THE XMAS holidays are the perfect time to walk the streets of Athens, and visit art events that will stimulate the mind and senses on these festive days. Consider these options:
(Work by Yannis Tsarouchis)
Tsarouchis, Bokoros, Zouni
Certainly one of the highlights of December, artistically speaking, is the upcoming grand show of works by Yannis Tsarouchis, to be inaugurated on December 15, at the Benaki Pireos. This show is the ‘sequel’ to another, which took place in 2013, and which focused on this artist’s life from his birth (1910), till 1940. Now, the second show picks up from there (with Tsarouchis as a soldier, in Albania), and ends with his death (in 1989). The show presents the artist’s life via his works but also with interesting archival material such as photos, notes, letters, texts. Tsarouchis was a prolific artist and writer, unafraid to express himself. He is certainly one of the great Greek modern masters, whose art has touched millions. Included in the show are also works that haven’t been displayed before. ‘Illustrating an autobiography. Part 2 (1940-1989)’, runs till Feb 26.
(Work by Opy Zouni)
Also: The retrospective exhibition of works by renowned post-war geometric abstract artist Opy Zouni (entitled ‘Ordo ad Chao’), runs Dec 22-Jan 26 (and will be inaugurated on Dec 19, 8pm). This Greek-Egyptian artist (1941-2008), had a strong classical education, which led her to explore geometric structure and abstract mathematical thinking in her work. For Zouni, art and science go hand in hand, but Renaissance perspective also plays a major role. One could say that she was Greece’s answer to Bridget Riley.
(Work by Christos Bokoros)
Plus: The exhibition of the spiritually probing works by acclaimed artist Christos Bokoros (‘Glimpses of the Obscure’), is also in the works, to be inaugurated on December 21, 8pm. (Runs Dec 22 – Feb 26). Bokoros (born 1956 in Agrinio), studied Law before he headed towards the Athens School of Fine Arts to study painting (under Mytaras). This award-winning artist, who has exhibited in many shows both here and abroad, is especially known for his paintings of evocative, luminescent candle flames, or loaves of monasterial bread, often painted on heavy planks of wood. Don’t miss the photo exhibition by Yianna Andreadi also on show at the Benaki Pireos, which focuses on Athenian windows (Dec 8-Jan 29).
- Benaki Pireos: 138 Pireos St. Tickets at 7 and 3.5 euros for each show, but with 20% discount on the total admission cost if you want to see all the shows. There is also a 20 euro ticket (‘The Benaki Museum Experience’), which allows you to see all the shows at all Benaki Museum buildings (for 3 months). Tel 210-345-3111. Open Thurs, Sun 10-6; Fri, Sat 10-10. Closed Mon, Tues, Wed. Also closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.
Zoumboulakis’ small paintings
Once again, Zoumboulakis Galleries treats us to its exhibition of ‘Small Paintings’ for the festive season, this time dedicated to sweets. However not only will the gallery’s collaborators be painting them, but sweet master Stelios Parliaros will also be making them.
Participating artists: Ιο Aggeli, Yannis Adamakis, Diamantis Aidinis, Vanessa Anastasopoulou, Yiorgos Avgeros, Miltos Golemas, George Gyparakis, Christos Kechagioglou, Haris Kondosphyris, Jenny Kodonidou, Antonis Kiriakoulis, Sofia Papakosta, Stelios Parliaros, Natassa Poulantza, Ioanna Ralli, Philippos Photiadis, Manolis Charos. Runs till Jan 7.
Also on show is a parallel exhibition by Daniel Egneus, presenting his new work for the plays ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Bear Paddington’s First Concert’, which will be presented at the Megaron Mousikis (Athens Concert Hall). Runs till Jan 7.
Furthermore: don’t miss the Christmas Event on December 15, at the Zoumboulakis Art, Design and Antiques gallery (6 Kriezotou St, 6pm-8pm), with sweets by Parliaros, plus wine from Samos (tel 210-363-4454).
- Zoumboulakis Galleries: 20 Kolonaki Sq. Open Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-3 and 5-8. Wed 11-3, Sat 11-2. Closed Sun, Mon. Tel: 210-363-1364
( ‘Small paintings’ on show at the Zoumboulakis Gallery)
Children’s art games
The Museum of Children’s Art in collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation are organising a festive event for Lilliputians with 4 different art games, on December 11. Please book in advance which hour you want your child to participate: 11am, noon, 1pm or 2pm.
- Museum of Children’s Art: 9 Kodrou St, Plaka. Tel 210-331-2621. Contact between 10-2 to book a place for this free event.
The Herakleidon Museum in Thission has organised a children’s event within the context of its ongoing show ‘Plefsis’ which presents Greek ship building and sailing from antiquity onwards. The event, entitled ‘the Xmas ship’, is open to the public on the Sundays of December 11 and 18, at noon.
- Herakleidon Museum, Thission. Tel 210-346-1981. Tickets at 6 euros (includes a tour of the ‘Plefsis’ show).
Cycladic life in focus
The Cycladic Museum is inaugurating its new show ‘Cycladic Society: 5000 Years Ago’ on December 8, in order to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The exhibition explores the flora and fauna, the structures of Cycladic society, the vocations, forms of entertainment, rituals and cults among other aspects. Organised in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the exhibition comprises 200 ancient artefacts. Runs till March.
- Museum of Cycladic Art: 4 Neofytou Douka St, tel 210-722-8321. Tickets at 7 euros. 3.5 euros concession price.
Uncanny, or ‘unheimliche’
The Enia Gallery is a new space in Pireaus, which promotes both international and Greek contemporary artists. Its new show ‘Back to Basics: Uncanny’ (opening on Dec 9), curated by Artemis Potamianou, is an example of its quirky and alternative perspective on the art scene. The uncanny, or ‘das unheimliche’ which Freud had written about in his book ‘Art and Literature’, forms the base of this show which brings together the work of nine artists: Lanfranco Aceti, Elisabeth Penker, Simon Macewan, Micha Cattaui, Angelos Antonopoulos, Kalos & Klio, Augoustos Veinoglou, Yiannis Savvides, Vasilis Zographos. Runs till March 4.
- Ennia Gallery: 55 Mesologgiou St, Pireaus. Tel 210-461-9700. Open Tues-Thurs 11-7, Fri 11-8, Sat 11-4. Free entrance.
(Work by Savvas Georgiades)
The Evripides Gallery is hosting the work of Savvas Georgiades for the festive season. The show, entitled ‘Women’, presents the artist’s evocative yet dynamic female portraits via which Georgiades probes the inner mechanisms and yearnings, fears and thoughts of his sitters. From temptresses to victims, these women have it all. Art History Professor and National Gallery Director Marina Lambraki-Plaka writes of Georgiades’ work in the catalogue: “It is obvious that Savvas doesn’t choose his models by chance. His works express respect, love, admiration towards the female sex and an unusual rendition of beauty in our day and age. Georgiades’ female faces take over the canvas, threatening to break through its borders, as if they are desperately trying to escape from the painted surface in order to overcome their loneliness.” Opening on Dec 8 (8-10.30pm), runs till Jan 7.
- Gallery Evripides: Corner of 10 Heraklitou & Skoufa sts, Kolonaki. Tel: 210-361-5909
Curator Katerina Gregos has gotten together with artist Zafos Xagoraris and they have created a unique intervention in Athens, to be found on the corner of Ipirou and 3rd Septemvriou Streets. The artist has been inspired by poet/writer Iakovos Kampanellis’ ‘Our Great Circus’, which was performed at the Athinaion Theatre in 1973. This art intervention is situated in the car park behind the theatre. The project is part of the NEON Organization’s City Projects. Runs till Dec 29. Open Thurs-Sun 6-9. Free entrance.
Talk by Claire Bishop
In 2015, humans managed to drop their attention span to a mere 8 seconds – one second less than that of a goldfish… Art Historian Claire Bishop comes to Athens to give a talk on how we understand art in today’s environment in which we lack attention, and which has blended the digital world with that of the physical world in such a complex manner. Bishop is an Art History teacher at the Graduate Centre of City University of New York. Her talk, entitled ‘OS XXI: Contemporary Art and the Society of Attention of the 21st Century’ will take place at the Sakis Karageorgas Amphitheatre of Panteion University (136 Syngrou Ave), on December 19, 7pm. Organised by the Onassis Cultural Centre (www.sgt.gr).
Jungwirth in town
The Kalfayan Galleries will be inaugurating a show by internationally acclaimed artist Martha Jungwirth on December 15, with works from her ‘Paros’ series realized in 2015. Jungwirth’s work reflects the important relationship between travel and painting. In recent years this artist has travelled ceaselessly – to the USA, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Oman, Mexico, Guatemala, Bali, and more. In 2015, ten years after her first visit, she returned to Paros and created this series of works. Jungwirth’s work rejects traditional naturalism, and instead explores a more experimental and expressive approach via which the artist captures her reactions and feelings to the landscape on canvas. The works on show have been inspired by her ‘Cyclades’ series which she had completed in 1995-6. Runs till Jan 21.
- Kalfayan Galleries: 11 Haritos St, tel 210-721-7679. Open Mon 11-3, Tues- Fri 11-7, Sat 11-3.
(Work by Martha Jungwirth)
The architecture of libraries
The Benaki Museum is hosting ‘The Architecture of Libraries in Western Civilization: From the Minoan Age to Michelangelo (1600BC-1600 AD)’. The exhibition presents the progress that libraries have made through the ages and is organized into 5 basic units: the Greek world, Roman period, Byzantine, Western and Medieval years, and the Renaissance. From the philosophical schools of Miletus, (or of Crotone where Pythagoras had studied), to the Greek architectural tradition as adopted by the Romans, to the Middle Ages and beyond, this is an exhibition of great educational worth, curated by architect/historian K.S. Staikos whose book on the subject was the initial inspiration for this event. Runs till Jan 8.
- Benaki Museum: 1 Koumbari St. Tel 210-367-1000. Open Wed, Fri 9-5; Thurs, Sat 9-midnight, Sun 9-3. Closed Mon, Tues. Tickets at 9 & 7 euros.
Maria Economopoulou spends her time between Rotterdam and Athens. Via a show of 155 photographs (entitled ‘Such a Tender Nothingness’), she now presents her experience of these two cities at the Dutch Institute. Runs till Dec 17.
- Dutch Institute: 11 Makri St, Plaka. Tel 210-921-0760. Open Mon-Fri 10-8; Sat 12-6. Free entrance.
The Skoufa Gallery will inaugurate its show entitled ‘Ornament’, on Sunday, December 11, at noon. The exhibition, curated by Elisabeth Plessa, presents the work of 14 artists who deal with the ornamental in their work. Participating artists: Nikos Angelides, Alexis Akrithakis, Nikos Alexiou, Kalliope Asargiotakis, Chryssa Voudouroglou, Maria Giannakaki Lida Kontogiannopoulou, Alekos Kyrarinis, Tassos Mantzavinos, Yiannis Michaelides, Elena Papadimitriou, Konstantinos Papamichalopoulos, Dimitris Sarasitis, Yiorgos Hadoulis.
- Skoufa Gallery: 4 Skoufa St, Kolonaki. Tel: 210-3643025. Open Mon-Fri 10-3.30, Tues, Thurs, Fri 5.30-9, Sat 10-3.30. Free entrance.
Lola Montes Schnabel
The Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre is hosting a show of the work of American artist Lola Montes Schnabel, entitled ‘Knock on Wood’. Schnabel’s work here focuses on the metaphysical aspects of objects, the aesthetics of art and the dissolution of sensory perception so that art can go beyond its visual dimension. The show comprises large-scale paintings, video works and watercolours. Curated by Dimitris Antonitsis.
- Ileana Tounta: 48 Armatolon & Klefton St, Ambelokipous. Tel: 210-643-9466. Open Tues-Fri 3-8, Sat 12-4. Free entrance.
(Work by Pantazopoulou at the NEON Organisaztion’s ‘Flying Over the Abyss’ show)
NEON Organisation’s ‘Flying Over the Abyss’ at the Athens Conservatoire (free entrance, runs till Jan 29); The Hermitage Museum’s collection at the Byzantine and Christian Museum (tickets at 4 euros, runs till Feb 26); The Telloglou Collection at the Theocharakis Foundation (runs till Feb 5); Kostas Papanikolaou’s work at the Felios Collection (free entrance, runs till Jan 29); ‘Hybrids’ at the Onassis Cultural Centre (runs till Jan 15); Georgiou’s India-inspired art at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art (runs till Dec 27); EMST’s ‘Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp’, and more… all in ‘November’s art treks’.