Annual Taverna Rebetika | Anita Rogers Gallery


Curator Caroline Spang sat down with Gallery Owner and Director, Anita Rogers, ahead of Taverna Rebetika, an annual celebration of Greek culture taking place Dec 1 at the Anita Rogers Gallery.

How does your background and experience living in Greece influence the artists and work featured in the Anita Rogers Gallery? 

My parents held 1960s values. They were free spirits, educated and open humanitarians who valued folk culture. My father moved to Greece in 1962. The mentality and culture in 1980s Greece reflected 1960s Western Europe: unspoiled and carefree. This was a time when the art world had more universal meaning and depth - before the mass market idea had really taken over. My values are rooted in this time and these memories.

I approach the gallery from an artist’s point of view as I was raised by an artist who understood art as something that was in search of truth, searching to understand what it means to be human, exploring that which connects us deeply as humans, almost approaching the metaphysical but while staying rooted in the human experience and truth. This shaped my values and approach to running a gallery in NYC. I choose artists whose visual abilities are exceptional and whose aesthetic approach and philosophical ideas are in line with the beliefs I described and in line with the values that were held, as I remember them, pre-mass media and before the contemporary art scene became more of a mockery and the overblown financial marketplace that it is now.

Courtesy of Anita Rogers Gallery

Courtesy of Anita Rogers Gallery

What is your favorite memory of growing up in Greece?

My father playing the bouzouki one afternoon with a Greek priest and six fishermen. We (my Mum, Dad and me) were in the village of an island called Tzia (Kea), which was quite sleepy as it was a hot afternoon during siesta time. Little by little, the locals came out of their homes and joined in. They opened up the local taverna and as it filled up, the locals brought their own chairs, tables and food to the square where we were playing. By evening the entire square was filled with people, both locals and tourists, drinking, eating and dancing. Other musicians joined in and I did all the singing. Hundreds of locals and tourists joined the party by late evening. The music continued through the night. At 5am we went to the island mayor’s house to play and I sang outside his window to wake him up! We then moved to the island doctor’s house and carried on playing all day. No sleep—just 30 plus hours of music. It was amazing.

Read the full interview on CulturePass