Monday, June 29, 2009

DAMage Research - A Culture's Art/History... who does it belong to?


"As to whether Elgin had legal authority to remove the marbles, the Ottomans being the ruling power, as the British maintain, Mr. Pandermalis paused. “The problem is not legal,” he decided. “It’s ethical and cultural.” George Voulgarakis, a former culture minister, wasn’t so circumspect when asked the same question. He said, “It’s like saying the Nazis were justified in plundering priceless works of art during the Second World War.”

So both sides, in different ways, stand on shaky ground. Ownership remains the main stumbling block. When Britain offered a three-month loan of the marbles to the Acropolis Museum last week on condition that Greece recognizes Britain’s ownership, Mr. Samaras swiftly countered that Britain could borrow any masterpiece it wished from Greece if it relinquished ownership of the Parthenon sculptures. But a loan was out.

Pity. Asked whether the two sides might ever negotiate a way to share the marbles, Mr. Samaras shook his head. “No Greek can sign up for that,” he said.

Elsewhere, museums have begun collaborating, pooling resources, bending old rules. The British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and other great public collectors of antiquity have good reason to fear a slippery slope if the marbles ever do go back, never mind what the Greeks say.


"Greece is insisting that the British Museum surrender the marble sculptures that Lord Elgin took down from the Parthenon and carted away in the early 1800s.

As curators all over the world will see it, those who call for the permanent return of the Parthenon sculptures from London are arguing for international museums to be emptied. Many other collections have a more dubious provenance than the marbles—think of the British Museum’s Benin bronzes, seized in a punitive raid in Nigeria; of the Pergamon altar removed from Turkey and now in Berlin; of Chinese treasures carried off during the Boxer rebellion and again during the civil war; of hundreds of works in Russian museums that were snatched from their owners in the Bolshevik revolution.

You cannot go very far in righting those wrongs without entangling the world’s museums in a Gordian knot of restitution claims. That is why, in December 2002, 18 of the world’s leading directors—from the Louvre to the Hermitage and from the Metropolitan Museum to the Getty Museum—argued for a quid pro quo. The Munich declaration, as it is called, asserts that today’s ethical standards cannot be applied to yesterday’s acquisitions"



"The Parthenon was built between 447-432 B.C., at the height of ancient Athens' glory, in honor of the city's patron goddess, Athena.

About half the surviving sculptures were removed by Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 1800s, while Greece was still an unwilling part of the Ottoman Empire. Most belong to a frieze depicting a religious procession that ran round the top of the temple."

"The Greek government on Monday pointed directly to regurgitated excuses and a continued negative stance by British Museum officials regarding the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, with a government spokesman stressing that "all excuses used by those who invented different pretenses to keep integral parts of this unique monument outside Greece have failed."

"They should return them," spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said,referring to the Marbles during the first week of operation for the New Acropolis Museum at the foot of the Acropolis.

"They (Marbles) should be brought back to Greece to the place they belong. It is unacceptable for a monument to be broken into pieces. I am certain that those who will visit the Museum will not have the slightest doubt that this has to be done and I am certain that in the end it (return of the Marbles) will."

He also spoke of "desperate efforts by those who have done wrong, to defend their positions."

Antonaros also expressed certainty that the Museum itself will play a decisive role in demolishing "obsolete positions, ones that will be impossible to defend anymore."


Acropolis Museum reignites Marbles debate
Opinion still divided on whether artifacts in British Museum should be returned to be put on display in new building in Athens


Two 1st to 3rd century AD terracotta statuettes are seen on display at the entrance to the New Acropolis Museum, which will be inaugurated during an opening ceremony tomorrow.

By Christian Flood - Kathimerini English Edition

For Cambridge University Classics Professor Mary Beard, the Parthenon Marbles aren’t just a historical treasure; they’re a life-changing event. Seeing the famed pieces of Acropolis sculpture in the British Museum’s Duveen Gallery at age 5, Beard says, was “gobsmacking” – one of the things that influenced her to devote her life to the study of the ancients.

No surprise then that Beard – the well-known author of the 2002 book “The Parthenon” – was among a crowd of academic, artistic and political luminaries descending on the New Acropolis Museum for a series of invitation-only inaugural events that began on Wednesday with a tour for arts correspondents and the Greek media.

Greek officials have been meticulous about the proceedings: allotting four days for the events and inviting a long list of international guests, while framing the opening of the museum as an opportunity to cement public support for the stance that the Marbles – unceremoniously transported to the United Kingdom by British Ambassador Lord Elgin in the early 19th century – should be returned to the Acropolis.


Slides of the so-called Kritios Boy are projected onto the walls of the new museum on Wednesday night. The 5th-century BC Kritios Boy was one of the statues dedicated by the ancient Athenians to their patron goddess Athena on the Acropolis.


But for several people with a stake in the new museum’s opening who spoke to Kathimerini English Edition in the past week, the issue remains divisive. And even Beard, a lifelong admirer of the Marbles who was set to attend an event yesterday evening for scholars and various supporters of the sculptures’ restitution, said she hadn’t been convinced either way on the issue.

“I’m not in favor of sending [the Marbles] back, I’m not in favor of keeping them,” Beard said from her home in Britain earlier this week. “I don’t think there’s many of us in the world like me who are actually on the fence about this... we sit extremely uncomfortably on the fence, the enemy of both sides, looking and wondering about the arguments.”

Such sentiments are hardly in keeping with the wishes of the Greek Ministry of Culture, which, in online materials documenting the “official Greek position” on the Marbles, lists an excerpt from a 2004 interview with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis forecasting consensus in favor of the sculptures’ return.

“We are dedicated to our goal, the return of the Marbles,” the interview reads. “We feel optimistic that in the end, even the most doubtful will be convinced, and will change their attitude toward the matter.”


Undoubtedly, the new museum has won some converts. When Athens-born Oxford historian Angelos Chaniotis made his first trip to London to see the Marbles in the 1980s, he did not believe they should be returned to Greece.

Fresh from the clutches of a military dictatorship, the country lacked the infrastructure to make the display of the sculptures a viable priority, he said. Pollution, lack of restorative efforts on the Acropolis, and limited funding for necessary archaeological research elsewhere in the country were all concerns. And the old Acropolis museum, Chaniotis said, “was not adequate for the Marbles.” But from the outset the new facility promised better, he said.

“When it was clear that a very good museum was going to be built, I felt that there was absolutely no reason not to support every effort to return the Marbles there,” said Chaniotis, who planned to attend inaugural events this week. “The New Acropolis Museum is much better in every way than the British Museum in terms of display and research possibilities – it is in every respect the better environment for the exhibition.”

Others have been less quick to acknowledge the new museum’s ability to change the discourse on the Marbles. The British Museum, which planned to send two representatives to the inaugural celebration according to spokeswoman Hannah Boulton, maintained last week that it would not relinquish the sculptures, new museum or no.

“[The museum] doesn’t alter our view that the sculptures in the Museum’s collection should remain here as part of the unique overview of world cultures that the British Museum exists to present,” Boulton wrote in a statement to Kathimerini English Edition last week.

Add to that the fact that the new museum, a decidedly modern structure delayed for years partly by concerns over how its design would fit with its surroundings, has its detractors on the home front.


“It’s certainly a functional venue,” said Ioannis Petropoulos, a classics professor at the Democritus University of Thrace and chairman of Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. “But its appearance is highly controversial, and I along with many think it’s a monstrosity out of proportion and out of tune with its surroundings, both the local architecture and the physical landscape.”

The new building, Petropoulos said, should not lead to the prioritization of further contention about the Marbles at the expense of other efforts like revamping Greece’s classical education system and improving archaeological and display practices in areas more provincial than Athens. Modern Salamis, site of a naval battle that “changed the course of human history” in 480 BC, is now little more than a “dumping ground,” Petropolous said, pointing to sites away from the Sacred Rock that deserve the nation’s attention.


“Charity begins at home, so let’s get more professional, more scholarly at the provincial level and let’s re-educate the Greeks about the Parthenon,” he said. “I’m sure very few Greeks actually know the names of the individual buildings on the Acropolis. Ask a typical Greek high school student when it was built, who built the Acropolis, how do you spell ‘Parthenon,’ and I’m sure many people will be nonplussed.”

But for now, with all eyes trained on the Acropolis, and a third-floor display space in the new museum reportedly waiting for the receipt of the Marbles, the debate over their location seems destined to end no time soon. Beard, for one, has no problem with that – calling the Marbles controversy “one of the most interesting cultural debates going on at the moment” and citing its value for the worldwide discourse on the ownership of historical artifacts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WAHOOOO Damage Report Television!!!

The DAMage Report premieres on Los Angeles television! The pilot is being taped tonight at 8pm PST. If you are in the LA area - go on my behalf since i can't be there and give Johnny my best! I swear - i know the coolest people. ~grinning~

No radio show tomorrow so i'll catch everyone with an art topic next week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DAMage Report - Audiences Decline or Just Moving Online?

According to the Washington Post and LA Times, surveys indicate that the public is attending less and less arts related performances and exhibitions. "Two separate national surveys gauging youth and adult participation in the arts reported yesterday that visits to art museums are declining....The percentage of eighth-graders who reported that they visited an art museum or gallery with their classes dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 16 percent in 2008."

Uhhhh - well, duh. Cutbacks in arts education means there are no funds to get the kids to museums. Of course there is going to be a drop. And it will of course profoundly affect the Arts in the future as these kids grow up with little or no exposure to it. But it isn't just the kids not being encouraged to go to museums and festivals.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts fewer adults are going to art museums and visual arts festivals. The exception seems to be in major cities where they can attend museums and festivals for free. Has FREE become the operative word here? Are we becoming a society where if we can't get it for free, we don't want it at all? Because the starving arts will only live so long - you don't feed the artist/arts at least a little... it dies.

It is interesting to note that the surveys indicate arts participation online has increased... possibly because viewing art online is free. And as much as I enjoy the easy access of art online it still doesn't replace acting DOING, SEEING, FEELING. It is like looking at a print in a book of Salvidor Dali's " The Discovery of America" - it looks cool and can be appreciated for a fine painting. But see the fourteen foot high painting in person at the Dali Museum and it completely, totally blows you away.

Same goes for listening to music on you tube or itunes rather than experiencing it live. Convenience is great but it doesn't replace actual real, live experience. We need to mesh the two together and create something new that continues to encourage people to experience art in more than just a virtual environment. We need to back it the hell up and stop the slippery slide down that slope before all we have left are old vid clips and copies of paintings that were done decades ago.

****Meet me this afternoon on the DAMage Report at 2:30pm PST/ 5:30pm EST / 10:30pm GMT. And post a comment on my wall - what arts event have you recently attended?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I just got this in an email from a local artist. This is so freaking unbelievably awesome! And I HATE this song (and the sound of music)! You HAVE TO WATCH THIS!!!!

At 8am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system. As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances. They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reverse posting - copy of my last FB post

Ok - so this appeals to my inner geek, which most of y'all don't get to see. In fact I think only Gaddy, Wolfie, Anil and Cunny have to deal with my geek side on occasion. Ummm.... not that they're geeks... exactly. 

BERLIN (Reuters) – A new, superheavy chemical element numbered 112 will soon be officially included in the periodic table, German researchers said.

A team in the southwest German city of Darmstadt first produced 112 in 1996 by firing charged zinc atoms through a 120-meter-long particle accelerator to hit a lead target.

"The new element is approximately 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element in the periodic table," the scientists at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The zinc and lead nuclei were fused to form the nucleus of the new element, also known as Ununbium, Latin for 112.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), confirmed the discovery of 112 by the team led by Sigurd Hofmann at the Helmholtz Center. IUPAC has asked for an official name for the element to be submitted.

John Jost, executive director of IUPAC in North Carolina, told Reuters that creating new elements helped researchers to understand how nuclear power plants and atomic bombs function.

The atomic number 112 refers to the sum of the atomic numbers of zinc, which has 30, and lead, which has 82. Atomic numbers denote how many protons are found in the atom's nucleus.

Scientists at the Helmholtz Center have discovered six chemical elements, numbered 107-112, since 1981. The remaining five elements have already been recognized and named.

In 1925, scientists discovered the last naturally occurring element on the periodic table. Since then researchers have sought to create new, heavier elements.

Proving the existence of atoms with such a high mass, the so-called superheavy elements, is a complex procedure because they exist for only tiny fractions of a second and then decay radioactively into other elements.

(Reporting by Jacob Comenetz, editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Great show yesterday

Thnx everyone that contributed to the discussion! And thnx to Johnny, James and John on the show. I thoroughly enjoyed myself yesterday! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DAMage Report: What to do when historical Art offends?

"Behind the fabric is a large, three-panel mural titled Pursuits of Life in Mississippi depicting a white family in front of a plantation-style home and other white figures engaged in various professions. In the margins are faceless black people picking cotton, with the exception of a lone figure in the foreground who is smiling and playing a banjo. It's inconvenient art. And how to present works of art that have historical value but are sometimes painfully out of step with modern sensibilities can be an issue for communities."

I am strongly (rabidly) opposed to censorship of the arts, but that doesn't mean that I think anything goes at any time or any place. But neither do I want to sit in a courtroom and have to stare at a painting of the white Massa and his slaves. If i want to appreciate the historical aspects or the artistic merit, I'll go see it in a museum.

The positive change in societal attitudes doesn't mean the painting should be destroyed. We are not the barbarian hordes here, burning Alexandria. But it does mean that the public should not be forced to view offensive art due to its location in a public building.

Times change (thank goodness) and what was once perfectly acceptable visual representations of society are no longer deemed acceptable. What to do with the art?

We cannot change the past by destroying the art. In fact, isn't the art a good reminder to not repeat idiotic mistakes of the past? We cannot change the ideas of others by burning books that we find offensive. We cannot hide or lie to ourselves by toppling the sculptures and pretending we were always perfect.

But neither do we need to condone past oppressions by giving the art depicting lynchings and prejudice prominent display room in our halls of justice.

"Stanford University art historian Michael Marrinan said works of art often have suffered from changing attitudes. Heroic paintings of Napoleon were displayed for years in the Louvre, taken down when political fortunes changed and then hung again when a new regime came into power. "Anytime a work is political, it is going to have a shelf life," he said. "We may not agree with it anymore, but it is part of our heritage."

****Hear the discussion today on the Award Winning DAMage Report Radio Show - at 2pm PST / 5pm EST/ 10pm GMT

Monday, June 8, 2009

Research: When Art Offends

State Historian Keith Petersen said the mural ( that depicts two armed white men about to lynch a shirtless American Indian) has been controversial since it was unveiled in 1940 but not because of the subject matter. "People thought it was just bad art,"  Petersen said complaints gradually centered around the lynching, coming to a head in 2007, when the Legislature moved in. Some lawmakers had favored removing the painting until representatives of the area's five Native-American tribes came up with the idea for the plaques, which describe the violent clash of native and white cultures in the pioneer settlement of the Boise Valley. "You don't want to whitewash history or erase it," he said.


"Art is always in a political context," Gary Casteel said. "Even Monet's paintings of pretty lily fields could make a political statement if you are an environmental activist."

Stanford University art historian Michael Marrinan said works of art often have suffered from changing attitudes. Heroic paintings of Napoleon were displayed for years in the Louvre, taken down when political fortunes changed and then hung again when a new regime came into power. "Anytime a work is political, it is going to have a shelf life," he said. "We may not agree with it anymore, but it is part of our heritage."

Despite the stereotypical images in the mural in his courtroom, Wingate said he would like to see it preserved, but it does not belong in a courtroom, where everyone should feel equal. "On the other hand, it should not be destroyed because it is our history," he said.

"...for whatever reason — its illuminated red eyes or hyper-realistic anatomy — "Mustang" has sparked intense reactions pro and con, and those responses can be seen as a total validation of the piece.

Meaningful art is never neutral or innocuous. It provokes thought and stirs emotions. It irritates. It inspires. It can be seen a dozen times and still offer new dimension on the 13th viewing.

If there is any lesson to take from this debate, it is this: Art matters. And public art — work outside museums in the everyday world — matters not just to art cognoscenti but also to ordinary people like Hultin who don't necessarily have strong backgrounds in the field.:

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I have to come up with a really good topic to make up for the tanking of last week's show.
Note to self: never try to discuss something related to fashion with four guys on the show... unless i purposely want to make them writhe in pain.

Before i start hitting the news feeds to find a topic - y'all have any area of the arts you'd like to see explored?

Meanwhile to hold you over - Anil sent me this link to HDR photography technique - check out the richness of color and depth in these

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

DAMage Report - the Art of Fashion - The Flesh Parade,0,7097586.story

One of the areas of the arts that we tend to take for granted is fashion. Most of us don't typically view our clothing as "art." Yet we will anxiously run to the shoppes every season to ensure that our wardrobes are bulging at the seams with the "latest" colors and styles. We (specifically women) love to adorn ourselves in trendy fabrics and checkout what is in and what is not. We spend a fortune every year wrapping ourselves up in the artistic creations of fashion designers. No where is this more evident than in the summer when swimsuit weather arrives. While basic black (my fave) is always in style, every year sees a splash of "in" colors and styles hit the racks. 

This year appears to be one of retro fashion with haltertop swimsuits all the rage, neon colors, and colorful tie-dye coveralls. The swimskirt that used to make us think of our grandmothers at the beach has made a return, but is more akin to the sassy miniskirt than the cellulite disguise it used to be. 

"After a peak that lasted through the late '80s, fashion turned to grunge style, deconstruction and the "anti-fashion" movement, which favored a duller palette and a much less healthy demeanor. But neon is back. Why the reprise? Possibly because of the '80s music revival, or it could be, as Daley puts it, "because self-expression is coming back."

Store racks are also featuring swim dresses this year which bring to mind the beach photos we've all seen from the 30's and 40's. They aren't condusive to getting that all over beach tan that will make your friends writhe in envy when you return from vacation, but they do look sporty and cute, while hiding any fleshy flaws. 

And no, I couldn't resist the lure of fashion, even though I have enough swimsuits to outfit an Olympic Team in my closet. I just HAD to have one of those adorable haltertops.

****Special Guests today are Beach Bunny One and Beach Bunny Two who will share fashion do's and don'ts that they've seen this week on the beach. Guys, you aren't exempt. Better hide your speedos. :D

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reference Article for tomorrow's show,0,7097586.story

Going to the beach for my birthday! Whoot! Interviewing Beach Bunny One and Beach Bunny Two about fashion trends, do's and don'ts (and hot "artistic" bods) at the beach. :P