‘Alexander’ at Olympic Tower, NY

Greece has a robust cultural presence in New York, the contemporary crossroads of civilizations, with the exhibition organized by the Onassis Foundation of Culture and Letters at its premises in the Olympic Tower atrium on Fifth Avenue. «Alexander the Great: Treasures from an Epic Era of Hellenism» opened on December 9 at the foundation’s headquarters in the presence of 1,000 guests. Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia cut the ribbon with the foundation’s president, Stelios Papadimitriou, and the manager of its American affiliate, honorary ambassador Loukas Tsilas. Also present were Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos, deputies and former ministers Evangelos Venizelos and Vasso Papandreou, and deputies Sylvana Rapti and Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The exhibition is one of the Onassis Foundation’s most important initiatives and was jointly arranged with the Culture Ministry and leading museums in Greece, the US, Italy and France. At the opening was Museum of Cycladic Art President Dolly Goulandris, Greek National Gallery Director Marina Lambraki-Plaka, the directors of the archaeological museums of Athens and Thessaloniki, the Christian and Byzantine Museum, large museums in northern Greece and of all of the participating foreign museums. Professor Dimitris Pantermalis gave a guided tour to the guests, who included personalities from politics, culture and the Greek diaspora of New York. The protagonists of the event were the unique exhibits. Among the treasures on display are two rare heads of Alexander from the museums of Pella and the Acropolis, Macedonian swords, weapons, shields, greaves, medals, coins, jewelry, symposium utensils, the equestrian Alexander from Naples and the golden gown of the Lady of Aegai. «This exceptional exhibition gives Americans and the international public in general an opportunity to get to know the legendary Alexander,» said Palli-Petralia as she opened the exhibition, which she described as «a cultural initiative of national importance and an impressive event in the heart of the contemporary metropolis of Western culture.» The opening and reception in the atrium of Olympic Tower were followed by a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Speaking at the dinner, Papadimitriou, Palli-Petralia and Venizelos spoke of Alexander as a great commander whose contribution to the Greek world has lasted through the ages.