[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Workshop: November 14, 2014

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Fri Nov 7 09:11:47 PST 2014


Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Art Works, Stories, Objects, Relations:
Recollecting the 'Myth' of Alexander Iolas

Eva Fotiadi

sfotiadi at princeton.edu<mailto:sfotiadi at princeton.edu>

Free University Berlin

Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent:  Effie Rentzou, French and Italian

In twentieth century Western art history the Alexandrine Greek art dealer and collector Alexander Iolas remains a forgotten and marginal figure. His life stories and professional career were linked to the acceptance of European surrealists in American collections, to the Surrealist group show 'Bloodflames' designed by Frederick Kiesler and presented by Nicolas Calas in 1947, to the presentation of the first (1952) and last (1987) solo shows of Andy Warhol, and to the promotion of young pop artists in New York and Europe. Iolas advised important collectors such as Dominique and Jean de Menil. In the late 1970s he settled in Greece, bringing his own collection of artworks and artifacts dating from ancient to modern times. However,  in 1984 a scandal emerged in the yellow press, due to allegations of illegal trade in antiquities, but very much also due to his open homosexuality and flamboyant lifestyle. Research on the collector Alexander Iolas and his art collection has an inevitable departure point: since 1987, when Iolas passed away, the last remains of his collection were dispersed under unclear circumstances and no archive was found.  One must rely almost exclusively on written, oral and visual narrations about the collector and his collection. Narrations include mainly interviews with people who knew and/or collaborated with him, interviews with Iolas himself, his biography by Nikos Stathoulis, as well as press clippings and television shows. Given the general absence of any physical or archival materials from Iolas' possessions and following Susan Pearce's analysis of collecting, it will be proposed that by studying the content of the available narrations about the collector and his collection, one can discern the social, cultural, financial, and political factors that determined the symbolic and material significance of the collection, and probably also its disappearance.

Eva Fotiadi is an art historian and currently postdoctoral fellow in Theater Studies at Free University Berlin. She studied archaeology and art history at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and continued with an M.A. in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam in 2009 with a dissertation on participatory, process-based art practices in public space. Between 2009-2014 she was lecturer in contemporary art and theory at the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Her research interests focus on art since the 1960s and especially on ephemeral, performative and collective or participatory forms of art, hybrid practices between art and other fields, the relation between art, politics and the public sphere.

Friday, November 14, 2014

1:30 p.m.

Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

Supported by Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

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