CULTURE

Art exhibition captures the experimentation that flowed in the ’60s

It is sometimes referred to as the age of utopias: The 1960s were a period of cultural revolutions, of doubt, and full of the dynamics of change. It was when artists challenged the role of art and its institutions and questioned issues of authorship and originality, thus also drawing modernism to a close and bringing forward the age of postmodernism. The ’60s spawned pop art, land art, Fluxus, arte povera and all kinds of movements that brought something new into art and the ways that the public interacted with it. More than at any other time, art aspired to become political and to effect societal changes. «Inside Outside, Notes for the ’60s,» which is the title of an art exhibition currently on view for a few more days at the Hellenic American Union, serves as a reminder of the kinds of changes that took place at the time, particularly their resonance in the work of Greek artists. Drawn from the Leonidas Beltsios private art collection, the works do not all date from the ’60s but belong to artists who came into prominence at the time. Among the most «political,» protest-oriented works of the exhibition are those by artist Vlassis Caniaris. Papers cemented on multilayered canvases evoke political pamphlets and the cultural demonstrations of the ’60s. The exhibition includes works by some of the most prestigious Greek artists, credited with introducing modern artistic movements into art. The late Nikos Kessanlis is one of them, represented here by his well-known photographs showing the shadows of people projected on a backlit «curtain.» The exhibition also pays tribute to the Greek artists of the diaspora who emerged into fame during the ’60s. Three works by Lucas Samaras (a large retrospective on his work is scheduled for April) are representative of the artist’s varied style, a style that is based on the artist’s preoccupation with using his art as an extension of his personal world. There are also works by Yiannis Kounellis, a protagonist of arte povera, Lynda Benglis, Chris Gianakos and Steve Gianakos. Every single work possesses character and makes an impact on the viewer.They are a reminder of how the ’60s bred a talented generation of artists who paved the way for contemporary developments in art. At the Hellenic American Union (22 Massalias, 210.368.0900) through Friday.