Greece toughens its tone towards Britain

In order to recuperate sculptures from the Parthenon, currently exhibited at the British Museum, Greece is playing the diplomatic card. A case in the hands of lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, wife of the famous actor, and her team. The ancient sculptures in question are the Elgin Marbles. Greece had previously decided not to embark on legal proceedings against the British Museum, given its low chances of winning. Indeed, Great Britain acquired the sculptures in 1816 following a vote in Parliament in favour Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin at the time. To recuperate these major pieces of its cultural heritage, Greece is counting on pressure from public opinion to back up the legitimacy of its request. Meanwhile, within the Greek government, the minister of culture Aristides Baltas has declared: “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum.” Although the legal framework is not favourable, the minister does not despair: “As there are no hard and fast rules regarding the issue of returning treasures taken away from various countries, there is no indisputable legal...

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Tony Cragg on show at Benaki Museum, Athens

From 10 September until 8 November 2015, the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, is hosting the solo exhibition of sculptor Tony Cragg, supported by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Tony Cragg’s recent works, created from wood, stone, stainless steel and bronze, are abstracted human figures. The themes of compression and expansion are evident in his human profiles, which are futuristic and divided into quadrants. Human portraiture is translated into four differentiated surfaces conjoined by an imaginary spine. Wooden forms are spliced together with jagged and curved forms, while his bronze and stainless steel pieces have molten characteristics. Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England in 1949. A graduate from the Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Cragg has selected wood, bronze, stainless steel and stone as his primary mediums. Initially an installation artist, Cragg slowly moved onto individual pieces with experimental materials. The Benaki Museum was established in 1930 in downtown Athens, and houses prehistoric to modern day artworks, as well as an extensive Asian Art...

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Minimalism at the George Economou Collection, Athens

The George Economou Collection, Athens is holding a collective exhibition entitled “Opening the Box: Unpacking Minimalism” which will open on 22 October 2015 and run until April 2016. The exhibition will be curated by Mark Godfrey and will feature works by Dan Flavin, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Roni Horn, Rashid Johnson, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, John McCracken, and Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin. The exhibition is showing ten works that will expose a more nuanced side to Minimalism by exploring different debates, places and times. It will provide a journey for the viewer through the museum, beginning with an impressive brushed aluminium channel (1978) and early relief (1961) by Donald Judd, a plank (1988) by John McCracken and a painting (1966) by Agnes Martin. It will also feature Dan Flavin’s monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P. K. who reminded me about death) (1966), a work made from red fluorescent lamps and explicitly evoking the violence of the Vietnam War. Other works on the second floor will also reflect the relationship between Minimalism and history, such as Nikolai Suetin’s Suprematist Composition (1921) and Isa Genzken’s Gelbes Ellipsoid (Yellow Ellipsoid) (1976). The top floor of the exhibition explores the ideological implications of Minimalism as a new artistic discourse addressing loss, desire and identity, with works such as Robert Gober’s The Silent Sink (1984) evoking notions of loss and disease and Roni Horn’s Untitled (Billie), Untitled (Holiday) (2012) conveying the tragic romance of Billie Holiday’s music. The exhibition shows that Minimalism is not merely a blank canvas, but a kaleidoscopic mood board, as it is not quite so universally cool and clean as it supposes to...

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Cindy Sherman to play Maria Callas in Francesco Vezzoli film

Francesco Vezzoli has directed a film about the Greek singer Maria Callas in which Cindy Sherman is to play the title role. The film will be released in September 2015 in Athens. The film will be shown during a performance of Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna, an opera about the prospects of an ageing soprano. In Francesco Vezzoli‘s film, photographer Cindy Sherman will play an ageing Maria Callas, tying in with the themes of Wainwright’s work. The Italian director said, “The film depicts fictional, pivotal chapters of the singer’s life and career, in her full glory and darker situations, showing her fading away.” For the project Cindy Sherman had to wear costumes worn by the famous singer, lent by the Tirelli costumes archive in Rome. Justifying his choice to cast Cindy Sherman, Vezzoli said, “Of all postwar artists, she has explored human identity in all its facets in the deepest ways.” Francesco Vezzoli‘s works will be the subject of an exhibition at the Almine Rech Gallery from 8 September until 3 October 2015. The installation piece Eternal Kiss, composed of two marble sculptures, bought at auction, will be on...

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Richard Phillips at Gagosian Athens

Until 1 August 2015, Gagosian Gallery in Athens, Greece, is hosting a series of new paintings by American artist Richard Phillips. Through his paintings, Phillips engages the theme of human obsessions regarding sexuality, politics, power, and death, which are constantly exploited in mainstream media. Subjecting popular images to a range of classical painterly techniques, he imbues them with new meaning. Expanding upon postmodern appropriation strategies through new and historical painting techniques, Phillips manipulates, recombines, amplifies, and undermines canonical images, challenging their dominant influence in contemporary culture. Departing from the more photorealistic tendencies of recent years, in his newest works Phillips uses celebrity portraits, retro textbook illustrations, logos, and Op Art motifs to produce compressed images. In the Warholian portrait Jim Morrison (2015), the rock star’s face is mirrored flatly and mechanically against a bright green background, while in Chinchillas and Guinea Pigs (2015), animals are similarly reduced to graphic silhouettes adorned with neon red, orange, and yellow stripes reminiscent of 1980s surf wear. Richard Phillips was born in Massachusetts in 1962, and currently lives and works in New York. His works can be found in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Tate Modern, London; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The...

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