Conversation: Hitchens, Cuno Debate the Fate of the Parthenon Marbles

BY Arts Desk  July 31, 2009 at 3:18 PM EDT

It’s one of the great landmarks of history: the Parthenon in Athens, constructed in the 5th century B.C. It stands as a symbol of the cultural and political heights reached by the classical world. But it is today also at the center of a very modern debate: Who holds claim to a set of marble friezes (known as the “Elgin Marbles”) that once adorned the structure?

We have our own debate with James Cuno, the president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago and author of the recent book, “Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle over Ancient Heritage,” and Christopher Hitchens, columnist for Vanity Fair and author of the book, “The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Restitution.”