Category: Art (page 1 of 2)

Modern sculptures amid ancient ruins: An extra visual delight for Delos visitors this summer

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Photograph of an Antony Gormley iron sculpture displayed among the ruins on Delos island

Sculptures by Sir Antony Gormley, including this 2015 work entitled Connect,  have been installed on Delos island as part of a landmark  art exhibition on display this summer only 

 

Modern art on ancient site: After exploring the historic ruins on Delos three separate times between 2004 and 2010, I haven’t felt an urge to make a return trip to the island in recent years.  After all, the monuments and the island itself wouldn’t look noticeably different from my previous visits, so there wouldn’t be anything particularly “new” for me to discover. And besides, there are dozens of other major archaeological sites in Greece that I haven’t seen at all — so going to some of those has been a higher priority than  a fourth trip to Delos.

But this summer  I have really been regretting that I can’t get to Delos to see something that is in fact completely new and different, and available for viewing only during this year’s tourist season.

It’s a groundbreaking modern art installation called SIGHT, which features 29 iron “bodyform” sculptures that acclaimed British artist Antony Gormley has positioned among the historic Delos monuments and antiquities — on the island’s coast and harbourfront, atop Plakes Peak and Mount Kynthos, and in one of the galleries in the Delos archaeological museum.

 

Sir Antony Gormley and one of the sculptures in his SIGHT installation on Delos as seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

Antony Gormley poses with his 2017 work, Reflect, on Delos island. The photo was shared on the Facebook page for NEON, the non-profit cultural organization that commissioned and organized the SIGHT exhibition.

 

The SIGHT exhibit is noteworthy for two key reasons: It’s the first time an artist has taken over the archaeological site since Delos was last inhabited 5,000 years  ago, and it’s the first time the Greek Archaeological Council has approved a contemporary art installation on the island.

It’s an historic art event I would certainly appreciate: I enjoy sculpture (from any era) and I would love to see some of Gormley’s work up close. Viewing his pieces on Delos — five of which were created specifically for this event — would give me fresh new perspectives of the island and its significant historical and mythical past. I have been intrigued and moved by photos of the sculptures I have seen on websites and social media, so I know that seeing the pieces in person would be a fascinating experience.

Unfortunately,  a trip to Greece isn’t possible for me before the exhibit ends. But if you are a fine arts and sculpture enthusiast yourself, and you will be visiting Mykonos (or Naxos or Paros, from which daytrips to Delos are also available) before October 31, don’t miss the unique opportunity to experience the island while the Gormley “bodyforms” are on display. 

 

SIGHT is a project that the Greek non-profit cultural organization NEON organized in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades. The exhibition continues until October 31 2019.

Extensive details and information about Delos and the sculpture exhibit are available on the SIGHT page of the NEON website

Below is an 8-minute video in which Antony Gormley discusses Delos and the inspiration for his work, followed by photos of several of the sculptures displayed on the island.

 

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture on the coast of Delos island Greece

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture atop Mount Kynthos on Delos island Greece

 

Photograph of the Antony Gormley sculpture Cast III on Delos island

 

A sculpture from the Sir Antony Gormley SIGHT exhibition on Delos island seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture positioned in the ruins on Delos island Greece

 

An Antony Gormley sculpture on the coast of Delos island seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

 

Photograph of the Antony Gormley sculpture Shift II from 2000 in the Delos Archaeological Museum

 

One of the Antony Gormley iron sculptures on Delos island in 2019

 

Promotional image for the Antony Gormley contemporary sculpture exhibition Sight on Delos island in 2019

 

Travelling to Thessaloniki? Read this magazine before you go — or while you’re there

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Greece Is special Thessaloniki magazine issue

The cover of Thessaloniki, a free magazine published by the Greece Is online guide to culture, gastronomy and Greece destination experiences

 

Essential reading: A free magazine I picked up at the Athens International Airport in June, while waiting to fly home after my latest Greek holiday, has me wishing I could take a trip to Thessaloniki soon.

Entitled Thessaloniki, the 176-page glossy magazine is packed with dozens of beautiful photos and interesting articles describing the city’s fascinating history, its important cultural institutions, monuments and landmarks, its exciting arts, entertainment and food scenes, and much more.

 

 

The second-largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is a dynamic port center and capital of the Central Macedonia region of Greece.

It’s “a cauldron of gods and heroes, civilizations and religions; a place where the old and new cohabitate fruitfully. You can sense it everywhere; during a stroll, at the markets and museums, in the architecture, food and music. It’s in the air!” says a welcome page message penned by Giros Tsiros. He’s the editor-in-chief of Greece Is, the wonderful culture and gastronomy website which has published several destination-specific magazine guides, like the one for Thessaloniki, during the past two years.

 

Thessaloniki waterfront

The historic WhiteTower and the long Thessaloniki waterfront strip are seen in a photo from the online edition of Thessaloniki magazine

 

I’m gradually working my way through the issue, learning about the city’s annual arts events and festivals, its popular port and waterfront areas, its thriving design community, its exciting  gastronomy scene, and nearby attractions like the scenic Halkidiki peninsula and the historic Mount Athos monastery. There are still many more articles for me to peruse, but already I’m amazed at the astounding variety of things to see and do in and near the city — almost overwhelmed, in fact, since there is just so much that has captured my interest. It makes me wonder why I haven’t heard more people talk about Thessaloniki, as well as ask myself why I haven’t made it a priority to go there.

But even though Thessaloniki is blessed with so many places to explore, one of the magazine’s contributors says that simply being in the city is an enchanting and enjoyable experience in itself — visitors don’t have to rush to all the tourist attractions or scour back streets for “secret” shops and restaurants and other hidden gems to discover what the place is all about.

“A great way to get to know Thessaloniki is to do nothing to ‘explore’ her, but instead just ‘be’ there. Just relax,” advises writer Rika Z. Vayianni, an Athenian who has been visiting Thessaloniki for decades. If you pause to linger and listen you will hear the city speak volumes, Rika notes in “The art of doing nothing,” the magazine’s introductory article. “Some of the things she will say, or show to you, will remain in your memory for a long, long time. Some of them will perplex you, take you out of your comfort zone. But the city does speak.”

With luck I will one day have the opportunity to listen as Thessaloniki speaks to me. In the meantime, I will be learning more about the city as I read the rest of the magazine articles over the summer.

 

Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki

The Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli (Upper Town) district, seen in a photo from the Greece Is website

 

If you will be travelling to Thessaloniki this year, or if you are considering the city for a future trip, be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine so you can get valuable background information, ideas and recommendations for your visit.

Thessaloniki is available at several locations in the city itself, as well as in central Athens and at the Athens airport. 

In Thessaloniki, you can obtain a copy at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 99 Tsimiski Street;

♦ the Archaeological Museum at 6 Manoli Andronikou Street; and

♦ the State Museum of Contemporary Art, 21 Kolokotroni St. 

In Athens, the magazine can be found at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 47-49 Panepistimiou Street, and

♦ the Acropolis Museum at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street

Pickup locations at Athens International Airport include:

♦ Press Point

♦ Kir-Yianni Wine Bar

♦ Gate A, and

♦ the Athens Municipality information desk on the Arrivals level

If you can’t get to one of those locations, or if you’d rather read the magazine online, click here to access the collection of Thessaloniki articles on the Greece Is website.

Greece Is magazine distribution stands

Look for distribution racks like the one shown above so you can pick up a copy of Thessaloniki or other special edition magazines published by Greece Is

How a cultural renaissance is reshaping Athens

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Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

Throngs of shoppers and tourists on Ermou Street pass by the 1,000-year-old Byzantine Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

 

Gritty, not pretty: After six years of agonizing economic hardship, the City of Athens and its residents appear to be “rebounding” and turning their attention “to the task of building a better future,” according to the Canadian national newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

“More and more Athenians are involved in a kind of civic infill activity, re-imagining the town, improvising social services and engaging in what Greek photographer Eirini Vourloumis calls ‘a forced renegotiation of Greek identity,’” columnist Robert Everett-Green observes in a feature article published recently in the Globe.

“Now, ambitious plans are afoot to remodel the downtown in more sustainable ways, and to add cultural capital to civic life. Innovative restorations, led by artists and arts organizations, are reclaiming rundown industrial districts. There is a feeling here that creativity is the last and best resource when other resources fail,” he notes.

 

Athens graffiti

Athens is “gritty,” not pretty, with “rampant” graffiti and street art, but arts and culture are leading the city to a “rebirth” as it recovers from the harsh economic crisis of the past six years, The Globe and Mail newspaper observes.

 

Everett-Green visited Athens last November, and the Globe published his feature story The Energy of Defeat on the front page of its weekend travel section this past Saturday (March 28 2015).

The article also was published on the newspaper’s website, where it was retitled Athens isn’t pretty, but it’s exciting: discover the city’s cultural rebirth.

Everett-Green examines how artists are playing a leading role in the revitalization of a city he describes as “gritty, restless and spontaneous.” He looks at major cultural projects and initiatives, including:

♦ the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center that will house the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece;

♦ the Onassis Foundation’s Rethink Athens project, which will transform the city center along Panepistimiou Street with ambitious public realm improvements and beautification;

♦ the Technopolis cultural event hub in the former premises of a coal and gas plant;

♦  the revitalization of the once-industrial Metaxourgio district; and

♦ the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which has opened in a restored brewery building.

Click here to read the full story on the Globe and Mail website.

 

Click on the arrow to view this 13-minute virtual tour of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center being built in the Kallithea district of Athens, about 4 km from the city center.

 

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

This photo shows an aerial view of construction work on the massive Kallithea site where the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is being built. Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the center will include a new building for the Greek National Opera, a new National Library of Greece, and an extensive landscaped park. This photo is from the SNFCC project page on the Renzo Piano Building Workshop website,.

Naxos calendar packed with arts, culture, food, music, party & sports events for August

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Dimitria Festival 2014

A promotional poster for Dimitria 2014, the 3rd annual Agrotourism Exhibition in Sangri village. The festival includes a variety of cultural events, including: photography, painting, knitwear and traditional antique shows.

 

 Month full of fun: On any given summer day, there’s plenty to see and do on Naxos — as I’ve described in numerous posts, including my comprehensive January 6 2014 report on Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos.

But if you happen to be travelling to Naxos during August this year, you’re going to be spoiled for choice even more — the island’s calendar is packed with special celebrations and activities appealing to visitors of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Events include painting, sculpture and photography shows; food festivals; religious feasts and celebrations; live music concerts and performances; live theatre; entertainment for kids; movie screenings; sporting tournaments and nightclub parties.

I outlined a few of the island’s special events, including those held as part of the annual Naxos Festival, in my July 3 post, Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports.

 Website listings for all Naxos events in August

Further details about many more August celebrations and festivities can be found on the following Naxos information websites:

♦ The Domus Festival page on the Naxos Festival website contains a chart listing the performers that will be appearing at the Venetian Castle in Naxos Town;

♦  The Bazeos Tower website contains a listing of all exhibitions and live performances being held at the 17th-Century monument, which is situated 12 km from Naxos Town;

♦  The What’s On section of the naxos-web.com portal has a chart showing dates and venues for most of the events taking place on the island in August; and

♦ The Naxos and Small Cyclades website includes a detailed day-by-day list of events and activities not just on Naxos, but also on the nearby islands of Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa, and Iraklia; and

♦ the Naxos Festival Facebook page contains a wealth of photos and informational posts about the festival lineup.

Since most events take place during the evening or at night, Naxos visitors will have plenty of time to enjoy the island’s fabulous beaches and scenic towns and villages before taking in the entertainment.

On page 2, I have posted dozens of promotional posters providing information about many the August events. Click on the link below to continue reading.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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