudge (more likely) - but the language is I think important. It not only comes after George Osborne (Chair of the BM) saying 'there's a deal to be done' (as I wrote earlier on AHN), but because Williams himself had recently ruled out any substantial change in policy. So now we have trustees and executives at the BM both signalling they're open to a change in policy. This comes on the back of the UK government also (although more gently) signalling a change in policy, in saying the issue of the Marbles is entirely up to the British Museum, not ministers. Which, in this age of Tories never losing a chance to intervene in the culture wars, is surprising, and I think in itself revealing.

Women artists worth 10% of men.

August 4 2022

In The Guardian, Mary Ann Sieghart reports that for every one pound a work by a male artist makes, a female artist makes just 10p. The figure comes from research by Helen Gorrill, for a BBC Radio 4 documentary, Recalculating Art. The Guardian story has this opinion - in my view completely correct - from the director of Tate Modern, Frances Morris:

“Women artists have fared very poorly because there’s been an unconscious collusion between the marketplace, art history and the institutions. Everybody lacks confidence, everybody’s looking for confirmation. So there’s been a sort of confirmational history, which you could call the canon. And, of course, convention and history were framed by patriarchy."

The Radio 4 documentary goes out on 11th August at 11.30. More here.

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