To Rebrand Itself, Greece Digs Deep Into Its Cultural DNA

A gold flower-and-myrtle-leaf wreath, thought to have belonged to one of Alexander the Great's stepmothers, is now on display at the National Geographic Museum.

A gold flower-and-myrtle-leaf wreath, thought to have belonged to 1 of Alexander the Great’s stepmothers, is now on display at the National Geographic Museum. National Geographic Museum hide caption

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The news out of Greece in the previous many years has been fairly bad. An ongoing financial crisis has resulted in an unemployment price that’s hovering around 25 % — at present, there is a main exodus of young, educated Greeks. And far more than a million refugees and migrants have poured into the country in the past year and a half. So what is the Greek government carrying out in response? For one factor, it is sent a big art exhibition to Washington, D.C.

The show, which opened in June and runs by means of early October, is named “The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Fantastic.” It is a survey of 5,000 years of Greek art and artifacts. Most of the products have in no way left their homeland ahead of. This quit in Washington is the last on a tour that also included the Field Museum and two stops in Canada: at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, near Ottowa, and the Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Archeology and History Complex in Montreal.

“We wanted, in the starting of the economic crisis in Greece, to show actually what Greece is, and genuinely what Greeks are,” says Maria Vlazaki. Vlazaki is the secretary basic of Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports. She’s also an archaeologist, and she is a single of the curators of this show some of her finds are on show in “The Greeks.”

Vlazaki has been planning this exhibition considering that 2010 — not lengthy soon after the global financial meltdown started.

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She points out the Greek government lends things all the time, and the National Geographic Museum originally suggested that they work with each other on an exhibition of ancient Greek artifacts. But she is also quite simple about 1 of the factors that this show of far more than 500 objects is touring the U.S. right now: She wants to inspire tourists.

Three figurines from the Cycladic islands, which are roughly 5,000 years old, are on display at the National Geographic Museum.

Three figurines from the Cycladic islands, which are roughly 5,000 years old, are on display at the National Geographic Museum. Mark Thiessen/National Geographic Museum hide caption

toggle caption Mark Thiessen/National Geographic Museum

“They see so numerous masterpieces and also factors of daily life, that I consider they will be extremely interested to go to Greece, simply because they will see how Western civilization has been inspired by Greece,” says Vlazaki.

Amongst the oldest products on show are mysterious, angular little figurines from roughly 5 thousand years ago, from the Cycladic islands.

“It appears like modern art,” says archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow Fred Hiebert. Hiebert is the co-curator of “The Greeks,” and he says that he is nonetheless stunned by how prepared the Greek museums and archaeological internet sites had been to lend out some of their most worthwhile treasures.

Hiebert and Vlazaki lead me via the show. “We’re coming to a section here which is from a internet site museum that I never, ever believed we would ever borrow from,” he explains, “due to the fact it is the royal burials of the kings of northern Greece at the time of Philip the Wonderful and Alexander the Great.”

We’re standing by a case that consists of a finely wrought wreath made of dozens of tiny, quite delicate and detailed flowers and myrtle leaves, cut from thin sheets of gold. It was thought to be produced for Queen Meda, one of Alexander the Great’s stepmothers.

“When we were putting this in the case,” he says, “it glimmered and jiggled with each and every slight breeze. It’s absolutely the most amazing piece of work I’ve ever observed.”

But will visitors who see these treasures then want to go to Greece on getaway? Could the show even aid foreigners reframe their perceptions about this struggling nation? Peter Economides thinks so.

“You know,” says Economides, “Americans are bombarded with all the news about Greece’s negative news. I believe it’s a reminder, a really palpable, tangible reminder, up close. It is at the core of what Greece is all about, and it creates extremely, quite constructive impressions.”

Economides is from South Africa, but his loved ones background is Greek. These days, he’s a brand strategist primarily based in Athens. He was portion of 1 of the most higher-profile rebrandings of all time: Apple’s reboot, and its renowned “Here’s to the crazy ones” campaign.

So Economides knows a issue or two about how organizations — and even nations — put themselves out into the world. And he says that looking to ancient Greece may not just coax Americans to reframe what they know about the nation nowadays.

“Greeks need to re-comprehend who they are, so they can get their act together,” he says. “Branding begins inside. It’s not anything you speak. It’s some thing that you do. It’s something that you are. It really is some thing that drives behavior, cultural behavior.”

Tourism to Greece is really up — in fact, the 2016 statistics are set to break records. But Economides says the nation demands to reimagine itself as one thing much more than a vacation paradise of low cost villas, abundant sun and sea, and some intriguing archaeology. It really is about Greeks themselves getting inspired by that ancient history do much more — to produce a 21st-century country that is as innovative as it was thousands of years ago.

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Aix, Arles and Avignon — cultural powerhouses

A wealthy range of modern artworks is on display across the 3 French towns

Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Crouching Spider’ (2003) at Château La Coste©The Easton Foundation

Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Crouching Spider’ (2003) at Château La Coste

Louise Bourgeois’s monumental “Crouching Spider” rises from a serene lake, its watery reflection trembling in waning light. As the sky darkens, the broken timber planks of Frank Gehry’s exuberantly deconstructed “Pavilion de Musique” metamorphose into darting, dusky patterns and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s slim-tipped steel tower “Mathematical Model 012” tapers into the night. Everything appears as deliciously uncertain as the wavering affections of Dorabella and Fiordiligi that unfold, in a reside outdoor screening of Così fan tutte from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, against a backdrop of vineyards and olive groves.

This is sunset at Château La Coste, a wine domain outdoors Aix where all through the summer eclectic cross­overs of architecture, sculpture, film and efficiency are staged on a Roman site fringed by oak and pine forests. On my visit last weekend Mozart was followed by Chinese conceptualist film-maker Cheng Ren forthcoming events variety from a showing of Jacques Demy’s 1967 musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort to a night walk illuminated by Tatsuo Miyajima’s ephemeral cascade of white lights “Wild Time Flowers”.

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La Coste is 1 of several venues established in the previous decade amongst the tiny towns of Aix, Arles and Avignon that are creating a lively, culturally distinct arena for refreshing, non-metropolitan approaches to displaying modern art.

Modernism was born right here, in between Van Gogh’s Arles of “beautiful contrasts of red and green, blue and orange, sulphur and lilac”, and Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, and it was with the 2006 relaunch of Aix’s Musée Granet as a substantial museum dedicated to Cézanne and his legacy that connections amongst nature, history and the visual arts began to create.

The Granet is on top kind this summer time with Camoin dans sa Lumière, a delightful exploration of small-identified Charles Camoin, the only Fauve painter befriended by the Aix master. Camoin’s shiny landscapes and interiors — Mediterranean harbours, slippery pine-clad calanques, Madame Matisse sewing — are gentle versions of Fauvism, underpinned by Cézanne’s emphasis on geometric structure: gridded masts in “Le Port de Marseille”, architectonic curves and horizontals of veranda, shutters, table in “Lola sur le Balcon”.

Camoin’s dramas of brightness and shade stay in the thoughts across La Coste’s hectares of rough unsigned pathways. Here visitors come haphazardly upon art deep in caves, such as Andy Goldsworthy’s walk-in inverted wooden bird’s nest “Oak Room”, or opening on plateaux like Liam Gillick’s brightly painted prison cell doors “Multiplied Resistance Screened”.

‘Jeune Créole’ (1904) by Charles Camoin©Florian Kleinefenn

‘Jeune Créole’ (1904) by Charles Camoin

Tracey Emin’s “Self-portrait” of rusty platform, wine barrel and ceramic cat types a tree residence. Tadao Ando’s glass-encased drystone “La Chapelle” occupies a ruin. Each function registers quick sensory encounter of organic phenomena: hot/cool, light/dark, claustrophobic/expansive.

Minimalism reigns here — not sanitised as in urban white cube galleries, but rather as an acceptance that art in no way truly rivals earth, water, air. Richard Serra’s corten steel plates “Aix” are buried into the hillside, three corners hidden, mimicking the land’s gradient. Lee Ufan’s “House of Air” is a curving woodland fairy tale cottage inside are grey-white abstract paintings, outdoors a limestone boulder whose fake shadow of black pebbles contrasts bizarrely with the stone’s actual shadow cast by the sun. Additional paintings, executed by a single gestural stroke of a loaded wide brush so that a prism of colours, placed asymmetrically, shimmer on white canvases, constitute a temporary exhibition in a discreet gallery created final year by Ando.

Why do the super-wealthy — Francois Pinault, David Zwirner — favour minimalism? Presumably due to the fact if you can buy anything, then significantly less, exquisitely orchestrated, is a lot more. La Coste, owned by house tycoon Patrick McKillen, is a wealthy man’s folly, but one exceptionally sympathetic to its environment, and offering a make-your-own knowledge of new land art accessible to all.

Across the Lubéron hills, the venerable theatre Festival d’Avignon has recently started to include visual art, but of a quite diverse sensibility from La Coste. The history of European strife — rivals to the Roman popes ruled here in the 1300s — is embedded in this walled town, and intensely politicised modern functions reverberate across Gothic churches, honey-stone mansions and the medieval Palais des Papes.

Frank Gehry’s ‘Pavillon de Musique’ (2008)©Gehry Partners

Frank Gehry’s ‘Pavillon de Musique’ (2008)

In its courtyard last week, Amos Gitai’s film about Yitzhak Rabin’s murder by an ultranationalist extremist was screened. The Israeli artist’s commanding installation “Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold” (2016) continues at Avignon’s Collection Lambert with extracts from the film dizzyingly projected on ceilings, black-and-white photographic fragments of instants of violence displayed in panels like upright tombs, and fragile ceramic figurines poignantly enacting how art, Gitaï says, “conserves memory when huge powers want to erase it”. The Lambert, relaunched last year in the 18th-century Hotels de Caumont and Montfaucon, is disrupting its neoclassical façade with Adel Abdessemed’s “Coup de Tête”, a 5-metre bronze of two brutal figures in studded football boots locked in combat, immortalising Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in the 2006 World Cup. Ode to failure? At “Surfaces”, a excellent festival show at the Église des Célestins, Abdessemed mounts wall reliefs in diverse supplies — gold leaf, salt, camel bone — in dialogue with the carved angels and stained-glass tracery to explore how historical memory resurfaces.

In “The Travelling Players”, Camp David negotiators straighten their ties in white marble in “Shopping” tanks roll into an aluminium Tiananmen Square as a young man passes with his groceries. “He became element of History — as himself,” says Abdessemed. “I made him come back up, like a witness: he was on the scene of the crime. As an artist, I’m on the scene of the crime.”

At Arles, the outstanding Les Rencontres festival has considering that 1970 presented inaugural shows of many crucial photo­graphers bearing witness to struggle, survival, discovery. This summer’s highlights are Sid Grossman: Du Document à la Révélation, the very first European displaying of the tender/sharp 1940s street photographs — “Jitterbugging in Haarlem”, “Coney Island” — of the American photographer blacklisted as a communist, and a memorial homage to “the eye of Bamako”, pioneering chronicler of 1960s Malian common culture Malick Sidibé, who died in April.

For quality and independent believed, Les Rencontres soars above Arles’ latest supplying, the Fondation Van Gogh launched in 2014 and so far showing undistinguished contemporaries, presently Glenn Brown’s pastiches “Suffer Well”. Arles, even so, awaits its trophy moment: a Frank Gehry-made arts centre, funded by collector Maja Hoffmann’s Luma Foundation and controversially fronted by a 70-metre twisting metal tower, opens in 2018. Let’s hope that the town maintains the unpredict­able edge of Les Rencontres, rather than succumbing to homogenised worldwide fashion. For Arles, Avignon and Aix appropriate now are the golden ticket: globe-class new art in distinctive, authentic, historically resonant settings.

‘Coney Island’ (1947) by Sid Grossman©Howard Greenberg Gallery

‘Coney Island’ (1947) by Sid Grossman

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Photographs: The Easton Foundation/ADAGP Paris/Andrew Pattman Florian Kleinefenn/ADAGP Paris 2016 Gehry Partners/Château La Coste/Andrew Pattman Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Section: Arts


Zendaya Gets Genuine About Cultural Appropriation: ‘You Cannot Inform Someone Not To Be Upset About It’

Zendaya isn’t right here for your cultural appropriation, and in a new interview with Popsugar, she opens up about why it’s such a issue.

“If some thing feels private to your culture or to your background,” the megastar stated, “then you take that personally and you feel impacted by it. You can’t tell an individual not to be upset about it.”

She’s speaking from expertise. Last year, Zendaya wore locs to the Oscars. She looked completely spectacular, but Fashion Police host and E! News correspondent Giuliana Rancic stated, “I really feel like she smells like patchouli oil … and possibly weed.”

Zendaya promptly fired back with a powerful response to Rancic’s “outrageously offensive” comment.

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Now a year later, she’s content to break down the meaning of cultural appropriation.

“Well, initial of all, braids are not new,” Zendaya stated when asked about celebrities like Kylie Jenner wearing cornrows. “Black ladies have been wearing braids for a very lengthy time. … It became new and fresh and entertaining, since it was on a person else other than a black woman. You know what I mean? So that is the frustration. That is where the culture appropriation element comes into play.”

She also shouted out Amandla Stenberg, who has spoken out about the identical issue.

“She [Amandla] wished society loved black people as a lot as they love black culture. That’s the truth,” Zendaya continued. “The credit gets taken away from us when we make certain statements or when we do certain factors. That is the frustration. Folks want to be around for the positives and the factors that we bring as far as culture, but they don’t want to be around when we have problems or when we’re acquiring shot in the streets. You know what I’m saying? You have to be there for the entire expertise. You cannot just choose when you want to be a part of our culture.” 🙌

Study Zendaya’s full interview with Popsugar right here.

I in no way fed my Neopets.

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