Art History [Istoria tis Technis] journal


Contemporary Art and Decadence: Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle

Nina Papazoglou

This paper is about the artwork CREMASTER cycle (1994- 2002) by the American artist Matthew Barney (b. 1967), a postmodern creative project which proposes operatic structure and epic bombast as a methodology for creating contemporary art. The project is examined in relation to the social, economic and cultural conditions that led to its highly expensive production, its seductive and enigmatic aesthetics, as well as in its success within the systemic order of contemporary art. In relation to these conditions we will also examine the characteristics of this project that suggest its historical correlation with the European artistic movement of La Decadence from the late 19th century.

Nina Papazoglou holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her doctoral dissertation, titled Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle and the Ordeal of Value, describes and analyzes a paradigm of systemic establishment of cultural, economic and historical value in contemporary art of the 1990s. [nina.pz@gmail.com]


The Paradox of Progressive Conservatism: The Sculptor Yannis Pappas as Head of the Athens School of Fine Arts

Christina Dimakopoulou

In 1959 Yannis Pappas was for the first time elected as Director of the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA), thus undertaking a project that was first introduced by his predecessor Kefallinos. This project originally aimed to reinforce ASFA’s educational role through the establishment of a number of applied arts workshops. Before long, this inherited duty, to which Pappas committed almost involuntarily in 1959, turned through his successive reelections into an ambitious, decade-long reform plan/program which aspired to further expand and promote ASFA’s institutional role on both a national and an international level. The present paper uses material from the ASFA Historical Archive Collection in order to investigate the multilevel institutional activity that the school developed in the years between 1959 and 1969 as a result of Pappas’s reformative vision.

Christina Dimakopoulou is a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Her research interests focus on the history of arts education and its relationship with twentieth-century modern Greek art. [chrisdimak@gmail.com]


The View from Derelict Rooftops: Demetrios Anastassatos’s Conservative Aesthetics

Yannis Hadjinicolaou

Drawing material from the personal archive of Demetros Anastasatos, which was found in a Berlin flea market in 2010, this paper attempts to spotlight this virtually unknown artist, who left Romania in 1943 for National Socialist Germany on a music scholarship. Subsequently Anastasatos became a student of the German sculptor Georg Kolbe in Berlin. After the war, the artist was patronized by West Berlin’s conservative political circles, receiving as a result a large number of commissions for public sculptures. His artistic career, however, never took off. Aside from his own name, the artist’s Greek origins are not supported by any documents, with the exception of a short biography he wrote about himself, at 89 years of age, in the hopes that it would help him get a higher pension. In it, he makes a few references to his stance towards the Greek military junta and his ideological beliefs.

Yannis Hadjinicolaou is a postdoctoral research associate, working on the project “Symbolic Articulation. Image and Language between Schema and Action” at the Department of Art History, Humboldt University in Berlin. Ηis doctoral dissertation (Denkende Körper – Formende Hände. “Handeling“ in Kunst und Kunsttheorie der Rembrandtisten) which was presented to the Freie Universität Berlin in 2014, has just been published by the Walter de Gruyter Publishing House. [hadjinig@cms.hu-berlin.de]


Constructing Neohellenic Ecclesiastical Art: The Theorem of “Improved Byzantine Painting”

Nikolaos Graikos

After the establishment of the independent Greek State in 1830, the so-called “improved Byzantine painting” was the most elaborate “representational theorem”, which was formulated by literati and artists of that period, and aimed at “correcting” the Byzantine models on the basis of academic European examples. However, the attempt of the “improved Byzantine painting” to construct the Neohellenic ecclesiastical art was not successful both artistically and theoretically. This paper attempts to analyze the causes of this failure, proposing a new reading of the basic principles of the “theorem”, as well as of the possible contributions to both the genesis of art discourse in Greece and the modernization of ecclesiastical painting.

Nikolaos Graikos holds a PhD from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has recently published a monograph (co-authored with G. Fousteris), titled Evlaveias and Oraiotitos Charin. Ekklisiastiki Techni tis Kymis [For the sake of reverence and beauty. The Ecclesiastical Art of Kymi] (Athens, Kymi Educational and Cultural Society, 2013), which received the Academy of Athens Prize in 2014. [graikos@otenet.gr]



A Neglected Tradition? Art History as Bildwissenschaft

Horst Bredekamp

First published in Critical Inquiry, 29, (3), Spring 2003, pp. 418-428. Translated into Greek by Ilia Mottaki.

Horst Bredekamp is a Professor of Art History at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte (IKB), Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.