CULTURE

The applied arts enter ivory tower world of museums

More unusual and interesting objects can now be found at the museum shops of the Benaki’s Pireos Street annex and the Museum of Cycladic Art. The large shop at the Benaki Museum annex is known for promoting and supporting the work of Greek artists who specialize in the decorative arts and jewelry. From the onset, the Benaki shop at the museum’s Pireos Street annex was not just a vending point but a gallery for showcasing crafted objects and jewelry. This summer’s new arrivals include a range of jewelry, some of it reasonably priced at 14 euros and up. Most of the jewelry is singled out for its unusual combination of different materials and techniques. It is also inspired by the exhibition «Flowers in Contemporary Art,» which is currently on at the museum’s premises. Mariella Rizou, for example, uses felt and beads for her youthful necklaces of flower motifs. Stamatis Zannos, who works as a decorator and stage designer, has made jewelry and other objects for the home by using gelatin and sheets of silver. The «Plastic is Fantastic» series by Christina Dara includes cute and colorful necklaces, bracelets and earrings, all made out of plastic. Other jewelry includes Sotiria Sideridou’s bead broaches or Loukia Richards’s bracelets. In the Benaki shop one will also find handmade porcelain bowls by Margarita Ekklisiarchou, or ceramics made by traditional techniques and hand-painted by Eleni Kanellopoulou. Maria Petratou’s elongated decorative objects that resemble turrets or blown-up flowers and plants are singled out for their toylike character, reminiscent of a fairy tale. In the shop of the Museum of Cycladic Art, recent arrivals include reproductions of ancient Greek toys and games, as well as jewelry inspired by them. Designed and constructed by Yiorgos Karatzas in collaboration with author and researcher Christos Lazos, the toys are meant for children. They are not mere decorative objects but are supposed to be used to acquaint children with ancient Greek culture. The toys include reproductions of the so-called «astragaloi» (knuckle-bones), which in antiquity were used in divination. The prices of the games at the museum’s shop range from 18-158 euros. In Nafplion Visitors to Nafplion will be impressed with the rich gamut of art works and objects of the applied arts in The Art Shop, a gallery that hosts art works from painting, sculpture and photography, as well as original objets d’art, furniture, jewelry and clothing which are either one-of-a kind or in limited editions. The Art Shop, which was set up by artist Florica Kyriacopoulos and gallerist Olga Georgantea, also organizes art projects such as window exhibitions and workshops. It also specializes in custom-tailored presents. It includes works by more than 50 Greek and international artists. (www.theartshop.gr.)