A Contemporary Art Guide To: Athens

A Contemporary Art Guide To: Athens

By Sophie Louise in Functions & Evaluate


Credit score: Thomas Gravanis

After weathering a ten years-prolonged economic crisis, riots and mass unemployment contributing to common social instability, Greece’s funds, very long linked more so with its historical past than with its burgeoning current, has emerged in modern several years as one of the most thrilling locations on the worldwide artwork scene. Lower rents and reasonably priced dwelling costs make it a draw for younger creatives priced out of major towns and the fast gentrifying imaginative hubs of at the time affordable towns like Berlin and Lisbon. In 2017, Documenta chose Athens to co-host its quinquennial exhibition, kickstarting its re-emergence on the world wide artwork stage. An influx of non-public and general public financial investment immediately after the election of key minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in 2019, as well as European Union funding to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on the cultural sector, has because led to a surge of enhancement, with a rising metro network connecting earlier disused corners of the metropolis, a blooming café culture and an inrush of bars, dining places and cultural venues popping up all in excess of town.

Credit rating: EMSTAthens Instagram

Tracing the History of Greek Art

No visit to Athens is finish with no initial diving into its incredible history– the traditional architectural marvel of the Parthenon and its decorative marble buildings, quite a few of which are now housed in the nearby Acropolis museum—are a crucial experience for all those interested in discovering the origins of Western artwork. North-east of the Acropolis, the Museum of Cycladic Art houses a long lasting collection of Historical Greek and Cypriot artwork dating back again to the 4th millennium BC, and The Countrywide Gallery—featuring Greek and European artwork from the 14th century onwards— reopened in 2021 right after decades of renovations. Although initially started in 2000, the long-awaited new web page of The Countrywide Museum of Contemporary Art—known as EMST—officially opened this 12 months after many decades of economic setbacks. Housed in a previous industrial constructing with panoramic metropolis views, the gallery collection incorporates do the job from art-environment stalwarts this sort of as Gillian Sporting, Nan Goldin and John Baldessari, along with modern Greek artists like Eleni Mylonas and Nikos Kessanlis. With a most important aim on conceptual art, the museum is also household to an extensive video art collection featuring function from Invoice Viola, Sophie Calle and Vito Acconci.

Credit: Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Discovering The City

First time readers to Athens may well want to start off at the central Syntagma square, where by the backstreets leading to the neighbourhood of Monastiraki are dotted with compact galleries, cafes and restaurants—3rd Position is a great spot to seize coffee prior to a check out to Six d.o.g.s, a cultural centre, café and exhibition place popular among the youthful creatives. In the night, drop by Bar in entrance of the Bar to unwind and fulfill locals, or wander toward the neighbourhoods of Exarchia and Pyssri for an eclectic combine of avenue artwork, nightclubs and dwell audio venues. Neon is a contemporary gallery in the central neighbourhood of Kolonos, housed in a previous tobacco manufacturing unit with an legendary historical past –previous incarnations incorporate a jail and a Entire world War II air-raid shelter—before its transformation into a gallery space in 2013. Described by inventive director Elena Kountouri as a contemporary, available cultural centre, in which social and political tactics are rethought, the gallery characteristics do the job from Danh Vo, Anastasia Douka and Panos Kokkinias. This calendar year Neon collaborated with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Middle to deliver a person of Louise Bourgeois’s iconic spider sculptures—known as Maman—to the Greek capital.The piece will be on look at on the Foundation’s waterfront esplanade until finally November 2022. Opened in 2016 and intended by renowned architect Renzo Piano – the Stavros Niarchos Basis is also dwelling to the National Library of Greece and Greek National Opera. Situated about a twenty-five minute taxi experience from central Athens, the centre stands close to the port town of Piraeus, an industrial district that has seen an inflow of new galleries in new several years. Amid the highlights are Rodeo—currently hosting an group exhibition discovering the idea of organised flexibility and highlighting artists doing work outdoors the frame, and Objects of Typical Curiosity, a layout room focused on establishing experiential objects and making immersive environments via still-daily life installations. The close by Carwan Gallery highlights modern day layout from the Close to East, and The Intermission gallery invites emerging and established artists to develop web site-precise perform in its waterfront house.

Credit: DESTE foundation

Gallery Highlights

In the northeastern suburb of Marousi, The George Economou Assortment options early-twentieth century art like parts from Otto Dix and Martin Kippenberger, together with minimalists like Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. The Gagosian has had a compact presence in Athens because 2009, but opened a substantial gallery in 2020 with an inaugurate exhibition from US sculptor Brice Marden showcasing operates painted on locally-sourced marble from quarries in the close by island of Hydra. The Athens Biennale, held each two decades, is a metropolis-broad exhibition web hosting workshops, lectures and performances from Greek and international artists. The eighth edition is thanks to be held in 2023 with information on volunteer options readily available on their site. Housed in an abandoned 1970s ice product manufacturing facility, The Breeder Gallery exhibits radical and politically engaged do the job. Their current exhibition capabilities the work of Greek contemporary sculptor, Dimitris Gketsis, whose resin-sculptures examine Greek Mythology and historical marble method in a modern-day context. Radio Athenes in Monastiraki hosts screenings and lectures along with a plan of interdisciplinary art occasions. State of Thought, a non-earnings started by critic and curator iLiana Fokianaki, provides inventive mentorship and exhibition room to supply a bridge between Athens and the worldwide art entire world, along with a annually plan, functionality and workshop situations. Other highlights incorporate The DESTE foundation for present-day artwork, with areas the two in Athens and Hydra, the locale of Jeff Koons latest installation Apollo.

Credit rating: The Mudhouse Residency Instagram

Residency Options

Residencies are a wonderful possibility for cultural immersion and for creating your practice in a new and supportive ecosystem. Effective residencies will provide the opportunity to develop connections with artists from all about the environment, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration when making internet site-particular assignments and supporting local organisations and businesses. A residency will give house and time to soak up all the things a city has to supply whilst selling your work to a broader audience. Onassis is a gallery and cultural hub with a broad method of situations and artistic opportunities– their web page attributes quite a few open up-phone calls, such as tailor-produced fellowships, a sustainable futures discussion board, and the Worldwide Cavafy summer time faculty, a application which explores the affect of the operate of seminal Greek poet Constantine Cavafy throughout artistic disciplines. Positioned in the Kypseli neighbourhood, Snehta (which is Athens backwards if you cannot convey to!) has an annual open up contact for their residency method which runs Might via to November each year and offers studio place, a wood workshop, and exhibition options. The Villa Exarchia is the residency software of Phoenix Athens, a area for socially engaged art, with destinations in both equally Exarchia and the Peloponnese, currently open up for purposes from artists, researchers and curators. FaveLab is a resourceful lab supplying equally in-man or woman and e-residencies, with current open up phone calls for studio artists as properly as a jewellery art application. A-Sprint is an artists operate task delivering studios and challenge spaces for interdisciplinary work for intervals of 1-2 months– they also have a general public function plan internet hosting dinners, screenings and performances. Applications can be made on their website.

Credit: Thomas Gravanis

Residencies Further more Afield

Hosted in a villa north of Athens, Iris Art Center hosts art coaching residencies, retreats and cross-disciplinary workshops in the lush foothills of the Parnitha Nationwide Park. The Mudhouse Residency, situated in southern Crete, is cushioned amongst the mountains and the shoreline in the village of Agios Ioannis. They provide workshops in printmaking and ceramics, as well as arranging hikes and archeological excursions for residents as part of their cultural immersion method. Purposes are presently open up for their Summertime 2023 session. Lucy Art Residency is a two-7 days application for rising visible artists doing the job predominantly with pictures, hosted in the 5 star Lucy Hotel in the north-east town of Kavala. Check back again for application facts for residencies in 2023. The Ioanian heart for the Arts and Tradition is a house for world connectivity, blending environmental science with creative education and learning and development exactly where artists function alongside researchers, curators and scientists to produce internet site-unique jobs. They give grants and masterclasses and ongoing residency opportunities on the balmy island of Kefalonia.

For even more and up-to-date listings on functions, exhibitions and opportunities in Athens, verify out resource hubs like Present Athens, This is Athens, or Artist-Operate Alliance.