My job as an international art dealer with Park West Gallery offers me the chance to explore many ports of Call around the world. Recently my ship, the Norwegian Jade anchored in the port of Mykonos, Greece. The island is famous for its maze-like city and windmills. It’s also home to the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos. Some of the key collection in this organization is the pottery found on the nearby island of Delos. However, the key feature of the museum is presently the exquisite exhibit titled VANITY.
As of August 2016, the museum hosts a 14 month exhibit titled Vanity. The exposition pays homage to the island’s seven millennia history (7,000 years! Wow!) of personal adornment—namely jewelry.
Overall the museum transformed itself to match the central theme of the exhibit—Vanity. While the title refers the practice of adorning ourselves with precious metals and precious stones, the museum designers utilize mirrors in the exhibit on a monolithic level. As you approach the museum from the narrow street out front, first you notice that the title VANITY cut out from a mirror. The title of the exhibit is exponentially larger than the small marble block that lists the museum’s name in Greek and English alphabets. Inside the main hall, wall-sized mirrors on either end crate an infinity effect. The exhibit cases here are identical in size, color and material, so the effect is an endless row of cases. I even confused a reflection of myself as another guests for the better part of a minute.
On each end of the museum there is small gallery dedicated to Delos purification ritual pits. The glass and wood shelves, which are kin to the design of late 19th century museum cases, are filled with row after row of restored pottery. The cases are a beautiful example of the art of restoration. The vases are re-created, filling in the gaps where the ancient sherds are long lost. The missing visual details of the restoration have been penciled in, so that you can see the ancient design clearly.
The exhibit designer in me really nerded out because their displays. The institution crafted very modern, very minimalist pedestals to display the work. The construction relies heavily on the crisp edges of the steel cases. I’m about to get super nerdy on you all, so be warned… The cases feature a small pullout drawer with the case labels. I’m about to get super nerdy on you all, so be warned, but even the sliding mechanics of the drawer are top craftsmanship. The drawer slides out gently and confidently, with a small amount of tension that coasts to a stop as the drawer is fully extended. It’s this kind of subtle touch that indicates we’re dealing with real professionals.
The biggest downside of my visit is that the permanent exhibit of ancient marble sculpture in the atrium where closed. A peak through the doorway revealed that the atrium was a great place for a napping cat. Surprisingly, given the tourist nature of the island, there was no gift shop.
Overall conclusion, if you find yourself in Mykonos, either by cruiseship or other form of travel, the Archaeological Museum is definitely worth a visit.