The New Acropolis Museum is set to open this weekend in Greece and the NY Times has a piece describing the building and the impetus behind its construction. The article has a few quotes from current and former Greek cultural officials, here are some selections purposely put side-by-side:
“We didn’t build this for the sake of the British,” Mr. Samaras [minister of culture] said in an interview, adding at once, “but look around: does this not negate the argument that Athens has no place good enough to house the Parthenon Marbles?”
[The museum] displays what remains in Greece of the original Parthenon sculptures and frieze, alongside plaster casts of the works in London. The contrast between the glaring whiteness of the copies and the ancient, honey-colored marbles makes for a powerful, and calculated, statement.
“We wanted it this way,” said Dimitris Pandermalis, the museum’s director. “Who will fail to notice that a torso is here and a head in England?”
There are certainly many reasons why Greece would want to build this museum, but trying to get the Elgin Marbles back is likely chief among them.