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Coffee break? Not so fast May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums.
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The National Archaeological Museum seldom sees such glory as it enjoyed with its recent exhibition “Colorful Gods,” which was strongly praised by young and old alike.

The theme turned out to be particularly appealing, especially to younger members of the public. So it was not a great surprise that the exhibition succeeded in attracting a young audience to Patission Street. The problem, however, lies elsewhere. When visitors wanted to take a small break, enjoy a refreshment and then continue their tour of the Museum, they found the Museum’s coffee shop closed.

“There’s a cafe across the street,” was the polite response given by Museum guards, advising visitors to try one of the coffee shops in the nearby park. But, once out of the building, the chances are pretty slim that visitors will want to return to the Museum later on. Unfortunately for visitors, this has been the situation since fall.

It is not the fault of the Museum’s management though, for the country’s Museum gift shops and cafes come under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Culture Organization. To make matters worse, the gift shop was also recently closed for renovation and expansion, and it is anyone’s guess whether it will be open in time for the summer season.

The gift shop certainly needed to be expanded since being hastily prepared for the 2004 Olympic Games, for even then it was considered by many to be quite inadequate. Current plans for its expansion are ambitious, and will hopefully materialize, but the truth is that the National Archaeological Museum gift shop has always appeared to be under some curse.

For the past 10 years, the shop has failed to meet demand for reproductions. Greeks would put their names on a long waiting list, while tourists would simply grab whatever was available. Stocks of most of the items advertised were soon depleted, especially copies of the more striking pieces, as the Archaeological Fund was unable to respond to production needs. As far as cheaper mementos are concerned such as cups, pencils etc, particularly popular among tourists, they have unfortunately always been snubbed by Greek Museum shops. Now, potential shoppers at the Museum are being sent to 57 Panepistimiou Street.

These are just some examples of the kind of things that tarnish the reputation of state Museums. Another is opening times. No matter how many ministers have tried, they have been unable to extend opening hours.

Related Links > http://www.culture.gr/war/index_en.jsp


More Greek art at Sotheby’s May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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On May 10, Sotheby’s, the other auction giant, will hold the first of two annual auctions of Greek art at its Bond Street premises.

Sotheby’s Greek Sale comprises 135 paintings and sculptures, among which are five paintings by Constantinos Maleas, including “Naxos,” “Moab Mountain Range, Lebanon” and “Portrait of an Egyptian.” There are also two paintings by Crete’s Constantinos Volanakis, whose marvelous seascapes showed that he was far ahead of his time in Greece.

Considered by many to be the father of Greek 19th century painting, Nikolaos Gyzis is represented in the Sotheby’s auction by “The Orphans,” an oil on panel (49×35.5cm), painted while the artist was at the apex of his career. “While firmly rooted in German romanticism, ‘The Orphans’ superbly illustrates Gyzis’s transcendence beyond his masters’ teachings and the assimilation of other continental trends,” says the Sotheby’s catalog. Yiannis Moralis’s abstract “Figure I”, a fine example of his trademark style finely balanced between geometric forms and curved shapes, is another one of the highlights of the sale, while Yiannis Bouzianis’s “Father and Sons” was painted at the height of the celebrated artist’s Munich period. The painting, according to the catalog, “epitomizes Bouzianis’s preoccupation with color over form, and the expression of feeling over subject.”

Bonhams withdraws ‘Road to Itea’ May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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‘The Road to Itea’ by Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas was withdrawn by Bonhams from its coming Greek Sale on May 15 after it was revealed that it was among works stolen in 1988.

Celebrated Greek painter Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas’s “The Road to Itea” has been withdrawn from an upcoming sale by international auction house Bonhams after Athens’s Benaki Museum sent an extrajudicial notice informing Bonhams that this particular work “is one of the stolen and unrecovered works of the painter’s collection that was taken in 1988.”

“The Road to Itea” was to be put on the block on May 15 at Bonhams’s 10th Greek Sale in London at an estimated price of 40,000-60,000 pounds, but Bonhams had not been informed until Wednesday of the fact that it was on an official list of stolen articles, as the list had never previously been made available to the auction house. According to the Bonhams representatives in Greece, Art Expertise, the Benaki Museum, part of which is the N. Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas Gallery, had been informed of the upcoming sale of the painting in late January and at the time there had been no question raised concerning its rightful ownership.

Interested buyers will not be completely disappointed, however, as Hadzikyriakos-Ghikas’s “Drapery and Plants” remains in the May 15 sale and is expected to go for an estimated price of 30,000-50,000 pounds.

The other works participating in the sale come from private collections in Greece and abroad. In total, Bonhams will be putting up for sale 200 selected works either by Greek artists or by other artists inspired by a Greek theme, ranging from all periods of modern Greek art, 19th-20th century, as well as contemporary works. Among the works are Nikos Engonopoulos’s “Hero”, which until now has only been seen in public as a sketch, and “The Poet in Verona;” Theofitos Hadzimichail’s “Katsantonis in the Ravine near Pende Pigadia,” which is the largest work (180x273cm) by the artist to ever go on sale; and Spyros Vassiliou’s “Harbor,” which has come from a collection of works previously owned by the late actress Aliki Vouyiouklaki.

All the great Greek artists are represented in the sale, while there is also a very interesting collection of Greek-inspired works. Among these is the wonderful “Album of Greek Heroism or The Deliverance of Greece” by Peter Heinrich Lambert von Hess (German, 1792-1871). The album, dated circa 1835, contains 40 tinted lithographed plates by J.B. Kuhn after von Hess of events of Greek heroism during the Greek War of Independence (1820-1829). “View of Constantinople,” another work inspired by a Greek theme, is a pastel on paper, indistinctly signed, but belonging to the Russian School.

At the Kifissia Flower Show May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Nature.
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Facing climate change at home > Drought-tolerant plants and conservation the theme of this year’s Kifissia Flower Show

Crowds enjoying the spring sunshine at the 53rd Kifissia Flower Show. Whether buying new plants or just browsing, the focus this year is on learning how to choose the right plants. A garden in the style of Provence greets visitors at the entrance to this year’s Kifissia Flower Show, where the theme is climate change. Exhibits on water-saving gardens and an emphasis on native Mediterranean plants show gardeners how to choose plants suitable for dry climates.

Apart from producers’ stands where around 2,000 different species are on sale, there are exhibits on the theme of drought-tolerant plants and displays by a number of organizations dedicated to protecting the natural environment. The Friends of the Forest, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, WWF Greece, Greenpeace, the Amadryada Association of Friends of the Oak, from Aitoloacarnania, the Botanic Gardens of Greece, the Hellenic Cactus and Succulents Society and the Mediterranean Garden Society are there to present and talk about their work.

The focus is a welcome one for all those looking for cultivated Mediterranean plants, which many nurseries do not stock. For example, Euphorbia harachias (spurge), which grows everywhere in the wild here, is not cultivated for sale in Greece, but is in other parts of Europe.

Themed exhibits include one devoted to indoor greenery, including the humble spider plant, which, according to a NASA study, is the single best plant for absorbing pollutants, plants for the office and a water structure display for the entrance to an apartment building. Bougainvillea and rhynchospermum grace the entrance to a display of a front garden for a detached house.

Terrace gardens are represented with two exhibits, one in the Botanic Gardens stand, the other designed by Aris Poulimenos using cacti and succulents. Exhibits focusing on a single species of plant include one by the Greek Palm Society, another on hydrangeas, cacti and succulents and two on bonsai, one of which is by the Greek Bonsai Collectors’ Club, exhibiting for the first time.

This year, visitors are being asked to vote for their favorite plant from among a group of five different species. The winner will be used as the trademark of the Greek Florists and Garden Design Association. The Kifissia Flower Show is also continuing its fruitful association with the University of Vienna, which has contributed 35 different geranium varieties to the park.

A program of special events includes a talk this evening at 6.30 p.m. on conserving the Mount Pendeli environment. At 11.30 tomorrow morning WWF and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature have presentations on climate change. On Sunday, a discourse on the work of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, born 300 years ago this year, is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by a concert of classical music. The Friends of the Forest will discuss ways to protect the Mt Parnitha forest next Wednesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. The flower show is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until May 13.

On the second day of the flower show, representatives of 10 Greek botanic gardens met to set up an informal network aimed at developing cooperation and exchanges of information and plants, as well as to organize representation abroad. The representatives decided to keep the structure of the network informal so as to avoid bureaucracy. They established minimum specifications for botanic gardens joining the network, one being that they must be open to the public, even if by appointment only. They need not have solely Mediterranean plants but a certain percentage of the plants must be identified and classified.

The 10 founding members of the network are the Balkan Botanic Garden at Kroussia, Kilkis, the Diomedes Botanic Garden outside Athens, the Kaisariani Botanic Garden of the Athens Filodasiki Association, the Neohori Botanic Garden, the botanic gardens of the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki, the Municipal Botanic Garden of Stavroupoli, Cephalonia Botanica, the Flora and Fauna Conservation Park of the University of Crete, the Botanic Garden of the University of Vienna, and the Kifissia Flower Show.

Greece and S. Korea agree on direct flights May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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Greece and South Korea have forged an agreement to allow direct flight services between the two nations, the government said Friday.

During a bilateral aviation meeting held in Greece on Thursday, the countries sealed the agreement to open the Incheon-Athens route, with seven flights a week. The distribution of the number of flights among private carriers is to be decided according to companies’ requests. The two sides also agreed to cooperate on linkage of flights and code sharing.

The establishment of the direct route will make it easier for travelers to reach the popular tourist destination from South Korea.