June 12, 2016
Two press photographs from the glorious summer days of Greek High Kitsch, the Colonels' Dictatorship of 1967-1974. Above, George Papadopoulos, junta leader now in the role of Prime Minister, visits a military unit accompanied by a phalanx of uniformed officers on the occasion of Easter Sunday (probably in 1968). In honour of the day, they are passing between two halves of a red easter egg painted with the message Χριστός Ανέστη, "Christ is risen". The looked-for audience response would have been to ponder the colonel's slogan, "Greece is risen", but the association with baby chickens is irresistible.
The lower photograph illustrates what was perhaps one of the high points of that profoundly tacky annual performance in Athens Stadium, the Celebration of Greek Military Virtue. An improbable number (fifteen or more) of the despised ESA military police cling to one another on a motorcycle, the topmost man waving a Greek flag disfigured by the dictatorship's soldier-and-pinioned-phoenix symbol. It is probably safe to assume that none of those involved saw anything remotely homoerotic in this and similar early works of performance art by the junta.