“Interaction,” a painting of a woman lying on the ground beside two tigers, dominates the main wall on the first-floor exhibition area. “It’s of the painter herself,” explains Vlassis Frissiras, sitting across from one of his favorite works from his collection. The creator of the painting is Poland’s Ewa Szczekan, one of 67 artists represented at a new exhibition at the Frissiras Museum in Athens paying tribute to female artists from the mid-20th century.
“Elles,” says Frissiras, is one of the most important exhibitions ever held by the museum, which celebrated its 15th year in operation this year. The founder of the museum and an avid collector, he takes me around the show, pointing out interesting details along the way.
“I was compelled to put on this exhibition five years ago when I read Waris Dirie’s ‘Desert Flower,’” says Frissiras. “The museum’s collections comprises about 400 pieces by female artists. I had a lot of options but I ultimately decided to place the works of Greek and foreign artists side by side rather than separately.”
The art on show covers all the major historical events and sociopolitical revolutions from 1950 and to the present day, and the artists bring to the fore one of the questions that shaped contemporary art history: Is there such a thing as female art?
“In the last 60 years, women have had a strong presence in the world of the arts, dedicating time to art, and this is evident in the result,” says Frissiras. “The aim of the show is to honor the contribution of women in art, in life in general, and to highlight that their work is equal to that of men.”
“Elles,” Frissiras Museum, 7 Monis Asteriou, Plaka, tel 210.323.4678. Runs through June 30. Opening hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.