Protesters took to the streets in Athens, Greece, on Tuesday, March 14 to decry an assault of state-employed archeologist Manolis Psarros. Some believe the attack was connected to Psarros’s regulatory work preserving cultural antiquities on the island of Mykonos and ongoing pressures from the tourism industry.
Last week, an unidentified man and his accomplice struck the 53-year-old archaeologist as he entered his car, causing Psarros to lose consciousness, collapse, and bleed. Psarros’s partner told the Greek newspaper Protothema that the archaeologist received punches to the face, head, and sternum. An employee of the Cyclades Antiquities Authority, a Ministry of Culture and Sports department, Psarros was taken to the hospital and is now recovering at home after suffering broken ribs and widespread bruises.
Culture Ministry employees ceased working for five hours in response to what protesters are calling a “mafia-style attack.” Despina Koutsoumba, who leads the protesting archaeologist association, alleges the assault is potentially connected to recent cases of the Cyclades Antiquities Authority blocking real estate development in Mykonos, according to reporting by the Greek magazine Parallaxi.
“He has no trouble in his personal life — debts or anything like that — that would justify anything like this,” Koutsoumba told the Associated Press.
The Ministry of Culture and Sport has not responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
Protesters, including ministry employees and professionals from the National Association of Archeological Conservators, are demanding increased protections for public officials in roles like Psarros’s and are refusing to work on cases involving Mykonos through the end of the month when the association plans a visit to the resort island.
Mykonos, a popular tourist destination and Instagram backdrop for influencers, is one of Greece’s most important archeological sites. Off the coast of Mykonos, the island and UNESCO heritage site of Delos is the birthplace of Apollo, according to Greek myth. Apollo’s sanctuary was a popular destination for pilgrims through the first century BCE, and the island became an essential commercial port by the 2nd century CE. However, researchers worry about the increased stress on and degradation of important monuments and cultural sites in Greece largely caused by excessive tourism, an ongoing issue in Mykonos.
The attack on Psarros potentially shows mounting tensions between cultural preservationists and the tourism industry in the South Aegean region. (In 2022, the National Bank of Greece predicted €20 billion, or about $21 million, in revenue for the tourism industry, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.) According to Parallaxi, a recent shift in laws changed the composition of the South Aegean local council to no longer seat a majority of archeologists, which protesters have seen as an attack on cultural heritage. In demands shared with Parallaxi, the Association of Greek Archaeologists affirms that the attack won’t stop ministry employees from doing their jobs.
“The fighting archaeologists and related scientific disciplines will continue to protect antiquities as a public good, strictly applying the Archaeological Law,” the group wrote.
Goya’s Coded Love Letter to the Duchess of Alba
Goya neatly clothes himself in his own world of fantasy: He will have her in the end. In life, where the climate is much chillier, it was, alas, to be otherwise.
Witches Take Over Westchester
Bowen’s multimedia art is an alchemical mix of the sensuous and arcane, and it is more than a little witchy.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
14 Art Books and Catalogues We’re Reading This Month
Anthologies and catalogues on feminist art in Latin America, Native mound building, Armenian photography, and more are on our reading list.
Saudi Arabia Announces $1M “Freedom of Expression” Art Award
Kanye West, Roman Polanski, and Carl Andre are among the shortlisted artists.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
British Museum Offers Greece “Exclusive NFT” of the Parthenon Marbles
“With the power of blockchain technology, there will be no question who the real owner is,” said a British Museum spokesperson.
MoMA to Co-Curate Exhibition With NYPD
Arrest Me, Daddy hopes to cast a more positive light on the work of law enforcement officers.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Repatriation-Inspired Fragrance Line Hopes to Heal Collector Wounds
The exotic scents of the Rapatriement line offer solace and joy to dismayed collectors who were forced to return looted artifacts.
Mediocre Painting Thought AI-Generated Revealed as Work of Real Artist
Visitors who spoke to Hyperallergic said they were “horrified” to learn that a human could come up with such a banal and poorly executed artwork.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic
The estranged prince said he took the role to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Newly Discovered Trove of Vermeer Works Reveals He Painted Mainly Dogs
A cache of 243 paintings found in an English castle, all depicting canine subjects, suggests Vermeer’s true aspiration was to become a dog portraitist.