Nat’l Gallery gears up for two great years

Even while the National Gallery is busily preparing a series of landmark exhibitions for the current year – a rich tribute to artist Fernando Botero and a Yiannoulis Halepas retrospective at the National Glyptotheque, among others – it looks like Athens is set to welcome a lavish show devoted to fashion designer Giorgio Armani in 2007. Discussions seem to be going well and so the exhibition that has traveled the world and which has, over the last few years, charmed thousands of visitors with the Italian designer’s greatest creations, is set to arrive in Athens. Billed as a retrospective, the exhibition features Armani’s key styles and innovations, such as the deconstruction of the jacket and his combination of signature beige and gray, for instance. Guggenheim At the same time as the Armani retrospective, the Goudi museum will welcome sketches of all Guggenheim museums, including the innovative designs by Frank Gehry for the Bilbao wing as well as those of a new building to be erected in Manhattan, destined to be New York City’s second Guggenheim. «It will be nice to see the cycle of the Armani exhibition – which was first presented at New York’s Guggenheim – come to an end in Athens. It will be great to have pieces by our era’s most classical designer showcased under the shadow of the Acropolis. At the same time, Greek audiences will have the opportunity to see inspired works by great architects for the Guggenheim museums at the National Glyptotheque, works which opened up a new chapter for the museums,» said Marina Lambraki-Plaka, National Gallery director, to Kathimerini earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Georgios Iakovidis exhibition, a major retrospective of the celebrated artist’s works currently on display at the National Gallery, is enjoying high levels of visitation and, in view of this, might be extended to mid-March. «About 3,000 visitors visit the National Gallery every weekend,» said Lambraki-Plaka. If the Iakovidis show receives an extension it will result in a postponement of an exhibition showcasing works by artist Michalis Economou and will be followed, as planned, by a show featuring works by Symeon Savvidis. Finances Unfortunately, however, no sponsors have emerged for a number of tributes and the National Gallery finds itself in a difficult position. «We have yet to find financial support for Savvidis as well as the Marino Marini exhibition, which is scheduled to take place at the National Glyptotheque. On the other hand, however, we have strong sponsors for Botero (Vodaphone), Halepas (Cosmote), the ‘Paris-Athens’ exhibition (Eurobank), as well as a rerun of a show featuring pieces from the permanent collection of the Goudi sculptures (Niarchos Foundation),» noted Lambraki-Plaka. She also added that «even though it is the Ministry of Culture’s intention to find a solution concerning the debt of the Organization for the Promotion of Greek Culture (OPEP) toward the Gallery (1,450,000 euros), nothing has been done yet. We got some money for the museum’s running costs, which comes to 300,000 euros, and we are going on as planned, though we will not be able to carry out everything we planned if we don’t find the sponsors.» Coming up Good news lies ahead, however. A retrospective show of the oeuvre of Fernando Botero will open at the museum on April 22. The exhibition will feature some 200 works, including a number of sculptures that will go on display at the Athens Concert Hall. More sculptures will be placed in the area outside the museum on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue for the duration of the show.

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