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Culture

Onassis USA Commissions Artists to Create New Works in Free Online Series

NEW YORK – Onassis USA on April 24 announced ENTER, a series of new works commissioned from artists in various parts of the world, created in their homes in 120 hours or less and drawing on experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic and its many transformations of life as we know it. With this free series, artists across generations, genres, and continents invite viewers to enter the mental and physical spaces these works inhabit, to press ENTER on a new mode of connection.

This series of original works—created in the conditions of the “here and now”—surpass these limitations, as ENTER explores new ways of bringing audiences into contact with art and artists. ENTER launched on April 24, and can be viewed on onassis.org/enter the Onassis Foundation’s YouTube channel.

From Athens to Berlin, the Vardousia Mountain to Beirut, Cephalonia’s Karantinata to London and Tokyo, Greece and around the world, for participating artists in this moment, houses, apartments, gardens, roof-terraces and balconies become new site-specific stages. Children, partners, grandparents, roommates, even pets become characters; the ability to use one’s laptop becomes a creative superpower.

Among the first round of artists to welcome viewers into their homes in the U.S. are OBIE award-winning theater-making duo 600 HIGHWAYMEN (Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone), who have created the fictional narrative short film Fighting World, using images captured from Upstate New York between April 9 and 14; Maria Antelman, with the video work AntiBody, which captures the emotional dimension of the pandemic’s restriction on movement and offers a form of physical and psychological resistance; choreographer, performer, educator, and 2019 Guggenheim Fellow Kimberly Bartosik, in collaboration with her husband, lighting designer Roderick Murray and their daughter Dahlia Bartosik-Murray, with The Game, sharing a game of absurd exchange they created after a month in quarantine, and inviting others to videotape themselves playing it.

International artists contributing in the first round of releases include playwright and screenwriter Efthimis Filippou (nominated for Oscar Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos) and theater director Dimitris Karantzas.

U.S.-based artists creating works for a second round of ENTER releases include acclaimed Independent Spirit Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress and writer Isabella Rossellini and Flying Karamazov Brothers member Paul Magid, continuing in the vein of Rossellini’s series of works at the intersection of (animal) science and art (following Green Porno and, more recently, Link Link Circus); Kathryn Hamilton (Sister Sylvester); Emily Johnson; Risa Puno; Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers; and Stefanos Tsivopoulos. Internationally, Elias Adam, Ziad Antar , Simos Kakalas, Kareem Kalokoh – ATH Kids, Evi Kalogiropoulou, Vasilis Kekatos, Lena Kitsopoulou, and Maria Papadimitriou,

RootlessRoot, Kostis Stafylakis & Theo Triantafyllidis & Alexis Fidetzis, Andonis Foniadakis (with a work scored by Active Child), Akira Takayama, Daniel Wetzel, and others are sharing new work in the second series of releases. More works from other participating artists in the U.S. and abroad will follow. Each artist, but ultimately all together, will create work that beams from their homes to viewers’ own spaces, bridging the distances between all of us through art.

Vallejo Gantner, Artistic and Executive Director of Onassis USA, said, “The space created, filled, and tragically sometimes taken away by COVID-19, has challenged how we experience and make new art. This strange combination of isolation and constant reaching out; of new ways of listening and talking; and of touching and being touched; have inspired us to create a new commissioning program called ENTER which we hope will be in part a kind of artistic time capsule, refracting the frustration, grief, comedy, and fear of this moment of pandemic.”

He added, “We hope this is just round one of many micro-commissions—all native to quarantine, digital delivery, and social distance. With these works, we champion and support the artists who we believe will articulate our future, and enable them to stride forward in new forms. These artists (and their families, pets, and homes!) represent a diverse array of ideas, genres, disciplines and histories—both familiar and new to the Onassis Foundation. Each has been made under severe time constraints with only the materials they had at hand. That is to say, we love their ambition and blemishes equally.”

Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture of the Onassis Foundation, said, “We needed something to breathe differently. To see and live through an experience proving that the mind does not stop giving birth to ideas when you enclose it, out of necessity, in the four walls of a house; that imagination does not stop, when we are surrounded by fear of what is happening, by the agony of what may come to pass. We turned towards the people who transport us to other worlds; to those who, with their art, enrich our lives. The artists. This group of people who tend to our soul and move our thought. How does a dancer dance in his kitchen? How many images capture the eyes of a director, when he spends most of his time on his couch? Is the entire house a scene? We enter in order to see. As guests. You too. ENTER.”

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