PHYLLIS ODESSEY

don’t get emotional

Maybe not overwrought or hysterical, but still affecting, thrilling and stirring.  I am talking about the show at the  Onassis Cultural Center, A World of Emotions (Ancient Greece 700 BC – 200 AD). In conjunction with the show, The Center organized a conversation series between an eclectic group of guests from poets and writers to actors and art critics to classicists and scientists – “who will wander through the exhibition and engage in insightful conversations inspired by the artifacts.”  I attended the last of the Let’s Walk series with Simon Critchley and Michael Bierut on May 25th.

The conversation between Beirut and Critchley took an interesting turn.  Instead of talking about the art in the show, graphic designer and  philosopher did not feel the emotional content of these pieces.  Instead they likened the line drawings on the vases to the line drawing on the cover of Revolver.

This fresco represents the story from the Trojan War cycle. Agamemmon must sacrifice his beloved daughter, Iphigeneia, to placate the gods or his stalled armada will not be able to sail to attack Troy.

The question:  What do we see in this fresco today… is this simply decoration?  Is it like wallpaper to us… perfect for sipping a glass of wine and talking about other things? Is the World of Emotions just one big instagram? or are these images like emojis?

I don’t know what could more affecting than this funerary stele for a a lovable pig, victim of a traffic accident from Edessa, second century AD:  “Here lies “the Pig” beloved by all… This was one of my favorite pieces in show… it did conveyed a world of emotions to me.

Onassis Foundation
A World of Emotions
Ancient Greece
700 BC – 200 AD
March 9 – June 24, 2017

 

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