BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION GROUP: CHASING APHRODITE OR STEALING ATHENA11:30 a.m. June 26, 2014
Join the NOMA Book Club! Each month Book Club reads art-related fiction and non-fiction, and engages in discussion groups, curatorial programs and field trips correlating with each book.
Most Book Club programs start promptly at noon, but please come at 11:30 if you wish to bring a sack lunch and meet with friends. NOMA provides water and soft drinks. Please RSVP for the meetings you wish to attend.
Book Club members may buy their reading selections at the NOMA Museum Shop at a 20% discount. Call the Shop at (504) 658-4133 for more information.
To join NOMA Book Club or for more information, contact Sheila Cork at (504) 658-4117 or at email@example.com.
Wednesday, June 26: Discussion Group
Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
“In an authoritative account, two reporters who led a Los Angeles Times investigation, reveal the details of the Getty Museum’s illicit purchases, from smugglers and fences, of looted Greek and Roman antiquities. In 2005, the Italians indicted former Getty curator Marion True for trafficking in looted antiquities, and by 2007, after protracted negotiations, the Getty agreed to return 40 of 46 artifacts demanded by the Italian government; Italy in turn agreed to loan the Getty comparable objects. One of the major pieces lost by the Getty was an Aphrodite statue purchased by True to put the Getty on the map. But still eluding the Italians is the Getty Bronze, a statue of an athlete hauled out of international waters in 1964 by Italian fishermen; it was the prized acquisition of the Getty’s first antiquities curator, Jiri Frel, who brought thousands more looted antiquities into the museum through a tax-fraud scheme. The authors offer an excellent recap of the museum’s misdeeds, brimming with tasty details of the scandal that motivated several of America’s leading art museums to voluntarily return to Italy and Greece some 100 classical antiquities worth more than half a billion dollars” (Publishers Weekly, amazon.com)
Stealing Athena: A Novel by Karen Essex
“With the history of the Elgin Marbles as a framework, Essex moves between ancient Greece and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe to depict the lives of two women-both scandalous in their times-who were key to the story. Aspasia, courtesan and advisor to Athenian statesman Pericles, saw the creation of the marble masterpieces at the Parthenon (and served as model for its statue of Athena, an admittedly fictional device). Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin, supported her husband, then British ambassador to Turkey, in his obsession to save this art from ruin at the hands of the Turkish occupiers of Greece and send the marbles to Britain before Napoléon could claim them for France, and she brought her considerable charm and personal wealth to this end. Essex, author of two Cleopatra novels and Leonardo’s Swans (2006), brings a feminist eye to her work, as she deals with female sexuality and shows Aspasia without a voice to defend herself and Mary with no legal rights. This is vibrant, well-researched historical fiction from an author whose goal is ‘to reframe history from the female point of view.’” (amazon.com)