Sozita Goudouna brings contemporary Greek Art to New York

The well-known curator, art historian and professor, is the man behind a new culture platform, which aims to introduce Greek contemporary art to America.

VLASIS KOSTOUROS

FEBRUARY 11, 2021

“Despite the Covid crisis and the complex problems of American society, no city has been able to surpass New York as the ultimate center of contemporary art. The numbers say it too. Although you know what they say here? If you can make it in Athens, you can make it everywhere (If you can succeed in Athens, you can succeed everywhere) “. Sozita Goudouna started from Athens, then moved to London to study Philosophy, and Theater Directing at RADA, did her PhD on the relationship of visual and performing arts and stayed in the British capital for 17 years, working at the academy and as a curator. From the first years of her career, she wanted to introduce the contemporary Greek art scene abroad, contributing with various practices to the extroversion of Greek culture, especially in the field of art.

Today she lives in New York, is the head of the Raymond Pettibon Foundation for American Art and an assistant professor of history and art at CUNY University. She was selected as the first Andrew W. Mellon Curator at the New York Institute and Performa Biennale, and has curated programs and exhibitions at the New York Museum of Art., in Documenta, at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, etc. She has worked as a curator in a series of solo exhibitions of famous artists, such as Martin Creed, Santiago Sierra, Lynda Benglis, Marie Voignier and Roy Ascott, while she also collaborated on the production of Marina Abramovic “Seven Deaths”. In 2008 he founded Out of the Box Intermedia in London and Athens, specializing in the research and production of cross-sectoral projects in partnership with international universities and institutions.

Greece in USA is the new artistic “child”, which she founded as the artistic director. It is an innovative cultural platform with an international scope, which aims to promote contemporary Greek artists in the USA. “We have to clarify that it is a non-profit organization,” Goudouna told me. “We organize Greek-American and Greek contemporary productions that focus on the visual arts , the performing arts such as theater, experimental cinema, cinema , new media, architecture and dance.

We conceive original artistic programs on specific topics and we commission artists to create new works on them or we collaborate with them on existing works. Our goal is to collaborate, apart from the prominent Greek artists , with emerging or others who, for some reason, while their work is of great interest, are not in the spotlight. We want to take their work and place it next to projects that we organize with artists of renowned prestige, whose radiance will illuminate their own path, with the hope that their work will open to a wider audience of collectors or curators “, emphasizes.

© RAYMOND PETTIBON, SOZITA GΟUDΟUNA

The organization develops productions that meet the needs of spaces (on-site-specific) and new — intermedia media. The promotion of the international exchange of practices and knowledge in the arts, the exploration of the methods used in theatrical and curatorial practices and the points of intersection between the arts, society and the public sphere through interventions, collective actions, educational programs and publications, is of interest to the organization.

“We have developed a network of contacts with significant exhibition spaces, institutes, galleries and museums in New York, so we can provide the framework for the extroversion of Greek artists. We also aim to produce integrated projects, such as presenting a theatrical production. The support of the Ministry of Culture of Greece is vital in conjunction with a prominent board of directors that consists, among others, of Giannis Kaplanis, General Manager of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival and Andreas Takis, President of MoMUS “.

In this context of designing projects based on a specific theme, which build long-term collaborations with leading institutions in the region, we presented the exhibition entitled “The Right to Silence?” (The Right to Silence?). Its theme is the penitentiary system, prison and incarceration regimes and the reform of criminal justice, in different geographical and political contexts. The first edition of the exhibition is currently being presented at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, City University of New York with the participation of 43 Greek and Cypriot Artists, while the second side event is expected at Undercurrent, one of the most influential exhibition spaces based in Brooklyn.

© PRESS

(from left) Eva Giannakopoulou, Dionysis Kavallieratos, Despina Hatzipavlidou, Manolis Lemos-Daskalakis, Panos Sklavenitis, Aristidis Lappas, Maria Adelman, Efi Spyrou, George Stamatakis,

“The exhibition will also look at issues related to international coronavirus decrees and extensions of house arrest,” said Goudouna, who is curating the show. The risk for the operation of the platform in the midst of a pandemic is huge, but she does not hesitate to take it. “We hope that things will be smoother in the summer, so that we can proceed with the events we are preparing in outdoor public spaces.”

“The contemporary curator must also be a researcher, to know in depth the original artistic currents, but also the contemporary social issues that arise,” she tells me. “As a modern magician, she has to find smart solutions in insecure environments. Greece has a huge range of great collectors and artists. However, the framework for the emergence of new artists or “mid-career” visual artists that can be found in the foreground is missing.

The prominent galleries in Athens that go to the international art fairs, have to cover significant amounts for their booth, at a time when the work of a young Greek artist costs much less than that of foreign artists. How will they make money? That’s why they choose to work with renowned foreign names. In London, do you know how the stage was built in part? By Saatchi who decided to buy works by seniors of Saint Martins and make them famous. Unfortunately, there is often an arteriosclerosis on the part of collectors, who choose to give 1 million to buy in the secondary market, instead of smaller amounts for young contemporary artists. This is the organization’s bet. To give light to pioneering artists, to introduce them to the public of America and why not to make them “influential.”

Info: Discover the actions of the new Greece in USA culture platform at greeceinusa.com .

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Sozita Goudouna is a curator, adjunct professor at CUNY, and the author of Beckett’s Breath (EUP, 2018). She is head of operations at Raymond Pettibon Studio.

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Sozita Goudouna

Sozita Goudouna

Sozita Goudouna is a curator, adjunct professor at CUNY, and the author of Beckett’s Breath (EUP, 2018). She is head of operations at Raymond Pettibon Studio.

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