The blue cultural germ of the Aegean - Exclusive Interview with the Director of the MOCA, Dr. Kiriakos Koutsomallis
EBR's 'Extrait de Culture' winds up the cultural wealth of an island museum of great admiration in Andros. MOCA transports you to the culture, history and knowledge of the art through the pure efforts towards the love of arts.
Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, was founded in 1979. Apart from the work of the Andriot sculptor M. Tombros, which constitutes the nucleus of the collection, the Museum includes works of the most important Greek artists. Alongside the Greek collection, which is being constantly enriched, a collection of works by great foreign artists is being put together. In July 1986, the new wing of the Museum was inaugurated, where, to date, international exhibitions of works of Picasso, Kypka, Matisse, Kandinsky, Balthus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Paul Klee have been held, as well as exhibitions of works by the well-known Greek artists Bouzianis and Galanis and also, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Athens, K. N. Karagatsis, N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, D. Mytaras, A. Fassianos, G. Gaitis, and O. Zouni.The yearly exhibitions of the museum are a must visit attraction on this blue island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Dr. Kiriakos Koutsomallis responds vividly to EBR's questionnaire and reminds that art needs to be tender and passionate. An interview that erases our imagination and craving to visit Andros and MOCA, an experience of a lifetime.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros has many permanent exhibitions of a great success. “Approaching surrealism”- one of the most popular past exhibitions - was my first thought over that, could you please specify a few points about the criteria of choosing collections and exhibits and what factors make some of them to be some remarkable?
K.K.: The Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros has a long list of remarkable exhibitions, from our beginning in 1986, exhibiting great artists, such as: Henri Matisse, Wasilly Kandinsky, Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, Paul Klee, Giorgio De Chirico, Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Henry Moore, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Joan Miro, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Andre Masson, Paul Delvaux, Isamu Noguchi, Man Ray, and others of great note.
The Museum aims towards either presenting artists that are not easily accessible to the people of Greece without having them to travel abroad or to bring a new viewing in artists already known.
How has your love for art been originated?
K.K.: We are on a journey commenced by Basil and Elise Goulandris, the Founders of the “Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation”. They were art lovers and collectors. Their prime directive was to bring the world of art closer to the Greek audience through their Museums. Following their passing, the Board of Trustees, consistently continue their vision, and stay true to their ethos.
EBR: How can the separate units of thematic areas into the museum influence the visitors’ preferences? For example, there are some exhibitions or collections more popular than others, how do you handle it?
K.K.: All temporary exhibitions are carefully selected and hold their ground as an important artistic event.
There is a relatively stable number of visitors each year which shows trust in our choices. If I had to mention specifics, on the whole there have been a stable number of visitors across all of our exhibitions, but an increased influx has been noted for the more widely known artists.
What is worth visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros for the current period?
K.K.: Artworks from the permanent collection of the Museum, by Greek and foreign artists are on display, until the end of May. On the 1st of July 2018, an exhibition dedicated to the recently departed Greek painter Dimitris Mytaras shall be inaugurated.
Apart from the above, the Museum is situated in a picturesque location next to the sea. Our visitors have stated that this is another reason for visiting our museum in Andros.
What are the future goals for Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros? Furthermore, could you please, inform us about the new opening of MOCA chatter in Athens?
K.K.: The Museum in Andros shall continue to present important exhibitions with an emphasis in contemporary Greek artists. Simultaneously the new Goulandris Museum in Athens is about to open its doors, hosting the Basil and Elise Goulandris collection which shall exhibit works by Greek and foreign artists. Some indicative names are those of: Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Joan Miro, Alberto Giacometti, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, to mention a few.
Apart from the permanent collection, the Museum will also host temporary exhibitions as well as educational programs, lectures, presentations and numerous other events in the state-of-the-art areas, specifically designed for these purposes.
How can visitors be more updated on Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros news?
K.K.: We make sure that each year we communicate our events via press releases, advertisement in magazines (which are available on the mainland), television spots, radio advertisements, and via the social media, our website as well as posters and leaflets which are also available in shops and hotels of the island. We have significant third-party exposure from media coverage and articles.
Under which efforts and funds can large exhibitions be developed?
K.K.: All exhibitions are realized via our own financing.
Do you have many activities for kids? Could you make us a brief description?
K.K.: Every August we have specially designed children's programs which are interactive and motivational. These are always connected with the artist been exhibited.
EBR: Financial crisis has also a great influence on the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros affairs?
K.K.: All facets of Greek life have been adversely affected by the global crisis. Andros is no exception.
Which are the reasons for someone to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros?
K.K.: We believe that this has already been answered from the above responses.
What is the promotion of the museum abroad?
K.K.: The power of social media knows no borders. Our museums have been visited by almost all nationalities of this world.
How could museums consist the tool-box of the promotion targeting in cultural tourism for Greece?
K.K.: As a private foundation, we undertake all our exhibitions utilizing our own means. All of our events has attracted significant international attention. We have no hard statistics to supply, but the proof of this lies with the international visitors to our museums.
In addition, our interactions and lending programs with other museums based in Europe and the United States of America attest to this.
Is there a European culture, in your opinion?
European artists have directly transformed the European culture. This has been ongoing for centuries, spanning from the foundations of Europe till today.
*Editor-at-large & PhD candidate of European & International Relations