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Turkey’s cultural ambitions: Of marbles and men, The Economist

Turkey’s cultural ambitions: Of marbles and men, The Economist | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Turkey gets tough with foreign museums and launches a new culture war. 

 

• Turkey’s cultural ambitions: Of marbles and men, The Economist http://t.co/r9QQ3rsh

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Kramer on FB: Said out, Gérôme in

Kramer on FB: Said out, Gérôme in | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Edward Said denounced 19th-century artist Jean-Léon Gérôme by placing his ‘Snake Charmer’ on the cover of ‘Orientalism’ (http://goo.gl/j1ZZS). But of late, Gérôme has been getting his revenge. There was a big show at the Getty (‘A Pariah Gets His Day’ ran one headline, http://goo.gl/dNxCG). And now the rehab is complete: Gérôme’s ‘Bashi-Bazouk’ is on the cover of the Met’s new guidebook. Said out, Gérôme in.

 

• Kramer on FB: Said out, Gérôme in http://t.co/HDuL4xBe

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Keep corrupt regimes out of British culture by Nick Cohen

Keep corrupt regimes out of British culture by Nick Cohen | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The British Museum's current Hajj exhibition charts the history of Mecca as a destination for pilgrims with the wariness of a conscript crossing a minefield. The exhibition sticks to the authorised version of "religious scholars".  Saudi Arabia provided exhibits. The Saudi royal family's King Abdulaziz Public Library partnered the museum. HSBC Amanah, a bank that issues sharia-compliant loans, sponsored the show. By negligence or design, nothing in the exhibition offends the Saudi state, which derives legitimacy from its control of sacred sites and income from pilgrims.

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When soft power fails the acid test by Nicola Kuhn [Western museums and dictatorships]

Western museums are opening their halls for huge state exhibitions in collaboration with non-democratic regimes.

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The Saudis have spoiled Mecca—but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know by Will Heaven

The Saudis have spoiled Mecca—but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know by Will Heaven | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Looming large over the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba (the black cube-shaped building that is the holiest site in Islam) is the largest and second tallest building in the world, called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower complex. You can’t miss it (see pic above) – unless, it seems, you’re a British Museum curator. The 2,000-foot hotel certainly didn’t feature in the exhibition. Mecca's mayor, Osama al-Bar, justifies all this by saying that “a tower is very much like a mountain in its height”. Never before have "mountains" looked so garish and distressingly ugly. Call me naive, but I trusted the British Museum (of which, by the way, I’m a paid-up member) to give me the full, uncensored picture. I should have paid more attention to the ominous note at the entrance: “In partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

 

• The Saudis have spoiled Mecca—but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know by Will Heaven http://tgr.ph/HAB9Z7

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Kramer on FB: Jews in Orientalist art, on exhibit in Paris

Kramer on FB: Jews in Orientalist art, on exhibit in Paris | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Each year, there are one or two major exhibitions of Orientalist art, recycling familiar works in similar ways. So kudos to the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris. It’s got an original show: Jews in Orientalist art. Some of the themes are biblical, some are (mostly 19th-century) contemporary.

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Art against History [at the Met] by Alex Joffe

Art against History [at the Met] by Alex Joffe | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

The beauty of things is amply displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's recently opened "New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia," a massive remodeling of the museum's former Islamic art galleries; but the realities of history are carefully disguised.

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