Art exhibitions extravaganza

The State Museum of Contemporary Art is currently hosting a number of distinct exhibitions. «Art and Utopia,» which has already been on display for several months in the museum’s exhibition hall at the old port warehouses, is one of a number of exhibitions it has organized, drawing on its valuable permanent collection of the Russian avant-garde, the famed «Costakis collection,» so-called. As with the rest of the museum’s exhibitions on the Costakis collection, «Art and Utopia» is an attempt to take advantage of, and encourage research into, one of the most important collections of 20th century art. The supplementary catalog reflects this interest in documentation and research. The exhibition, which is held on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Giorgos Costakis, includes works by artists such as Malevich, Popova, Tatlin, Rodchenko, Stepnanova and Klutsis (runs until the end of February). Two completely different exhibitions opened recently to coincide with the presentation to the public and press of «The History of Art in Greece, 18th and 19th Centuries,» the second volume of a history of Greek art written by Miltiadis Papanikolaou, director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art and professor of art history at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University. «The Olympic Spirit and Contemporary Greek Art,» held at the museum’s premises at the Lazariston Monastery, is not a museum production but a traveling exhibition which is curated by Peggy Kounenaki and is supplemented by a book published by Adam-Pergamos editions (also the publishers of Papanikolaou’s book) on the history of the Olympic Games. The exhibition presents works by 57 Greek modern and contemporary artists on the theme of the Olympics and the spirit of athleticism (runs to 29 November). At the Lazariston Monastery’s lower level, the Center for Contemporary Art (run by Sania Papa, it is the more experimental branch of the State Museum of Contemporary Art) hosts the works of upcoming, young artists. «Open Studios II,» which is the title of the exhibition, is actually a project (first established this past summer) aimed at encouraging young artists by giving public exposure to their work. Meant as an arts laboratory, Open Studios is similar to an arts residence, in which each artist is invited by the museum to work in a space allotted to him on the premises. The artists participating in Open Studios II are Marianna Ignataki, Dimitris Xonoglou, Maria Mitsopoulou, Alkis Papafilippou, Eva Mavridou and Eleni Theofylaktou (on until November 17).