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Piraeus Archaeological Museum reopens March 18, 2008

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The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus has reopened to the public following extensive refurbishment work and installation of an air-conditioning system, the Culture Ministry said yesterday.

18-03-08_archaeological_museum_piraeus.jpg  The Museum is open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Monday.

Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, 31 Harilaou Trikoupi Street, Piraeus, tel 210 4521598.

It’s poetry day all week in Athens March 17, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums, Books Life Greek, Music Life Greek.
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The international celebration is marked with events, discussions, lectures, readings and more

Singer Maria Farandouri, joined by Zacharias Karounis and accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra, will sing at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday, while actors Eva Kotamanidou and Nikos Bousdoukos will read excerpts at an evening of Greek political poetry set to music. International Poetry Day falls this Friday, March 21, but the celebrations start today.

Stoa tou Vivliou [Books Arcade] and PoeticaNet have put together a lively mix of discussion, poetry set to music and a video, curated by poet Iosif Ventouras. First up are Professors Dimitris Dimiroulos and Elisavet Arseniou, exploring the subject of poetry in the information age. Then the hip-hop group Enemy will present songs from their latest album and collide with living poems. Participants include poet and media artist Dimosthenis Agrafiotis and American poet Heather Raikes, who will talk about her work in a video made for the event. That’s at 8 p.m. today, at the Stoa tou Vivliou, 5 Pesmazoglou Street, Athens, tel 210 3253989.

The European Translation Center (EKEMEL), Ikaros Publishers and Patakis bookstore are saluting International Poetry Day with a presentation of Alexandros Issaris’s book “Kato apo tosa vlefara: Simeioseis gia ton Rilke” (Under So Many Eyelids: Notes on Rilke), published last year by Ikaros. The speakers are literary critic Vangelis Hatzivassileiou, writer Yiannis Efstathiadis and the author, who is also a poet and translator. Actress Mayia Lyberopoulou will read extracts from the book. Tomorrow, Patakis bookstore, 65 Academias Street, Athens, tel 210 3811850, at 7 p.m.

Poems will liven up time spent at bus and tram stops and metro stations and on board public transport as of Wednesday and until April 22. It’s the latest edition of a successful promotion by the National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI). Poet and academic Nasos Vagenas chose the poems and six young students and graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts produced the colorful posters.

Verses by Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis feature on a phone card to be issued on International Poetry Day. In a follow-up to another campaign by EKEBI and telecoms provider OTE, there will be a new phone card with different verses every month till December. This year’s selections will be from political poems.

Greek political poetry set to music is the theme of an evening at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday. Maria Farandouri and Zacharias Karounis, accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra, will sing, and actors Eva Kotamanidou and Nikos Bousdoukos will read. Giorgos Papadakis has selected and orchestrated excerpts from Euripides, as well as pieces by Yiannis Ritsos, Odysseas Elytis, Nikos Gatsos and Iakovos Kambanellis and others, with music by composers such Eleni Karaindrou, Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis and Thanos Mikroutsikos. Vassilis Nikolaidis will conduct.

Poet Nikiforos Vrettakos is the subject of a tribute starting 5.30 p.m. at the Benaki Museum on International Poetry Day. Academics Eratosthennis Kapsomenou, Vincenzo Rotolo, Vangelis Athanassopoulos, poet Titos Patrikios and Vrettakos Archive director Eleni Tzinieri-Tzanetakou will speak, followed by the first public screening of Athanasia Drakopoulou’s film “Periousaka Stihiea” at 8.30 p.m. at the Benaki Museum Pireos Annex, 138 Pireos Street and Andronikou Street, Athens, tel 210 3453111.

An exhibition of first editions, and documents for the Nikiforos Vrettakos Archive opens Friday and runs to April 20 at the main branch of the Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3671000.

MoMA Director visiting Greece for series of lectures March 16, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums.
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Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Glenn Lowry, will visit Greece for the first time and address public audiences in Athens and Thessaloniki as part of the “Great Ideas” series.

Featured in the Megaron Plus series, he will speak at the Athens Concert Hall on Monday, March 17, at 19:00, on “Making the Modern: A Disruptive Theory of the Museum of Modern Art.” His lecture will focus on how the Museum has dealt with the collection and display of artworks, the way in which it periodically reinvents itself, and the changing nature of contemporary art.

On Wednesday, March 19, at 18:30, he will speak in Thessaloniki on the same topic. This event is co-organized with the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will take place at the Chamber’s Conference Hall.

During his visit to Greece, Lowry will also address student audiences at the University of Athens School of Fine Arts and the Thessaloniki Aristotle University School of Fine Arts.

Lowry was appointed Director of MoMA in 1995. One of his initiatives was the construction of MoMA’s new building, which was completed in 2004, and was a turning point in the history of the Museum and a major cultural event for the city of New York.

The goal of the “Great Ideas” series is to bring noted American experts and artists to Greece to perform and discuss current topics of interest to the Greek and American people.

Glenn Lowry, MoMA, Making the Modern: A Disruptive Theory of the Museum of Modern Art >
Athens Concert Hall,
 1 Kokkali Street and Queen Sophia Avenue, Athens.
Conference Hall, Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 29 Tsimiski Street, Thessaloniki.

Related Links > www.moma.org

Be a tourist in your own city March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums, Greece Athens.
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The City of Athens organizes tours of museums and archaeological sites as well as culture walks. On a sunny Sunday, the tour guide is surrounded by men and women of all ages wanting to find out more about their own city’s past.

The City of Athens sends out an army of tourist guides to help its citizens become more informed and enjoy themselves in the process. The tour guides are nothing like those one is used to seeing on trips abroad. Often bystanders don’t even know what is going on. It’s a great way to get to know your own city’s secrets, its old neighborhoods, the monuments of Plaka and neoclassical Athens.

Every Sunday without fail at 10.30 a.m., and some Saturdays for visits to sites that are closed on Sundays, nine months of the year, apart from the summer months, the City of Athens holds free guided tours of the city’s sites and monuments. For the past 27 years, its tour guides have been introducing Athenians to their city’s past. All they pay is the entrance fee to the sites themselves, wherever these are charged.

This is how it works: Check out the capital’s municipal website [ www.cityofathens.gr ] for the dates and schedules, call the Municipal Art Gallery and Museums Department, tel 210 3231841 or 210 3240762, or go to the city’s Cultural Center, 50 Academias Street, nearest metro station is “Panepistimio”. Every Sunday morning there is a different itinerary, but many of these are repeated over the year.

If the idea of a guided museum tour seems too much like a school excursion, there are always the outdoor walks. One of these met at the “Evangelismos” metro station on a recent sunny Sunday. Within a few moments, the tour guide was surrounded by a crowd of over 150 men and women of all ages, but very few children, for a briefing of the tour they were to take along Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, the approximate course of the ancient Ilissos River. The tour was to end two hours later at the Church of Aghia Foteini.

Some of the original crowd dropped off along the way, of course, as happens in tours. There was a smaller tour nearby the War Museum. Many of those in the crowd make a regular habit of the tours, meeting friends every Sunday.

As for the tour itself, the information provided by the guide is detailed, similar to the kind of information one would find in a Google search or travel guide, only here the process is interactive; then there are always the wisecrackers, providing lighter moments.

The winter program, January to March, provides a selection of 40 different meeting points. Tickets are issued at the entrance to 148 Ermou Street at the Church of Aghia Dynami. The only thing one has to make sure of is the meeting point for each tour. For example, Hadrian’s Arch for the tour of the Olympic Stadium, 66A Irakleidon Street in Thiseion for the walk around Athens, Philopappou Hill for the a tour of the Pnyx. All the tours are conducted in Greek. Every tour lasts from two to three or even four hours, depending on the site.

I think about the four-hour walk and sit down on a bench away from the crowd. The lecture on the Ilissos River surroundings began at Aghios Georgios Rizari. The guide indicates on the map the course of the now underground river. The point is to see Athens through different eyes. Not piled into a bus. We will walk along the Ilissos, not along its banks, of course, but above them, on the sidewalks.

Tomorrow’s tours >
Byzantine churches >
Meeting point at the Aghios Eleftherios Chapel next to Athens Cathedral.

Benaki Museum’s folklore exhibits from modern Greek history > Meeting point at the Museum entrance, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens.

Kerameikos, Athens’ Ancient Cemetery > Meeting point at the site.

Archaeological Museum’s bronze collection > Meeting point at the Museum entrance on Patission Street, Athens, nearest metro station “Victoria”.

Future tours > Municipal Art Gallery, 19th- and 20th-century Athens, the Athens of Costis Palamas, Ancient Agora, Acropolis, Plaka’s monuments, National Sculpture Gallery, Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art, Acropolis and Syntagma metro excavation finds, First Cemetery, Pnyx, Old Athenian neighborhoods, Museum of Islamic Art, Elefsina sites. Call 210 3231841 to book.

International conference at the New Acropolis Museum March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Shows & Conferences, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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The place, the viewpoint and the general atmosphere of the conference on the return of cultural property for the first international meeting at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

15-03-08_new_acropolis_museum.jpg  The photograph is from the Greek Cultural Foundation’s leaflet ‘The New Acropolis Museum’

Nobody can stop an idea whose time has finally come. This blog has written on several occasions about how the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles has gone from being a national demand to an international imperative, supported by leading figures from around the world who want to see the parts of the UNESCO-listed monument reunited.

But it will take more than being in the right to get back the marbles that Thomas Bruce, the seventh earl of Elgin, dismantled, stole and took away in 1801, when Athens was under Ottoman rule. With the permission of the sultan, Lord Elgin, then the British ambassador to Constantinople, had the Parthenon friezes cut up and transported to England, where they were bought by the British government. It, in turn, donated them to the British Museum in London where they have remained since.

What was needed, as Melina Mercouri told a plenary session of UNESCO in 1982, when, as the country’s Culture Minister, she initiated her campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, was “a new museum to house them,” given that the existing Acropolis Museum was already full. In order to build the Museum, Mercouri’s husband, the noted American-born French filmmaker Jules Dassin created the Melina Mercouri Foundation, to which he donated his fortune.

The state undertook the project, putting distinguished architect Dimitris Pantermalis at the helm. Renowned architect Bernard Tschumi collaborated with Greek architect Michalis Fotiadis in designing the project that is today coming to fruition opposite the Acropolis.

While the British Museum continues to insist that the Parthenon marbles should stay in the English capital where visitors from all over the world come to see them in the Duveen Gallery, its position is weakening. The upper floor of the New Acropolis Museum will showcase the surviving marbles, together with copies of those in the British Museum so as to show a complete picture of this matchless work of art.

This blog believes that they will return to their place of origin under pressure from the public and governments. One promising indication is that countries and museums around the world are starting to return works of art to the places from which they were removed due to wear, bombardment or illegal activities.

An international conference on the return of cultural property starts Monday, March 17, at the New Acropolis Museum, organized by UNESCO and the Greek Culture Ministry. It is the first in a series of international gatherings organized by UNESCO and its member states to foster awareness and provide a forum for reflection and exchanges on the issue of the return of cultural property.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias will attend the opening of the conference. Culture Minister Michalis Liapis and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Francoise Riviere will greet the participants. The event is coordinated by Vivi Vassilopoulou, the general manager of antiquities and cultural heritage at the Greek Culture Ministry.

For two days, the conference will address the issue, with examples ranging from Italy’s return of an obelisk to Ethiopia to the return by Edinburgh of Aboriginal remains to Australia. There’s a strong feeling among journalists that Elena Korka, the head of the Culture Ministry’s directorate of prehistoric and classical antiquities, will seize upon the opportunity presented by the conference to raise the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, because nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

Erotic Picasso art sparks Greek school row March 11, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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A collection of erotic prints by Pablo Picasso has sparked a dispute in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, after parents and school headmasters called into question whether they were suitable for minors, Greek media reported.

11-03-08_picasso.jpg  Schools were initially banned from visiting the exhibition of Picasso’s ‘Suite 347’ prints at the city’s Telloglio Arts Centre this week. But the decision was rescinded when an education inspector found that the offending prints were not being shown to schoolchildren visiting the exhibition.

“The works in question have been deemed unsuitable for pupils,” local secondary education director Theodoulos Tapanidis said. “We had to examine the issue after complaints arose,” he said. “The prints in question are in a separate area and were never part of the school tour anyway,” a centre employee said.

11-03-08_picasso_poster.jpg  A series of 347 engravings on topics including the female nude, bullfighting and flamenco, ‘Suite 347’ was created by Picasso in 1968 at the age of 87.

Modern art often causes controversy in Greece where a large segment of the population is sensitive to issues involving the Greek National Anthem, the Greek flag and Orthodox Christian religion.

In 2003, a Belgian artist’s painting featuring a penis facing a cross was removed from a state-funded exhibition in Athens after the Church and conservative lawmakers complained. Last year, the director of another state-funded Athens art show was arrested on charges of obscenity and an attack on national symbols over a video display in which a woman masturbated to the Greek National Anthem. He was later acquitted in court.

Related Links > http://www.tf.auth.gr/teloglion/

http://www.tf.auth.gr/teloglion/default.aspx?lang=en-US&page=448

Vincent van Gogh notebook: Is it real? March 10, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums.
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Greek writer insists drawings she found are by Dutch painter

10-03-08_vincent_van_gogh.jpg  A sketch from the notebook purported to have belonged to van Gogh.

Who could have imagined that a Greek woman could have caused such a stir in the international press and the Van Gogh Museum? The first to break the news was the BBC’s Greece correspondent Malcolm Brabant. According to the story, a writer named Doreta Peppa has in her possession a sketchbook belonging to Vincent van Gogh with sketches, some of which are signed “Vincent”. Other prestigious news services followed suit: Reuters, the Daily Telegraph, the Dutch television channel Nederland 1, and more.

The story is as follows: Back in World War II, Doreta Peppa’s father, Meletios Peppas, a partisan, along with a group of other resistance fighters, raided a Nazi train carrying looted works of art, grabbed what they could and then stored the items in a safe place.

Some 30 years after the death of her father (in 1973), Doreta discovers the wonderful sketchbook among her father’s manuscripts. The book is stamped with the words Royal Academy of Art, Brussels. She cannot believe her eyes. She shows it to her friends. Then she takes it to the head of conservation and restoration at the Greek National Gallery, Michalis Doulgeridis.

“She had it wrapped in a cloth and asked me to take a look at it”, he explained after the event. “What is it?” I asked. “You tell me”, she said. “Will you look at it?” Everything pointed to the work of a great artist. “You have to investigate this” I told her.

Athens-born Peppa (1963), an art collector and president of the “Ellin.a.is” foundation for ancient Greek religion, believes the sketchbook to be a diary kept by the artist, which he intended to give as a present to his brother Theo. Her research, which has been published in a book that was launched at Zappeion Hall in late February, takes a novel approach to the work of the artist. According to Peppa, van Gogh hid within his works letters, numbers and symbols representing valuable lessons that he wanted to pass on to mankind. The sketchbook was authenticated for Peppa by a young artist called Athanasios Selia, a photograph in the book was said to be of van Gogh by a dentist called Dimitris Berdelis, and Peppa’s book was published by Giorgos Alexelis of Epos Publications, who is co-author and Peppa’s husband.

The sketchbook may be authentic or it may not. Only an expert can be the judge of that and, even then, there would be a margin of error.

The Van Gogh Museum, after an initial series of contacts with Peppa, has now severed all communication. A spokesperson for the Museum told the Daily Telegraph’s Damien McElroy (January 4, 2008), “We get quite a few requests for authentication from people who believe they have something by Vincent van Gogh”.

Editor’s Note > Peppa made the news a few months back, when her religion group entered the sacred area of the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus [Columns of Olympian Zeus], located in the centre of downtown Athens, to perform their so-called “religious” ceremony. Ellinais, or the Holy Association of Greek Ancient Religion Believers, was founded in 2005 by a group of polytheists. Doreta Peppa is their spokeswoman and high priestess, and accordingly an avid advocate of their belief. Its followers are causing a stir with ceremonies in old temples, in which they pay homage to the ancient gods from Apollo to Zeus.

Other than that, I strongly believe, that Peppa, is trying to stir the motions and the publicity news!

Related Links > http://www3.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?lang=nl