CULTURE

Upcoming treats at the National Gallery

Marina Lambraki-Plaka, director of the National Gallery, informed the press of the museum’s upcoming program and other pending issues at a recent press conference. Although she avoided direct references to the financial problems that plague one of the country’s main museums, it became clear that the upcoming exhibitions will take place due to the generosity of certain sponsors and not thanks to the Ministry of Culture. Takis Arapoglou, president of the National Bank of Greece and a member of National Gallery’s board of directors, said that the Ministry of Culture has not settled its debt with the National Gallery. According to some estimates, the ministry’s obligations amount to some 1,650,000 euros. Despite its financial problems, the museum went on to announce its future projects, though sponsors have yet to be found for some of them. November 2 will see the opening of a retrospective exhibition of works by Georgios Iakovidis, which will run to January 30, 2006. It will be followed by another retrospective on Simeon Savvidis and Michalis Economou from mid-February to mid-April. A large tribute to well-known artist Fernando Botero will open on May 22 and will end on September 10. An ambitious project «Athens – Paris,» an ambitious project that will present great Greek artists who were taught or influenced by French masters, has been scheduled to run between October 2006 and February 2007. «The exhibition will be in the form of a diptych,» said Lambraki-Plaka. «Next to originals by Picasso will be works by Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas; next to works by Henri Matisse, paintings by Yiannis Tsarouchis and so on.» The National Gallery director also announced the program of the Glyptotheque in Goudi, which will host an exhibition by Julio Gonzalez this autumn (October 23 to January 31, 2006). A tribute to sculptor Marino Marini is to start in mid-February. Good news A major piece of news is that, thanks to a donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the permanent collection will finally be able to go on display at one of the Glyptotheque’s two buildings. «The foundation will fund all that is necessary for the preparation, from the explanatory labels to the catalogue, as well as the maintenance of the statues. That way we can put our statues back on display properly, because right now they are in storage,» said Lambraki-Plaka. One of the three statues in the museum’s courtyard (which were part of last year’s tribute «Six Top Sculptors Talk with Men»), Auguste Rodin’s «Walking Man,» has been purchased by the National Bank and has been donated to the National Gallery. The other two statues were bought by a Greek foundation that wishes to remain anonymous and they will remain in the country. Regarding the extension to the National Gallery, Lambraki-Plaka said that a legal issue has come up: The Ministry of Finance considered the museum’s move to put architects Dimitris Fatouros and Pavlos Mylonas (who designed the building) in charge of the extension as a direct appointment, so the issue has stalled.