Modern Myths, More Than Ever

Upstate Art Weekend, beginning Friday, July 21, through Monday, July 24, returns for its fourth year of connecting over 130 participating galleries, museums, and art centers across New York State, from the Hudson Valley and beyond. Artistic cultural centers charted on the weekend’s map include The Wassaic Project in the hamlet of Wassaic, N.Y., which will feature open studio visits with its artists-in-residence and artist talks at Maxon Mills and the Luther Barn. At Geary, the gallery in Millerton, N.Y., the group show, “Who’s To Say I Am Awake; Are You?” will continue through Upstate Art Weekend, including the acrylic-painted terracotta vase on display by New York City-artist Paul Anagnostopoulos titled, “Follow You Until The Sun.”

Paul Anagnostopoulos’s striking paintings blend the homoerotic heroism of Mary Renault’s novels of Ancient Greece with the Abercrombie & Fitch-era photography of Bruce Weber and the colors of a Day-Glo disco sunset on a Donna Summer vinyl.

“My dad’s side is Greek and my mom’s side is Italian, and I grew up with my grandmother’s babysitting me, who were both history teachers,” Anagnostopoulos, a former artist-in-residence at The Wassaic Project, said over the phone. “Around both of their houses they had kitschy objects — Greek vases, or on the Italian side, a miniature souvenir of Michelangelo’s David. Kitsch became a symbol of adoration for me.”

Mythology was storytelling both oral and aural, the common tongue before the Common Era, so it’s only natural that Anagnostopoulos would link ancient lore to our contemporary epic ballads of triumphs and love lost — pop music.

“The ancient tradition of masculinity with the tragic hero, the comedic hero, these are all emotional extremes.”

The same extremes found in his favorite music videos — like Bonnie Tyler’s vintage 1983 video for “Total Eclipse of The Heart” directed by Russell Mulcahy of “Highlander” fame (talk about masculine fantasy) — serve as modern myth inspiration and studio soundtrack as he paints.

“Pop music is inherently hyperbolic, ‘this is the moment, this is the last night,” he said. “Pop is always high-stakes drama.”

‘Time Held Me Green and Dying’ by Paul Anagnostopoulos Photo by Martin Parsekian

‘Time Held Me Green and Dying’ by Paul Anagnostopoulos Photo by Martin Parsekian

‘Time Held Me Green and Dying’ by Paul Anagnostopoulos Photo by Martin Parsekian

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