ATHENS’ Autumnal breeze invites you to take to the streets and discover some art in the most beautiful spaces of this ever changing city with an antique heart. And there are quite a few shows to choose from that are definitely worth the visit. Here are a few to trigger your creative cravings:
The DESTE Foundation, together with the Benaki Museum have collaborated in order to pay homage to George Lappas, the great Greek artist who passed away so suddenly and unexpectedly this year. The title of the show – ‘Happy Birthday’ – refers to the title of a series of his works included in the show. Lappas is mostly known for his red-coloured sculptural exploration of urban man. Here, however, an attempt has been made to focus on other sides of his oeuvre which are less known.
Lappas is considered to be one of Greece’s greatest sculptors of the 20th century. He had developed a very personal contemporary artistic language which explored the basics of human emotion around themes such as tragedy, catharsis, enigma and fate. His extensive studies (in clinical psychology, architecture and sculpture), plus his extensive travelling have all helped mould his characteristic style of art. The show has been curated by artist Aphrodite Liti (Lappas’ wife), collector Dakis Joannou, and curator/university lecturer Yiorgos Tzirtzilakis.
• Benaki Museum is on 1 Koumbari St (tel 210-367-1000). Open Wed & Fri 9-5. Thurs & Sat 9-midnight. Sun 9-3. Tickets at 9 euros ( or 7 euros concession price). The show runs till November 20.
‘Konstantinos Pittas: Images from a different Europe 1985-1989’ is a photographic exhibition with an interesting story to tell. From 1985-1989, Pittas travelled around Europe – both East and West – taking shots from both sides of the Berlin Wall. With his Minox camera in his hand he thus began a work which however, remained unfinished, because he wanted to show to the world the life of the Europeans on both sides of the Wall. With the end of the East-West divide, the bringing down of the Berlin Wall kind of cancelled out the relevance of his work, especially because the emphasis then was on how Europe would become one – an EU made up of citizens who all shared the same roots. Furthermore, photography’s relation with reality was also in dispute at the time. So, Pittas packed up his negatives and hid them away. Today, after 25 years, his European photographic project is being presented for the first time. Maybe it is all the more relevant today, in a united Europe which is however in crisis and in danger of divide once more. The show runs till November 20.
• Benaki Pireos: 138 Pireos St. Tel: 210-345-3111. Open Thurs & Sun 10-6. Fri & Sat 10-10. Mon, Tues, Wed closed. Tickets at 7 euros (3.5 euros concession price).
Also at Benaki Pireos
The Christos Petridis retrospective pays tribute to a great Cypriot artist who passed away unexpectedly three years ago at the age of 55. His imaginary landscapes and worlds are characterised by his unique style of pointillist painting and post-pop aesthetic. The show has been co-organised with the House of Cyprus. Tickets at 7 euros. (3.5 euros concessions). The exhibition runs till November 13.
What else?: ‘OUT – TOPIAS’ show, and ‘The Equilibrists’ (runs till October 9), the latter is a project organized by the New Museum, New York and the DESTE Foundation in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, Athens, on the occasion of DESTE’s 33rd anniversary. It therefore brings together the work of 33 young Greek and Cypriot artists working in Athens and abroad. Tickets at 8 euros (4 euros concession price). Note: 1 ticket for all the Benaki shows may also be purchased at a 20% discount .
Benaki’s Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Annexe
The works of Kostas Loustas (1933-2014) are on show here, until November 26. This artist studied under Moralis at the Athens School of Fine Art, lived in Florina, before heading off for New York in the Sixties. He was one of the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Florina, and a member of the Chamber of Arts of Greece. His work combines elements of representational art, cubism and expressionism into a unique whole.
• Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery: 3 Kriezotou St. Tel 210-361-5702. Open Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10-7. Tickets at 7 euros (5 euros concession price).
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC)
The SNFCC has a whole host of events for young and old planned for October – ranging from sailing on the canal to creative workshops for kids and concerts in the park. But at the heart of it all, there is a lovely show of art to be enjoyed, which marries the abstract paintings of Yannis Moralis, with the bronze sculptures of Christos Kapralos,. (Runs till December 18. Plus, all events are free! See the website: http://www.SNFCC.org/events)
Moralis (1916-2009) and Kapralos (1909-1993) met as students at the Athens School of Fine Arts. They continued their friendship in art and life later in Paris, where they followed all of the modernist movements, before returning to Greece where they continued their dialogue with classicism during the German Occupation. In the ‘50s they developed their own style of modernism – one that was also in dialogue with Greek antiquity.
• SNFCC: 364 Syngrou Ave. Also accessible from the coastal road (Poseidonos Ave), turn left towards Piraeus and then right at the signpost for SNFCC. The exhibition is open 9am-10pm. The SNFCC park is open till midnight.
Over 100 works by Spyros Papaloukas are on show until October 30, in an exhibition that explores his artistic journey and its various facets: from Byzantine iconography to landscape art. Papaloukas used to say that “Nature is God’s miracle and art is man’s miracle”. His love of nature plus his spiritual quest via iconography are both evident in his paintings. He served art from 1909 when he entered the Athens School of Fine Art as a student, until 1956 when he passed away, at the age of 65, as one of the school’s most inspiring teachers.
• Theocharakis Museum: 9 Vassilis Sophias Ave. Tel: 210-361-1206. Open Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 10-6. Thurs 10-8.
‘The Departed’, is the name of the current show at the Frissiras Museum in Plaka, which presents the work of 29 artists (both Greek and international names), from the Frissiras collection, who are no longer alive. This tribute to their work is an opportunity also for a younger generation to get to know their creative spirit. You will find here works by great artists such as Cremonini, Dado, Golub, Rustin, Kitaj, Kessanlis, Lappas, Fidakis and Paniaras.
• Frissiras Museum: 3 Monis Asteriou St, Plaka.Tel: 210-3316027-8. Open Wed, Thurs, Fri 10-5. Sat & Sun 11-5.
You will find works by the young and talented artist Vasilis Goumas on show here, under the title ‘Somniatus Ero’. The ethereal feel to his mixed media works (acrylics and coloured pencils), explore the subject matter of life and death in a manner that harks back to other times, with angelic faces enveloped in mysterious settings. Spiritual, evocative, and aesthetically luring to say the least.
• Gallery Evripides: corner of 10 Iraklitou St & Skoufa St in Kolonaki. Tel 210-361-5909. Open Tues-Fri 11-8.30 and Sat 11-3.
CAN Gallery (Christina Androulidaki Gallery)
A tribute show for artist Nikos Alexiou is being presented until October 15. Alexiou, born in Crete’s Rethymon in 1960, passed away in 2011 after a fight with cancer, at the age of 51. He represented Greece at the Venice Biennale in 2007 with his installation ‘The End’. His delicate and intricate use of ‘poor’ everyday materials was truly inspiring and one of a kind. Other artists who are participating in this show are: Lefteris Alexiou (the artist’s father), Maria Economopoulou, Lefteris Tapas, Dimitris Tataris and Stratis Tavlaridis.
• CAN Gallery: 42 Anagnostopoulou St, Open Tue-Fri: 11am-3pm / 5pm-8pm. Saturday: 11am-4pm. Tel: 210-339-0833.
You can still catch the Ai Weiwei show at the Cycladic Museum which runs till October 30. Here, you will find the artist’s incredible marble sculptures, also his wooden creations (including a series of coffins), his photographic works, a gigantic dazzling chandelier tree, plus an emphasis on the whole refugee crisis in Lesvos – the island which became his home away from home.
• The two buildings of the Cycladic Museum: Stathatos Mansion on the corner of Vassilis Sophias and Irodotou St, plus on 4 Neofytou Douka St. Tickets at 7 euros. Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10-5. Thurs 10-8. Sun 11-5. Tel 210-722-8321.
Onassis Cultural Centre
Brian Eno’s installation ‘The Ship’ is on show until October 23. The three-dimensional sound experience is inspired by the sinking of the Titanic. Brian Eno – one of the most important contemporary musical personas of our age – offers viewers a unique experience via this work, which is open to the public between noon and 9pm.
• Onassis Cultural Centre: 107 Syngrou Ave, Tel: 210 900-5800
George Economou Collection
‘New Beginnings: Between Gesture and Geometry’ is the upcoming new show at this unique art space, curated by Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern (wow!!!!). The exhibition will be inaugurated on October 13, where Morris will also give a talk (at 8pm). The work of 19 top-notch post war artists feature in the exhibition, among them names such as: Alberto Burri, Chung Chang-Sup, Chung Sang-Hwa, Lucio Fontana, Ha Chong-Hyun, Yves Klein, Kwon Young-Woo, Heinz Mack, Sadamasa Motonaga, Saburo Murakami. Morris explains the concept: “ Looking beyond the canonical Paris–New York axis, the show focuses on the geographically more dispersed but no less groundbreaking practices of artists in Europe and Asia whose radical innovations were the result of dialogue and exchange among a rich network of individuals and groups that transcended national borders”. Runs till April.
• George Economou Collection Space: 80 Kifissias Ave, Marousi, Athens. Open Mon- Fri 10-6. Tel: 210-809-0566.
National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)
‘Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp’ (opening October 31 and running till January 29, 2017). This exhibition aims to be a theoretical and visual dialogue, based on works from the collections of both Antwerp’s Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) and Athens’ National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST). The show will include more than 70 works and is structured in 22 thematic units. In April 2017, the exhibition will travel to Belgium on a smaller scale. In the near future, we will also see EMST’s permanent collection finally going on show in its new home. Plus, EMST’s collaboration with Documenta 14 will also bear some interesting fruit.
• EMST: Corner of Kallirois Ave and Amvr. Frantzi St. Tel 211-101-9000