Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Morning Walk: Street Art and Graffiti in Athens

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have excursions within the city of Athens, in contrast to our Friday trips to various parts of Attica.

Regular Members climb the hillside at ancient Koroni on last week's Friday Trip.

Most of our Tuesday/Thursday events start out in the ancient center of the city, either on the Acropolis, at the Agora, or at the Kerameikos. We tend to meet at these locations at 9am, and there are two options for getting there: 1) walk 2) take the Metro. I have been avoiding the Metro, in an effort to maintain at least a minimal amount of exercise.

When I go to the Acropolis, I tend to wander around the south side through the Plaka. I do this in order to avoid the horrible hill on the north side, which must be climbed on your way past the Agora. Now, granted, there is a big hill to climb on the south side as well, but I don’t think it is quite as big. Maybe it is – I’m thinking it’s purely psychological, but I don’t care.

Approaching the south slope of the Acropolis, in the vicinity of the Theatre of Dionysos, where all those famous Greek playwrights put on their ancient tragedies and comedies.

Getting to the Agora requires following the north side of the Acropolis, along Ermou St.

Regular Members, this past Tuesday. Any group of more than three people attracts escorts of dogs.

And then there is the street art, always interesting for how it shapes urban space.

‘Love me madly’ by Alexandros Vasmoulakis, October 2005. For a long time, I thought this was a three-story high picture of a man looking up a girl’s skirt.

But then I checked online and realized that originally it was a guy giving a flower to his sweetheart. Funny how the elements have completely changed the artist's original vision, into something that can be interpreted as creepy rather than romantic. Check out the artist’s work here; his site is

The Athenian Agora. Visible in the foreground are the blocks of the Royal Stoa, where the King Archon of Athens went about his business, indicting Socrates and other such fun things.

Behind the stoa, you can see the work of Pete, one of the most prolific street artists in the city. Dimitris Plantzos calls him "Athens’ dark prince." His work is here modeled by John Camp, Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations.

Since I received so much positive feed back on my original Athens graffiti art post, I thought I would post some links for those interested in following up on it. My post can be considered part of a growing upsurge in grafitti art interest among Classicists working in Athens. In fact, there is a dialogue going on in the Classics Blogosphere about what Kostis Kourelis has called 'Punk Archaeology.' The back and forth between Bill Caraher and Kourelis has turned into a blog called, you guessed it, Punk Archaeology.

The Flickr collection of Athens street art, here.
Artastica's blog 'Street Culture - Athens.'
Flickr page of Pete's work, here.
Gregos and Goldstein's book, Athens Street Art.
SpirosK's Flickr collection, 'Street Art in Greece.'
Zofka's photoblog about Athens, 'Street art.'

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