Barry Schwabsky at The Nation:
It’s early July, and the Greek painter Apostolos Georgiou is wondering where else in Europe he might be able to live. Galleries can barely survive in Athens, he says, and the collectors have disappeared or are only buying abroad. The long-delayed project for a permanent museum of contemporary art in Athens seems more chimerical than ever. So where to go: Germany? Italy? England? “London is too expensive,” he figures, but then asks, “Would I be able to find an affordable place an hour’s journey outside the city?” It depends, I reply. Most areas near the city are stockbroker territory; he’d need to settle beyond the commuter zones in one of those shabby, forlorn seaside towns like Margate, Ramsgate, or Whitstable, if they’re still affordable.
I’m ostensibly visiting Apostolos to choose some of his works for a group show I’m organizing for a London gallery this fall. In fact, we could have made the arrangements by e-mail, but I had a further reason for coming: I wanted to understand how and why one continues to make art in a crisis—how one endeavors to create something, like poetry, that “makes nothing happen” while being (to borrow a few more of Auden’s words) “punished under a foreign code of conscience.”