Critics’ Picks

View of “Bibelot,” 2016.



Hydra School Projects
Palio Gymnasio 181 Lignou street
June 24–September 25

The annual summer group show here always offers a considered and nonhierarchical interweaving of historical and contemporary art works. This year’s offering, “Bibelot,” meaning a treasured ornament, is no different. An eclectic array of artists and pieces are presented, such as a carved boar’s skull and four shell necklaces created by cannibal tribes in Borneo and Tanzania, respectively. The exhibition opens with Goshka Macuga’s Boy, 2007—a tree hung upside down with shoes attached to the bottom of two branches—paired with two nineteenth-century wooden chairs from Crete. In another room, Daniel Subkoff’s ongoing “Hanging Out” series is represented by works commissioned for this show, including Lunar Harmonics, 2016, consisting of four unprimed canvases with cutouts to hold stones and minerals, some of which were found on Hydra. The piece feels like an homage to Hydra, an island that has influenced many, including Martin Kippenberger, whose work here is an ashtray made from a laminated book cast in resin.

Object, artifact, and decoration become so enmeshed that boundaries begin to melt, such as in one 1974 painting by Vassiliki Pikoula, a naive painter who was hired as a cook in art dealer Darthea Speyer’s Hydra vacation home in the 1960s. It features Darthea Speyer and James Speyer dressed in Parisian style and holding champagne floats but rendered in a quintessentially folk manner. The painting is visible in the mirror of Mattia Bonetti’s desk, Ballerina, 1989–90, that opens up to reveal compartments in which objects by Meret Oppenheim sit with Chloe Wise’s Monogamy, 2015–16, two plastic glasses filled with fake seafood pasta. In this encounter, history’s treasures stand in proximity not only to those of the present but also to objects from the historical—and cultural—margins.