Sozita Goudouna: The Greek art scene, like Greece itself, is unpredictable, fascinating and often unruly…
She founded the innovative GREECE IN USA platform, that promotes, Greek culture, both in America and in all the lengths and breadths of the planet. Greek culture finds its own “vehicle” of communication and the idea but also the responsibility for this to happen with the maximum possible professionalism, belongs to Sozita Goudouna.
GREECE IN USA presents Greek-American and Greek contemporary productions focusing on the visual arts, performing arts (theater), experimental cinema, cinema, new media, architecture and dance, but also means much more, which was revealed by Mrs. Gudouna herself, to the cultural affairs editor of kriti360.gr Olga Hnara, in an exclusive intervie
Please tell us a little about you and your development, to get to know you better…
I was able to better understand myself through my involvement in the arts. The shift in my life took place when I decided to merge my academic interests with a more practical involvement in the arts. At some point in our lives we realize that it is not a privilege to follow our dreams, but a prerequisite if we want to live our full potential and “really contribute” to society. After a 17-year “stop” in London studying philosophy, theater and fine arts at the University of London and working at the academy and the local art scene, I felt the need to present the work of Greek artists abroad. As a result of the collective work “Locus Solus” that I edited in 2009 at the London Europe Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUGXtDaLOPg&t=27s )
During the years of the Greek economic crisis, a program that I believe had a positive and long-term impact on the local art scene was the first official European Art Residency in Athens, which I headed with the support of the Ministry of Culture and European Finance (NSRF). The program has hosted solo exhibitions by major international artists, including Lynda Benglis, Martin Creed, Marie Voignier and Santiago Sierra, and collaborated with Marina Abramovich on the production of “Seven Deaths”, a tribute to the life and death of Maria Callas. in 2020 at the Munich Opera.
‘ GREECE IN USA ‘ is a nonprofit organization which promotes knowledge of contemporary and ancient Greek culture abroad and promote international cultural cooperation and social participation”
As a member of the Hydra Ecological Association since 1988, I was also interested in environmental projects related to art such as the exhibition I curated in Hydra in 2011 (more information at the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlEVRIQcA5E&t = 49s ) and a recent research project that I presented with the support of the Onassis Foundation in the sculptural landscape of Nella Golanda in Aixoni in Glyfada (more information at the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJi2Z6wmRZY). I moved to New York in 2015 to work at the Performa Biennale and New York University NYU and when I realized I wanted to stay in New York one step led to another, teaching at City University of New York (CUNY) and managing the Raymond Pettibon Foundation. Raymond Pettibon is perhaps the most distinguished contemporary American artist focusing on the medium of drawing. It is a great privilege and art history course to work with him as the head of the studio and with the galleries that represent him such as the David Zwirner Gallery, New York, London, Hong Kong, Regen Projects in Los Angeles and Sadie Coles in London. Raymond and I worked on the opening exhibition of the Zwirner Gallery in Europe, the Paris gallery that also hosted an event for Dior with Pettibon artwork that inspired Kim Jones in his men’s collection for Dior. As the first curator Andrew W. Mellon at the Performa Biennale, my main concern was to highlight the textual aspect of Pettibon’s work by presenting the production Whoever Shows: Strike Up the Band project at the New Museum in collaboration with Massimiliano Gioni and RoseLee Goldberg with the participation of musicians and artists, including Kim Gordon, Oliver Augst, Frances Stark, Young Kim, Marcel Dzama, Juli Susin, Veronique Bourgoin among many other artists.
The establishment of Greece in USA…
Founder of Greece in USA! We would love to know as much as possible about the organization
‘ GREECE IN USA ‘is a non-profit organization of global scope, which promotes the knowledge of contemporary and ancient Greek culture abroad and promotes international cultural cooperation and social participation. The platform focuses on the dissemination of innovative and unique programs in the field of art and education, exploring the evolving diversity and richness of Greek culture, seeks to create and provoke new (original) thinking about the arts and to promote intercultural dialogue through and “new” expression platforms. It focuses on a number of cultural activities, including the development and support of creative, academic research with an emphasis on cultural policy and the extroversion of Greek culture. As well,
“I look at the Greek paradigm as I believe that ‘emerging’ art markets, like the Greek, can pave the way for saturated markets like the American market that is eager to find and deplete new territories like the African-American market. The injustices of the past cannot be resolved in one day, especially if the new narratives are recited again by the dominant voices of the West. “
The Organization presents Greek-American and Greek contemporary productions focusing on the visual arts, the performing arts (theater), experimental cinema, cinema, new media, architecture and dance. The organization develops productions that meet the needs of spaces (site-specific) and new and intermediate media (new media & intermedia). 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 in progress. of interest to the organization.
What are the criteria for selecting the participating artists…?
‘ GREECE IN USA ‘ commissions and produces projects that build long-term partnerships with leading institutions and individuals who are actively associated with Greece. In this context, the inaugural exhibition entitled “The Right to Silence?” (The Right to Silence?) (More information at the link: https://shivagallery.org/featured_item/the-right-to-silence/It raises issues of criminal justice and is based on research and two parallel streams that deal with different political geographical and political contexts, focusing on Greece and Cyprus. We make sure that the artists are selected based on their biography, their essential work and especially in relation to the topics that are presented each time. We are always open to suggestions and artists can contact and receive an immediate response at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your vision for the future of Greece in USA
‘ GREECE IN USA ‘ aims at cooperation and build long-term partnerships with leading institutions and individuals actively engaged in Greece and its culture and to convey a comprehensive representation of Greece and Cyprus with the production of cultural and educational programs that encourage intercultural dialogue and allow for cultural participation. The main objectives are:
· To shape and envision the image of modern Greece in the United States beyond existing stereotypes
· To support the inspired cultural practices of Greece, welcoming and cultivating new ideas and influences
· To present the modern Greek culture
· To promote Greek cultural research and culture in the American educational system
· The development of a transatlantic network for the exchange of cultures and ideas
· Enhancing the development of structures in cultural policy and promoting global mobility.
Technology and the Internet are changing the perception and perception we “had” of art and its production. “Either with crypto art or with online art, the example is changing in America and consequently it will change in Greece as well, but at a different time.”
What do people love to see in New York art galleries?
I recently visited Goya’s exhibition “Goya’s Graphic Imagination” at The Met (New York Metropolitan Museum of Art). The historical exhibitions that I have attended during the pandemic demonstrate the need of the public for substantial contact with the work of art against the social distancing of our times. Goya is famous for his productive activity, producing about nine hundred designs during his long career. Through his designs he expressed his political liberalism, his critique of superstition and his sense of spiritual oppression in unique and fascinating ways. His work is as relevant as any artist who manages to capture her / his time.
How do Greek artists “dare”…
Are Greek artists pioneers? They “dare” the different, what is your opinion?
The Greek art scene, like Greece itself, is unpredictable, fascinating and often unruly. I believe that recently, it has developed into a more international scene due to the wider interest of the international public for Athens. This is partly a result of the economic and social crisis, and of the artistic initiatives of younger, local and international artists and curators who understand the importance of experimentation and are not afraid to fail. This approach caused a cultural shift from the importance of galleries in the 1990s to the promotion of non-profit art initiatives. I look at the Greek paradigm as I believe that “developing” art markets, such as the Greeks, they can show the way to saturated markets like the US market looking forward to finding and exhausting new territories like the African-American market. The injustices of the past cannot be solved in one day especially if the new narratives are recited again by the dominant voices of the West.
Are there any new trends in art that are currently flourishing in America and that we have not yet seen in Greece?
During the pandemic, the view of the Internet became even more prevalent, and that it did not change the perception of art, but art itself as a whole. I think a paradigm shift is taking place and I could even agree that technology and the Internet are changing the perception we “had” of art and its production. Either with crypto art or with online art the example is changing in America and consequently it will change in Greece but at a different time. The big American galleries or auction houses, as we saw with Christies and Beeple, will end up controlling these markets through their selective processes, however, at the same time there is democratization and we cannot predict the impact it will have on art production.
What are your future plans?
Our future plans include the presentation of the work of ASKT professor Nikos Charalambidis and the NERO project that focuses on the prehistoric findings of Aphrodite. Identical female figurines found in different parts of Europe mark a primordial comment on racial discrimination. The fact that these statuettes have so many characteristics, while they were found in different areas but do not belong to the same era, is a mystery to the artist even today. It does, however, demonstrate a distinctly democratized and equal conception of women. At the same time, we are organizing the second part of the exhibition that focuses on human rights and social justice with the participation of artists: Chloe Akrithaki, Antonakis Christodoulou, Christos Athanasiadis, Nana Varveropoulou, Alexis Vasilikos, Eugenia Vereli, Vassilis Vlastaras, Maria Georgoula, Nella Golanta, Kyriaki Goni, Eleni Glinou, Lydia Damparos Zaroupas Lilia Ziamou, Dimitris Zouroudis, Lakis & Aris Ionas, Lizi Kalliga, Eleni Kamma, Athanasios Kanakis, Irini Karagiannopoulou, Ismini Karyotaki, Elias Kafouros, Elias Cohen, Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Aspasia Kouzoulagi, Aspasia Kouzoulaki, Giolanta Markopoulou, Despina Meimaroglou, Maro Michalakakos, Phryni Mouzakitou, Manolis Babousis, Rania Bellou, Emmanouil Bitsakis, Angeliki Bozou, Eleni Mylona, Margarita Myrogianni, Vassilis NestoraCostas Tzimoulis ( VASKOS), Dora Oikonomou, Maria Papadimitriou, Malvina Panagiotidi, Maria Papadimitriou, Evripidis Papadopetrakis, Nikos Papadopoulos, Natassa Papadopoulou, Elias Papailiakis, Elli Papakonstantinou, Tereza Papamichali, Papiloucha Empilia Papiphali, Aimilia Papipaila Georgia Sagri, Ismini Samanidou, George Sampsonidis, Katerina Sarra, Nana Sachini, Christina Sgouromyti, Vouvoula Skoura, Erika Skourti, Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Danai Stratou, Vassilia Stylianidou, Alexi Tillis, Alexis , Zoi Chounta, Dionysis Christofilogiannakis (Christofylakis?), Mandalina Psoma, Elaine Angelopoulos , Athanasios Argianas & Rowena Hughes , Yota Argyropoulou / Michalis Konstantatos ( blindspot theater group ), Rafika Chawishe , Mat Chivers , Seeva Dawne , Delia Gonzalez , James Lane , John Newsom , Duke Riley , Martin Sexton.