Art Happenings from Across the Pond

While the effects of the pandemic in the cultural events sector have been felt across the world, it has been fascinating to see how various galleries, artists, and institutions have responded. We have explored a number of different digital creative solutions in New York with live interviews on Pace’s Instagram page, curator’s newsletters from The Met and the Whitney Museum, and even digital exhibition tours on the MoMA website and Artnet.

We wanted, however, to share some of the creative initiatives from the [art] front in Greece.

May 7 – 9, 2020: Free Virtual Art Retreat
A number of renown artists have collaborated with Minos Beach Art Hotel, G&A Mamidakis Foundation and travelgems.com to bring you a free virtual art retreat with the subject “Art is Healing.”

On Thursday, May 7th the retreat kicks off with art historian Sotirios Bahtsetzis (who was actually a professor of mine!), artists Georgia Kotretsos (with whom we are hosting the open call), Theodoros Zafeiropoulos, Alexandros Kaklamanos, and architect Yorgos Rimenidis will share what inspires them and how art can be healing.

Friday, May 8th will feature Deux Hommes, Filep Motwary, and the owners of Studio 3.8 discussing the effect of art on creativity.

On the final day of the retreat, May 9th, photographer Stephanie Diani will talk about her creative process behind the creation of her portraits.

May 18, 2020 and Ongoing: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens:
The Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens has participated in a number of initiatives since the beginning of the Covid effects. Aside from giving visitors to their website access to their collection digitally, they are also offering digital access to past lectures, digital courses here, and short films including artist talks.

What has touched me the most, nevertheless, is the number of activities and art historical content the museum has created and offered for our younger counterparts. Their online initiative “Playing at home” walks children through life in antiquity including food and play…of course.

They offer print outs of two eidola (Cycladic statuettes) and call you to dress them as you want to calling you to play dress-up with ancient dolls. You can also download crafting books like this one that walks you through how to DIY ancient Greek dress or this one that teaches you about diet and nutrition in ancient Greece.

A drawing competition titled “I am…How I see myself” will culminate with an exhibition of selected children’s drawings opening on May 18th. The selection committee comprises of some amazing, talented individuals from the Greek art field that is sure to only add to this wonderfully creative project.

Ongoing: Theocharakis Foundation, Athens:
The Theocharakis Foundation in Athens is offering music content from their archive free on their Instagram channel where they also offer children’s book readings, as well curator, and conservator talks.

Their virtual offerings will truly make you feel just a tiny bit closer to those art and cultural events we so miss attending.

But if I want to be entirely honest, their online shop is also well worth visiting. Aside from getting access to some beautifully designed jewelry, you will be helping out the foundation!

May 4 – 10, 2020: Benaki Museum, Athens:
The Benaki Museum in Athens is hosting their 7th Annual Book Bazaar and it is going to be a party for all of us book lovers who still preach about the value of the printed matter.

In addition, their website offers virtual 3D tours of various sites including my personal favorite: The Ghika Gallery. This is the building in Athens that artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika donated to the museum that aside from being linked to this truly incredible Greek modernist, it has an important architectural history of its own. The museum carries an impressive collection of the artist’s works that you can explore online here, along with their entire collection of works on their page.

Current and Ongoing: NEON, Athens:
The organization NEON, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports just launched a “microsite,” as they call it, titled Contemporary Heritage that explores the “interaction between our past and contemporary culture.” On this website you can find information on various cultural sites and their exhibitions including Delos and the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos. It is available in both English and Greek.

In addition to this, NEON offers it’s live talks online both current and past on their website as well as their YouTube channel. Their most recent live discussion was between the Founder, Demetris Daskalopoulos and the Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni. Other talks I am obsessing over is this short one between Dr. David Anfam and Lynda Benglis who recently had her work shown at the exhibition Lynda BenglisIn the Realm of the Senses at the Museum of Cycladic Art.

Finally, NEON offers a virtual 360 tour of Michael Landy’s exhibition Breaking News Athens, in Diplarios School, 3 Theatrou Square, Athens. The exhibition explores the artist’s view and experience of life in Athens. It is an interactive exhibition as the artist selects drawings sent to him by others, reproduces them, and hangs them in the exhibition space. He noted that the contributors may even pick their drawings and keep them after the exhibition is over.
Again, the digital may never fill the shoes of seeing a show and art in person, but granted the circumstances (and that many of our trips are up in the air), this provides some alleviation to the dread of not getting to see it at all. I am beyond excited that the webpage dedicated to the exhibition shows the works in their exhibition spaces and in dialogue with each other, thus, maintaining at least some of the curatorial message. It also allows you to click on the individual works and read “their labels.”

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