Tuesday, October 16, 2018

AP ART trip Athens, Greece

This year's AP art group is considerably younger than in previous years. With that said, there is an abundance of raw talent these young artists possess. Out of the rawness comes a willingness to take risks in art-making. Of all the groups I've taught, these students approach art from a more personal perspective, cathartic in many ways. While their craftsmanship is a work-in-progress, I'm excited to see their work unfold over the course of the year. I'm always curious how these trips inspire my students and what sort of ideas they latch on and grow from.

We experienced Athens in 3.5 days. We all have our own story about it in photographs, words, and memories. Below is my experience through my lens. 

*special thanks to Magda for providing some of the street artist information. If you're ever in Athens and want a top-notch street art tour, you can contact her here: https://www.guruwalk.com/walks/3841-street-art-walk-exarcheia-neighbourhood   

Off the plane and already sporting coolness while awaiting lunch.
Our first Greek lunch.
We didn't waste a moment getting to Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Looking out at Areopagus Hill.
Group shot at the Acropolis before a leader of a tour group yelled for us to leave so they could take a photo in the spot we occupied-the irony, they asked one of my students to take a photo of their group.
A little bit of street art near Palaka
When you ask folks to do something silly, sometimes they comply.
Stefanos was our guy for a street food tour. We learned some Athens history while sampling various imported flavors form across the globe - we had Hawaiian sushi, Mexican, Brazilian...to name a few.
Three types of Hawaiian sushi at Poke.
Grexico served up a nice sample of their offerings. Our student's loved the Tex-Mex chimichanga.
Teenagers, angst, repression... The remedy? A Limba Rage Room in Psyri. The 5 euro starter kits gets you some bottles a couple of other goodies to smash with a bat. For 10 euros you can get a TV set. The menu stated a 100 euro option gets you TV, a photocopier (Office Space anyone?), 100 bottles, plates, saucers, your high school art teacher... 
Chaperones have rage too.
I heard names being shouted when the bat came slamming down.
Almost no one was hurt...
For most photographers an open municipal market is a dream. For my students, they'd rather not know where their food came from. 
We were all about the nut and spice section.
Greece doesn't mess around in the nut section.
Yes, I filled up my suitcase with this.
After our market adventure, it was time for street art in Exarchia. New work from simple G and Alex Martinez

Wake Up by Ino
By 1up
By Borando

We met up with our guide Magda at Polytechneio
Monuments of the uprising, sculpture and gate. The Athens Polytechnic uprising occurred in November 1973 as a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. The uprising began on November 14, 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt, and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17 after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic...November 17 is currently observed as a holiday in Greece for all educational establishments; commemorative services are held and students attend school only for these, while some schools and all universities stay closed during the day. The central location for the commemoration is the campus of the Polytechnic. -Wikipedia
Magda's friend, Elerni.
The caption translates to: "Too much Gaudi for nothing."
Polytechneio is still a functioning university.
Lockers outside the classrooms.
Our street art walking tour went through Metaxourgeio.
Mural made for the Petit Paris d'Athenes 2018.

Farah, how's the tour so far?
Magda stated that this mural by WD is one of the most noted in Metaxourgeio.
Mural by Simple G for Petit Paris d'Athenes 2017.
Bleeps says:
[In] the field of street art which has become a main “attraction” for the last decade, we have been experiencing the proliferation by corporate logic and the state in an “antagonistic” policy, while independent voices are either kept in silence, or subjugated.-http://blog.vandalog.com
Go sculpture.

@ the Rebecca Camhi Gallery to see Konstantin Kakanias' exhibit: THAT’S MINE BITCH. DO NOT TOUCH. BACK OFF.
Mrs Tependris, the heroine of Konstantin Kakanias, comes to life again: she sees herself as a sculpture starring in performances and as a warrior taking part in fierce protests with her friends. From her house in the desert, she composes stern letters to the director of the British Museum demanding that the Parthenon Marbles be returned to Athens. She is angry and needs the marbles back!

Is comedy the best way to intrude into the artistic DNA and the safest way to send a message or to communicate? Can comedy be a catharsis, overcoming evil and corruption? Kakanias, with sarcasm and social critique, highlights immoral behaviour, allowed to persist without reaction or explanation, becomes engrained, and accepted as the norm. How much are we willing to tolerate the unjust and for how long? -http://www.rebeccacamhi.com
Gazing at the gallery workers as our guide and the gallery owner have a heated discussion about street art? Is street art vandalism?
see, no, hear collaboration by Barba De, Rkuan, and Deryk the Pir.
Swipe this image and invert it.Work by Achilles
#TextMe_FluffyLibrary: From the NEON website: The project combines the logic of a large-scale installation with plush sculptures and furry costumes. Fluffy Library is a cuddly environment that creates an original and otherworldly reading and playing area for both young and old. The project’s hybrid nature combines different functions: it creates a multi- sensorial visual experience, while it also prompts readership as it functions as an open library.
Jumping for joy with Magda and Eleni.
As a bonus round, Magda, Eleri, and I went to visit the CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery for a solo exhibit of Efi Haliori work. While the above image wasn't exhibited, Christina showed us Haliori's work of images of the sea. "While other photographers were photographing immigrants arriving in Greece, Haliori's work documented the seas traveled." Beautiful and thought provoking. Image courtesy of http://www.efihaliori.com
Our time together ended when Magda and Eleri took me to the VOID - an alternative art space and publishing company tucked away in a nondescript building. Varied printing methods coupled with labor intensive book binding produces some of the most creative books and zines I've encountered in my 37-plus years of being a creator and and collector of books and fanzines.    
Ben and Jerry's the breakfast of champions.
Evzones - member of the presidential guards outside of the palace.
Visiting the British School of Athens to view site specific marble sculptures by Andreas Lolis in his PROSAIC ORIGINS exhibit. This exhibit was hosted by NEON, an organization that has no permanent gallery space, but re-purposes locations for their shows.
Our tour guide mentioned how traditionally marble sculptures were made to glorify, "the divine, leaders, royalty..." In contrast, Lolis' works represent everyday mundane objects one would encounter in the streets or a village in Greece. Blanket and pillow on a bench.
Our fruitful Q&A session with Andreas Lolis. My colleague, Karen, was a little embarrassed when she discovered he was the artist. "I thought he worked here, I asked him where the toilet was..." I replied, "Me too!"
What are the many uses of a cardboard box?  What does a cardboard box mean to you? Lifelike color and texture interacted well with the elements such and dirt and rain. And yes, dear reader, this is a marble sculpture.   
And so are these.
Next up was Paul Chan's exhibit: Odysseus and the Bathers at Museum of Cycladic Art.
"Each figure is composed of a fabric “body” designed by Chan and attached to specially modified fans. These kinetic sculptural works act like moving images in three dimensions. Incorporating techniques that combine fashion, drawing and physics, Chan manipulates how the figures move by composing the internal architecture of the bodies so they direct the airflow from the fans to create different kinds of motion. The “bathers” will be joined by gouache fabric pieces, works on paper and maquettes." -NEON's website

We ended the afternoon at the Benaki Museum. British photographer, Joan Leigh Fermor took 1000's of photographs of her life in Greece from the 1940s-60s.
A collection of thuribles at the Benaki.
Looking out to Zappion Gardens.
Walked by a lady waiting for a bus holding this wonderful bouquet. Asked f I could take her photo.
Outside of Panathenaic Stadium.
Remains of an agora.