There's an interesting lineup of art exhibitions scheduled around Greece this summer, and then of course there's documenta, which as well as its home city Kassel in Germany is also taking place at locations in Athens until mid-July. On the islands, several tributes have already launched, focusing mainly on painting and honoring the Greek sculptor George Lappas, who died last year. Despite the crisis and the economic difficulties facing museums, galleries and institutions, many have still managed to put together some great shows that should make the art world sit up and take notice. Here's a summary:
The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation usually organizes the most important exhibit of the summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art on the island of Andros. The Cycladic island is ready to host a big tribute to Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-85). More than 100 of the Greek surrealist's paintings will be on show with a selection of his poems, drawing attention to both the sensitivity of his writing and his inherent visual perspective.
“The Colors of Reason and the Reason of Color” is set to be inaugurated in late June. A painter, a poet, and a professor at the Athens Polytechnic, Engonopoulos was one of the most iconic members of the Thirties Generation. He was unquestionably one of the most interesting members of that era's charismatic batch of artists.
Also on the island of Andros, at the end of July, there is the annual Ploes music and arts festival, organized by the Kydonios Foundation. This year it will honor George Lappas with an exhibition of his pieces as well as works by other artists who were inspired by the great Greek sculptor. The island of Poros will also be participating in the tribute, titled “Projects, Designs and Studies.”
Covering the period from 1970 to 2015, it will feature figures inspired by circus acts and acrobatics. This exhibit will be presented by the Citronne gallery, starting in late May. In parallel, the Archaeological Museum of Poros will be showing the work of Lappas's wife, Aphrodite Liti, who is also a sculptor, whose famous owls are set beside human figures. In early July, Citronne will turn its focus on painter Giannis Adamakos. Both shows at Citronne are curated by Tatiana Spinari-Pollali.
Back in the Cyclades, Ermoupoli, the capital of the island of Syros, is the location of two very interesting exhibitions this summer. The work of sculptor Costas Varotsos, creator of the landmark "Running Man" sculpture in Athens, will be showcased at the Cyclades Gallery in early June, while in early August, the venue will be hosting nudes by a trio of excellent Greek painters, Alexis Veroukas, Maria Filopoulou and Giorgos Rois. The three artists have devoted entire chapters of their own work to the same theme, reminding us of the power of painting. It is titled “The Body's Memory.”
In recent years, the island of Samos and Art Space Pythagorion have served as a magnet for people with a passion for contemporary art. This year, the well-established curator Katerina Gregou will present the tribute “Summer of Love,” featuring artworks by Mikhail Karikis, Maetamm, Marge Monko and Uriel Orlow, among others, as well as films by Nicolas Kozakis together with the philosopher Raoul Vaneigem, and filmmaker Johan Grimponprez’s video “Everyday Words Disappear” (2016). The exhibition “will reflect on the unlikely liaison of love and politics, connecting the summer of 1967 to the world in 2017” and commences on August 3.