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About the event

Please join us in celebrating the newest scholarly resource and adornment to our building at 365 Fifth Avenue.

5:00 – 6:30 PM Reception in the Mina Rees Library and the Graduate Center, CUNY's Lobby area, including:

5:30 PM Remarks by Graduate Center Provost Joy Connolly and Professor Harriet Senie, followed by a short performance of a Katrina Palmer work in front of the frieze.

Provost and Professor of Classics Joy Connolly is delighted to invite you to join in welcoming the new artworks adorning the Graduate Center lobby and library: plaster casts of the marble images that originally ran in a strip around the upper walls of the Parthenon, the temple to the goddess Athena atop the Acropolis, which dominates the cityscape of Athens to this day. Commissioned at the height of the city-state’s power in the fifth century BCE, the frieze was taken to London by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s. His action was debated at the time, and today the removal of the so-called “Elgin marbles” remains deeply controversial, with some voices calling for their return to Greece, others defending their current location in the British Museum.

In the United States and around the world, the Parthenon frieze came to symbolize modern beliefs about ancient Greek culture, politics, and religion, becoming a model of what people came to call “classical.” The copies in plaster made by the British Museum and sold around the world provided generations of people with direct visual and tactile experience of Greek art – particularly important at institutions like City College, from which our casts come on long-term loan, most of whose students had limited access to classical culture. The casts are significant not only as material evocations of the Greek past, but also as tangible reminders of CUNY's longstanding commitment to making history vivid and accessible to all students.

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost at the Graduate Center, CUNY.