The Art of the Metropolis

A group show of contemporary artists at Dio Horia in Mykonos, Greece, draws a connection between classical Greek cities and modern Manhattan.

A work by Assume Vivid Astro Focus that is part of "Greek Gotham" at Dio Horia. (Photo: AVAF/Courtesy Dio Horia)

Three hours by ferry from Athens, Greece, the island of Mykonos avoids much classical mention (among college-age crowds, it’s better known for more recreational pursuits), but there is a droplet here and there. The Mykonos vase, discovered in 1961, offers the first depiction of the Trojan Horse, and some scholars think it was home to Odysseus’s Laestrygonians, a race of vicious, ravenous cannibals. Sounds a little like New York, doesn’t it? This similarity and other, less bloodthirsty ones, like democracy, are some of the many themes that connect the two civilizations. Opening in late July, “Greek Gotham,” a group show at Marina Vranopoulos’s gallery Dio Horia on Mykonos, explores these parallels. The show spreads 15 New York artists and 45 artworks throughout three floors and rooftop terraces. Embracing a strain of goofy, internet-influenced work that seems to be an heir of 1980s neo-pop, the roster includes Austin Lee, Robert Lazzarini, Nir Hod, and the Brazilian collective Assume Vivid Astro Focus, which will bedeck the roof with the kind of 17-foot inflatable dolls that one might see outside a used car dealership. (In a catalogue essay, Jeffrey Deitch praises Dakis Joannou’s DESTE Foundation, where Vranopoulos worked for 10 years, for bringing artists to Athens: “Could the Oracle [at Delphi] have predicted the tremendous impact of the artistic interchange that began with this trip?”) The curator and interior designer Maria Brito, who organized the show, was less concerned with direct analogies between New York and Greece. “You have to have a very fertile and conducive environment to be able to build what the Greeks built. It’s the same thing with New York. If we didn’t have 900 galleries and 75 institutions and non-profits, and the generosity of collectors and philanthropists, then we wouldn’t be the capital of the art world.”

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