Strike Shutters Eiffel Tower, Jacksonville Removes Confederate Monument: Morning Links for December 28, 2023 - The World News

Strike Shutters Eiffel Tower, Jacksonville Removes Confederate Monument: Morning Links for December 28, 2023

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The Headlines

EXCHANGE PROGRAM? The diplomatic drama around the Parthenon Marbles continues. Greece’s culture minister, Lina Mendoni, told the Guardian that if the UK sends the contested sculptures back to Athens from the British Museum, “Greece is prepared to organize rotating exhibitions of important antiquities that would fill the void.” The museum’s chair, George Osborne, has been open about trying to reach some form of “partnership” agreement with Greece on the contested material, but that has yet to materialize. One major issue: UK law forbids the British Museum from deaccessioning work, and Greece has been resolute that it is the rightful owner of the pieces. Last month, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak nixed a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, because of the latter’s vocal advocacy for the repatriation of the works during a trip to the UK.

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Kyriakos Mitsotakis Prime Minister of Greece at a stand up press briefing after the end of the 2-day European Council and Euro Summit, the EU leaders meeting at the headquarters of the European Union. The Greek PM makes a statement and responds to questions from the media and local press. EU leaders and heads of states have on their agenda to discuss at the 2-day summit the topics of the humanitarian pauses in Israel's war with Hamas, push for humanitarian aid corridors into besieged Gaza, the support to Ukraine after Russia's invasion, economy and the migration crisis situation. EUCO in Brussels, Belgium on 27 October 2023  (Photo Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

THE PUBLIC REALM. Since 1915, a Confederate monument, Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy, has been on view in Jacksonville, Florida’s Springfield Park. No longer. The sculpture was removed on Wednesday by the city’s Democratic mayor, Donna Deegan, the Associated Press reports. “Symbols matter,” Deegan said in a statement. “They tell the world what we stand for and what we aspire to be.” The chair of the county Republican Party, Dean Black, said that the action “is another in a long line of woke Democrats obsession with Cancel Culture and tearing down history.” On a decidedly lighter public-art note, a massive bronze statue of the superstar singer Shakira—more than 20 feet tall!—was installed in her hometown, Barranquilla, Colombia, BBC News reports. The artist responsible for the piece is Yino Márquez. A plaque at the sculpture’s base speaks of “hips that do not lie, a unique talent, a voice that moves masses.”

The Digest

The revered artist Pope.L, “whose daredevil performances and conceptual artworks unraveled the concept of race and explored the complexities of language,” died at his home in Chicago on December 23, Alex Greenberger reports. He was 68. [ARTnews]

Unionized employees at the Eiffel Tower in Paris went on strike on Wednesday, with contract negotiations looming. The action will shutter the structure’s upper levels for the time being, a spox said. Around 20,000 people typically visit the place every day at this time of year. [AFP/France 24]

The French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, whose collaborative practice made them leading figures in the design world for more than 20 years, have parted ways and are now working independently. Colleagues in their field spoke of intense public arguments between the two. [The New York Times]

South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art said that it has finished cataloguing the art of the late Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee that was donated to the state by his family. It includes 1,494 pieces by 266 artists. A not-for-sale book on the material will be viewable at the museum’s libraries. [Korea JoongAng Daily]

Reporter Alex Marshall paid a visit to the very cool-looking Crab Museum in Margate, England. It is about a whole lot more than crabs! [The New York Times]

The Kicker

BURNING QUESTIONS. For the Associated PressScott Sonner took a look at the state of Burning Man, which has been drawing larger and larger crowds of revelers—from hippie types to billionaires and celebs—out to Black Rock Desert in Nevada over the past three decades. Among participants, there is always debate about how the festival should operate, and perhaps a generational divide, Sonner reports. One five-time Burner told the AP, “The people that created this community, a lot of them are getting older and retiring and there’s a lot of new young people coming in, the kind that have, you know, a couple $100,000 RVs and are kind of just careless about the environment.” Sick burn. [AP]

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