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Nonda the artist and the man January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Large Benaki retrospective on postwar artist of the Greek diaspora sheds light on his fiery character

nonda1.jpg  nonda2.jpg  Left, ‘Women with Umbrellas’ (130×195 cm) 1961, and right, ‘Woman in Yellow’ (100×145 cm) 1970.

When in the early 1950s, a young artist by the name of Epameinondas Papadopoulos, later known as Nonda (1922-2005), exhibited a series of large-scale nude paintings at the back then famous Athenian Art Gallery Parnassos, he was charged with offending “public decency.” The show closed the day after the opening night and reopened only after the young artist had placed fig leaves on the genitalia of the painted nude figures. The controversy made Papadopoulos a news story, sending crowds and even the Greek Royal couple to visit the show.

Although the incident probably reveals more about Greek society at the time than it does about Nonda’s art, when seen within the context of the artist’s bohemian life, it also becomes a reflection of his fiery, unconventional personality. Referred to as “the volcanic Greek” by French author Jean-Paul Crespelle in his book “Montmartre Vivant,” Nonda lived and worked with a passion that often led to provocation, to imaginative and grandiose projects, many of them defying the art establishment of postwar Paris.

Nonda left for Paris on a scholarship in 1947 and spent all his creative years there. Considered to be part of the Ecole de Paris, a term that denotes an early 20th century movement that was crucial for the development of modernism, but a rather distinctive case on the margins of the art establishment, Nonda, unlike other Greek artists who made their careers in Paris, is not that well-known to the Greek public.

“Nonda, Six Decades of Art – 1940-2000,” a retrospective exhibition held at the Pireos Street Annex Benaki Museum reveals the full scope of his work for the first time to the Greek public. A smaller exhibition was organized by the City of Athens in 2003. Curated by the artist’s daughter Joanna Papadopoulou, the project’s soul, and Natassa Karaggelou, it also faces historians of Greek art history with the challenge of appraising the work of this “newly discovered” Greek artist of the diaspora. The essay by Manos Stefanidis which appears in the exhibition’s supplementary catalogue is a first approach to the work of Nonda written with penetration and sensitivity.

Also in the catalogue, Stephanos Papadopoulos unravels the artist’s life in Paris and draws the image of a distinctive, strong personality. Nonda’s art cannot be fully appreciated if seen apart from his life and personality and this is where the essay becomes a useful guide.

The early nudes and portraits capture his admiration for female beauty, an erotic, almost animal-like beauty that Nonda found in the cabaret dancers and in Parisian nightlife. The drama and eroticism of “Women with Hats”, an early, large painting which shows a cluster of nude female figures, is one of the best early examples.

Nonda liked to work on large canvasses probably because it was with expansive surfaces that he could better express a feeling for passion and monumentality. “I am instinctive, expressions, interpretations, messages: I am opposed to all that,” he used to say.

In those early days, Nonda was a striving artist who lived in dire conditions to make ends meet. When, in the early 1950s, Nonda met Dimitris Galanis, the well-known Greek artist who was part of the Parisian artistic scene, and Francis Carco, a great French poet, things started to change. A solo exhibition in 1956 was the beginning of one of the most prolific periods in his work. The author and poet Georges Picard became another great supporter of his work, while the great choreographer Serge Lifar who at the time was head of the Paris Opera Ballet asked Nonda to paint him seated on a horse and dressed in a Byzantine Emperor’s costume.

In the late 50s, Nonda began to turn away from the gallery scene. His canvasses were too large to have commercial appeal, yet Nonda refused to change his style. He became the own manager of his work and organized one of the most unusual projects in his career: He asked Andre Malraux, then France’s Minister of Culture, permission to organize a 24-hour-long, one-man show on the banks of the river Seine, under the Pont Neuf Bridge, the oldest standing bridge in the city. This was his way of making art more accessible to the public but also of creating an exhibition that was also both an event and a performance piece.

The huge, mural-like paintings with the grainy surfaces and fresco quality date from that period. They are monumental works made to be shown in large spaces. “Homage to Francois Villon” from 1960 is one of the most impressive. The bare-chested female figures that are featured in the banquet scene are a recurring motif in his work.

For his fourth Pont Neuf exhibition, the solo shows were spread throughout the early 1960s, Nonda constructed the “Trojan Horse”, a construction made of steel tubing, wood and newspaper. Nonda lived in that horse for the duration of the exhibition. He met with visitors and discussed his work, which had in the meantime attracted the attention of the press and the Parisian public.

“The Trojan Horse” marked the beginning of Nonda’s work in monumental sculpture. After a brief visit to New York and several years into his marriage, he moved to Athens where he devoted himself to working on massive sculptures.

“An artist must change, an artist who finds his formula of success is dead,” Nonda used to say when he was still a young artist. Throughout his life, he lived up to that belief, constantly presenting himself with new challenges. The Benaki exhibition is a tribute to his work and personality, his stamina and commitment. It introduces the Athenian public to a Greek artist of the postwar period but, in an indirect way, also reminds us of the importance of living one’s life with enthusiasm and appreciation for everything that it gives to us.

“Nonda, Six Decades of Art” at the Benaki Museum at 138 Pireos Street, Athens, tel 210 3453338, to February 18.


Cell phone radiation must drop January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness, Telecoms.
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The government must toughen laws monitoring the levels of electromagnetic radiation produced by mobile phones after studies found that long-term use of cell phones can fragment DNA, scientists said yesterday.

Constantinos Triantafylidis, a genetics professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, said that allowable SAR (Special Absorption Rate) levels in Greece should be 10 times lower than they currently are.

The SAR measures how a mobile phone can cause cell damage and also determines the quantity of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body.

“In Greece the allowable limit for SAR exposure is 2W/Kgr but it has been proven that even 1.3 W/Kgr can fragment DNA. As a result and based on recent findings, we are obliged to lower the limits,” said Triantafylidis.

Experts recommended that SAR levels be shown clearly on phone labels in a bid to provide users with more thorough information on the radiation’s effects.

Olive tree myth cut down January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Health & Fitness.
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Health authorities said yesterday that there is no evidence supporting claims that olive trees contain healing properties for cancer victims and stressed that taking a drink containing its leaves could even be dangerous to a patient’s health.

Television coverage of the purported healing properties of olive tree leaves have sparked a frenzy in Greece and caused one violent death.

Extensive media reports over the past week about the leaves’ alleged ability to cure illnesses have triggered an angry response from doctors and pharmacists. The Health Ministry stepped in yesterday in a bid to stop patients from being misguided on the issue.

“There have been no tests completed on the toxic levels of the product, olive tree extract, it is possible that its use gives rise to immediate dangers for the patient,” said the Health Ministry, citing the Central Health Council. “It is very dangerous to take advantage of the hopes of those suffering from neoplasms. This could be lead to patients using the particular product, abandoning the prescribed medication from doctors,” the ministry added.

Last week several chat shows, including on state television, said a thick, green drink made of raw olive leaves and water, mixed in a blender, was doing wonders for cancer patients.

Several elderly guests said they were cured by the drink and self-described therapists mixed the juice on live television. The news spread like wildfire and the television shows fielded a flood of inquiries about the drink’s recipe. According to local press reports, retailers in some parts of the country were selling packaged olive tree leaves for between 45 to 60 euros per kilo.

On Sunday, an argument erupted between two brothers in Messini, southern Greece, over whether they should give the leaf juice to their third brother, who suffers from cancer, ended with one stabbing the other to death.

A lecture on women in ancient Greece January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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Art historian and archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly will discuss women’s roles in ancient Greece in a lecture scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, February 8, in McCosh 50.

Connelly, whose talk is titled “Visual Space/Ritual Space and the Agency of the Greek Priestess,” is an associate professor of fine arts at New York University. Her upcoming book, “Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece” is a comprehensive cultural history of priestesses in the ancient Greek world. It challenges long-held beliefs to show that women played far more significant public roles than previously acknowledged.

Connelly is known for her groundbreaking analysis of a sculptural frieze adorning an exterior colonnade of the Parthenon. Connelly argued against the traditional conception that the frieze confirms Athens’ reputation as a misogynistic society, contending instead that it depicts women being venerated as social leaders and martyrs. Connelly was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work in Greek art, religion and myth, in particular her reinterpretation of the Parthenon sculptures.

Connelly has led excavations throughout Greece and Cyprus. Since 1990, she has directed NYU’s excavation of Yeronisos, a small island off the western coast of Cyprus, a project noted for its integration of ecological and archaeological fieldwork.

Connelly earned an A.B. in classics from Princeton in 1976. Her talk, designated as a Spencer Trask Lecture, is part of the University Public Lecture series.

Related Links > http://lectures.princeton.edu

Soul icon Isaac Hayes set to play March show in Athens January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Illness had forced singer to withdraw from earlier gig in the capital

The soul legend who predated the rap era is set to perform at the Tae Kwon Do arena in Athens on March 3.

The 64-year-old performer, known for his sensual music and his persona as a ladies’ man, recently had a successful run voicing a character on the popular animated series ‘South Park.’ Not long ago, the soul music legend Isaac Hayes withdrew from a scheduled visit to Greece for shows, citing health problems. But late last week, the 64-year-old artist announced that he will finally make it to the capital for a performance on Saturday, March 3, at the Tae Kwon Do arena in Faliron in southern Athens. Tickets are now available.

The seasoned soul musician, who ranks as one of the most influential artists of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as one of the major forefathers of hip-hop, made news last March by quitting his gig as the voice of Jerome “Chef” McElroy, the ladies’ man and school cook on the popular animated American show “South Park.”

A new convert to the controversial Scientology religion, he said “South Park,” which satirizes topics as sensitive as Jesus Christ and Judaism, had crossed a line in making fun of Scientology. “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” said Hayes after leaving the show. “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”

Hayes is also a looming personality in American popular culture. Well-known for his sensual music, which portrays him as one of contemporary music’s great lovers, he recently fathered his fourth child and unreservedly calls himself a Sugar Daddy. The soul master had built a considerable track record in music years before releasing his debut album back in 1967.

The loose, jazz-flavored “Presenting Isaac Hayes” was preceded by session work as a musician, which such greats as Otis Redding and regular gigs with the house band at Stax Records, the landmark soul-oriented label Hayes was associated with for years.

The work at Stax, as a musician before the debut album, led to a prolific and hugely successful songwriting partnership with David Porter. Working as the Soul Children, the duo penned some 200 songs together to provide big hits for Stax luminaries such as Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas and Johnnie Taylor. Then came the beginning of a solo career that predated the disco and rap eras. Hayes was hugely successful in the late 1960s and most of the 1970s.

By the late 1970s, the star’s appeal had slightly faded, leading to a temporary retirement from music after Hayes’s 1981 album “Lifetime Thing.” The hiatus lasted five years. His return to music was brief and the revered legend focused on acting.

These days, his legacy is multi-dimensional, a mix of his signature music and his powerful cult of personality. The success of his association with the “South Park” series, originally intended as a one-off stint, cemented Hayes’s status as a cultural icon.

Ancient sculptures don bright colors January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Educational exhibition at National Archaeological Museum

godsincolors1.jpg  godsincolors2.jpg  At the National Archaeological Museum, ‘Gods in Color’ features 21 replicas on loan from the Munich Glyptothek, on show until March.

Talk about striking colors: red, green, blue and yellow, all blinding visitors in the National Archaeological Museum’s temporary exhibition hall where Munich’s «Gods in Color» show is now on display. How can it be? Take the peplos kore (veiled maiden), for instance, who, unlike her bareness in the Acropolis Museum, is now dressed in bright colors.

Inaugurated last night, the new exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum will no doubt become the talk-of-the-town. Not solely due to its educational character, but also because of its color. Is this what ancient sculptures really looked like?

Museum Director Nikos Kaltsas did not wish to present an exhibition based exclusively on replicas. That is why he asked the Glyptothek of Munich for 21 colored replicas, while the rest, which make up the bulk of the exhibition, stem from its own permanent collections. This is an educational show demonstrating that ancient sculptures were not limited to the white marble we see today.

The exhibition was presented for the first time at the Munich Glyptothek in 2004, before traveling to a number of countries for about two years. The idea was born 17 years ago and was based on research conducted by the University of Munich on the subject of the coloring on ancient sculpture. The results are far from the images of sculptures that emerge from excavations, or even later on, when their whiteness was highlighted in museum cases. Even those works which maintain fragments of color on the surface do not look anything like these pieces.

«New research methods were developed in order to trace color remnants on ancient sculptures. This was followed by careful analysis, in order to reproduce the initial colors with as much accuracy as possible. When all this was achieved, color was added to replicas of well-known Greek and Roman sculptures,» said Kaltsas.

It is a well-known fact that both ancient Greek sculptures and temples featured color, yet color remnants on some works today cannot do justice to their original appearance. «Gods in Colors» summarizes the findings of long-term analysis and research at the Munich Glyptothek’s ateliers, not to mention a different kind of aesthetic.

«This exhibition confirms, once more, that what we know of the past is never really a given. Archaeological research is constantly developing through the adoption of new methods, whose aim is to get closer, if not reach, the truth.»

National Archaeological Museum, 44 Patission Street, Athens, tel 210 8217724. The exhibition runs to March 24.

New launch of in-store & online download service January 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets, Music Life.
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Public Stores and mpGreek launched a first-of-its’s-kind store Public Music. Public Music is a new in-store and Online music download service.
Public Store Customers as well as Public internet users can visit the Store, sit in the designated hi tech PC stations, select the music they wish and download them directly to their USB drive. Alternatively users can also visit music.public.gr and download their music directly on their personal computer. The platform and digital library is based on mpGreek’s multiservice digital entertainment platform with serving more than 1 million Greek and international songs. Users can easily select the music category, preview the songs, listen to Users and Customers can purchase a Public music card in the store or even pay by credit card.

Public Stores intends to begin deploying the in-store music download service to select Public stores around Greece, offering customers the ability to download and transfer to USB full-length albums and personalized compilations from a comprehensive digital library.
• The cost per Greek track is €1.10
• The cost per Greek album (10+ songs) is €11.90
• The cost per International track is €0.99
• The cost per International Album (10+ songs) is €11.90

Payment Options via:
• Pre paid music Card only at Public Stores (Only €11 for 10 music points)
• Credit Cards like Mastercard, VISA & American Express
• SMS from any mobile phone in Greece by sending “MPGREEK” to 4536 (SMS cost is €2 Ευρώ + VAT)

Related Links >