From Dispersion to Destiny: Launching Liquid Antiquity

I hope you have all been enjoying your Apuleian holiday – it has definitely been a refreshing sojourn for me. While we were busy following that ass Lucius (@donkey30123?) and his exploits, there has been an opening and book launch in Athens that is right up Minus Plato‘s alley. The project is called Liquid Antiquity conceived by my friend and fellow Classicist Brooke Holmes and comprises a book published by the DESTE Foundation and co-edited by Brooke and Karen Marta, as well as a video installation at the Benaki Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. In the spirit of my own contribution to the project – a somewhat vatic essay called ‘Mythmaking’, mysteriously illustrated by David Bailey’s photograph for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup album cover – this post celebrates Liquid Antiquity via its online dispersion through press releases, Instagram posts and other (random?) websites. So, if, like me, you were unable to experience the launch of Liquid Antiquity in Athens, you can do so now from the comfort of your own laptop.

Liquid Antiquity is a project that explores the possibility of reinventing classicism and argues for its enduring influence on contemporary art.

Conceived by Brooke Holmes, Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at Princeton University, in collaboration with Polina Kosmadaki, curator at the Benaki Museum, and Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, artistic advisor to the DESTE Foundation, the project includes a book with critical contributions by renowned scholars and conversations with prominent artists, as well as a site-specific video installation of artist interviews, conceived and designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Bringing together artists, classicists, critics, historians, political theorists, and philosophers, the book, edited by Holmes and Karen Marta, is a critical reflection on the fluid and open-ended relationship between antiquity and contemporary art.

Liquid Antiquity is made up of two interweaving strands: a visual essay spanning more than twenty-five hundred years of art history, set in an open-ended dialogue with a series of critical texts by twenty seven scholars, and interviews with ten contemporary artists.

A site-specific video installation, Liquid Antiquity: Conversations, conceived and designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, places six conversations with Holmes and artists Matthew Barney, Paul Chan, Urs Fischer, Jeff Koons, Asad Raza, and Kaari Upson, in dialogue with the Benaki Museum’s permanent collection of antiquities.

The installation will be on view at the Benaki Museum, Athens, from April 4 through September 17, 2017

Liquid Antiquity is neither an academic textbook nor an art book, but a unique platform that explores the intersection between contemporary art and antiquity in a fluid stream of images, ideas, and voices.

An experiment challenging our petrifying idea of classicism, this publication radically breaks the traditional notion of temporality with a visual essay spanning more than twenty-five hundred years of art history that is set in an open-ended dialogue with a series of critical texts, and interviews with contemporary artists.

Liquid Antiquity explores the possibility of reinventing classicism and argues for its enduring influence on contemporary art.

Liquid Antiquity includes: a critical essay by Brooke Holmes, investigating the concept of “liquid antiquity”; a series of 27 lexemes that critically rethink the traditional language of classicism, written by prominent critics and scholars (Lucia Allais, Emanuela Bianchi, Joshua Billings, Joy Connolly, Page duBois, Jaś Elsner, Richard Fletcher, Devin Fore, Hal Foster, Simon Goldhill, Constanze Güthenke, Yannis Hamilakis, Polina Kosmadaki, Miriam Leonard, Glenn W. Most, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Spyros Papapetros, Mark Payne, James I. Porter, Effie Rentzou, Rebekah Rutkoff, Giulia Sissa, Michael Squire, Maria Stavrinaki, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, Phiroze Vasunia, and Christopher S. Wood.); and ten interviews with contemporary artists (Matthew Barney, Paul Chan, Haris Epaminonda, Urs Fischer, Jeff Koons, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Charles Ray, Asad Raza, Kaari Upson, and Adrián Villar Rojas.)

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