FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAJOR DIPTYCH PAINTING BY CONTEMPORARY ARTIST JANNIS VARELAS, COMMISSIONED BY THE ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTER NEW YORK, TO BE UNVEILED MARCH 9 IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE EXHIBITION A WORLD OF EMOTIONS: ANCIENT GREECE, 700 BC – 200 AD
NEW YORK, NY, February 16, 2017 — Contributing another dimension to its spring season dedicated to the theme of emotions—how they have been represented or disguised, analyzed or repressed, in ancient and modern times and in private and public life—the Onassis Cultural Center New York has commissioned a large-scale diptych painting on the theme from the Greek-born contemporary artist Jannis Varelas. Titled Black Frames, the work in mixed media on canvas will be unveiled to the public on March 9 on The Art Wall of Olympic Tower Atrium, 645 Fifth Avenue, where the Onassis Cultural Center New York has its home.
The Onassis Cultural Center New York has commissioned the work as a contemporary counterpoint to its major exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD, on view March 9 through June 24, 2017.
The Art Wall in the public atrium of Olympic Tower is the installation site of large-scale artworks regularly commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Center New York in conjunction with the themes of its exhibitions and programs. Previous installations on The Art Wall have included the video My Half of the Sky, My Half of the Earth by Maria Zervos (2016) and the sculptural tapestry Repoussoir for a New Perspective by Alexandra Kehayoglou (2016).
Amalia Cosmetatou, Executive Director and Cultural Director of the Onassis Foundation USA, said, “One of our goals this spring is to prompt questions about the role of emotions as a force in history - whether in the ancient world, which can seem both strangely familiar and strikingly different to us, or in our society today. It is in this context that we have commissioned this ambitious work by Jannis Varelas. In its evocations of emotional experience, and its allusions to philosophical and poetic reflections on the emotions, Black Frames offers a fascinating contrast to the ancient masterworks on view in our gallery exhibition, A World of Emotions.”
In developing Black Frames, Varelas drew inspiration from a line in Plato’s Alcibiades questioning how the soul can know itself, and from the “Argonauts” section of George Seferis’s Mythistorema (1935), with its voyager who has seen “the stranger and enemy” in the mirror. On the basis of these sources, Varelas has created a two-part painting, at once representational and expressively abstract, that explores the complex, emotional interplay between self-knowledge and social roles.
About Jannis Varelas
Jannis Varelas (b. 1977) lives and works in Athens, Vienna, and Los Angeles. He received his BA from the Athens School of Fine Arts and his MFA in 2006 from the Royal College of Art, London. His work has been shown in institutions including the DESTE Foundation, Athens; New Benaki Museum, Athens; the First Athens Biennial; Prospect 1, the first international art biennial in New Orleans; the Cairo Biennial; the New Museum, New York; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunsthalle Wien; and the Saatchi Gallery, London. Selected solo exhibitions include New Flags for a New Country/Destroying Elvis, Onassis Cultural Center, Athens; Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; The Oblong Box, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens; Brandybell Series, Autocenter, Berlin; and solo shows at The Breeder, Athens, which represents the artist.
Beginning March 9, Jannis Varelas’s Black Frames will be on view without charge during all public hours in the Olympic Tower Atrium, 645 Fifth Avenue, at 51st Street, Monday to Sunday, 8 am to 10 pm.
About A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD
The Onassis Cultural Center New York’s major exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD will also go on view to the public on March 9. Bringing the classical world to vivid life, and posing challenging questions about the role of emotions in today’s society, the exhibition of more than 130 masterpieces from leading museums around the world will remain on view through June 24, 2017 in the gallery of the Onassis Cultural Center New York. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with extended hours on Thursdays until 9:00 pm. The exhibition will also be open to the public during the once-monthly Family Sundays at Onassis. Admission to the Onassis Cultural Center New York’s exhibitions and all public programs is always free.
About the ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTER NEW YORK
The Onassis Cultural Center New York explores Greek culture from antiquity to today, through a diverse program of exhibitions, events, and online engagement for audiences of all ages and interests. All programs and exhibitions—from scholarly to those designed for families, novices, and experts—are presented free of charge to make the experience accessible to all.
About the ONASSIS FOUNDATION USA
The Onassis Foundation USA, an affiliate of the parent Foundation in Greece, is committed to the promotion of Greek culture. By cooperating with educational and cultural institutions in Greece and throughout the Americas, the Onassis Foundation USA promotes cultural relations. The mission of the Onassis Foundation USA is realized through two major initiatives, one cultural and educational for the general public through its Onassis Cultural Center New York, and one academic, the University Seminars Program, that places eminent scholars from all over the world in universities in North and Latin America for courses on topics related to Hellenic civilization. To learn more about the Foundation and the Onassis Cultural Center New York, please visit: www.onassisusa.org.
Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors
Onassis Cultural Center New York
Eleanor Goldhar / Maria Galanou
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