A Contemporary Art Guide To: Athens

By Sophie Louise in Activities & Evaluate


Credit history: Thomas Gravanis

Soon after weathering a ten years-prolonged economic crisis, riots and mass unemployment contributing to widespread social instability, Greece’s money, very long connected more so with its heritage than with its burgeoning existing, has emerged in the latest decades as just one of the most remarkable locations on the intercontinental art scene. Reduced rents and inexpensive living costs make it a draw for youthful creatives priced out of key cities and the quickly gentrifying resourceful hubs of the moment cost-effective towns like Berlin and Lisbon. In 2017, Documenta chose Athens to co-host its quinquennial exhibition, kickstarting its re-emergence on the worldwide art phase. An influx of non-public and general public financial commitment after the election of primary minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in 2019, as perfectly as European Union funding to mitigate the results of the pandemic on the cultural sector, has given that led to a surge of progress, with a developing metro network connecting earlier disused corners of the town, a blooming café lifestyle and an inrush of bars, restaurants and cultural venues popping up all over city.

Credit score: EMSTAthens Instagram

Tracing the Record of Greek Artwork

No check out to Athens is full with no initial diving into its incredible history– the traditional architectural marvel of the Parthenon and its attractive marble buildings, many of which are now housed in the nearby Acropolis museum—are a crucial expertise for people fascinated in exploring the origins of Western art. North-east of the Acropolis, the Museum of Cycladic Artwork residences a long lasting assortment of Historic Greek and Cypriot art courting again to the 4th millennium BC, and The National Gallery—featuring Greek and European art from the 14th century onwards— reopened in 2021 soon after many years of renovations. While initially launched in 2000, the prolonged-awaited new site of The Nationwide Museum of Modern Artwork—known as EMST—officially opened this yr just after quite a few several years of economic setbacks. Housed in a former industrial making with panoramic town views, the gallery assortment consists of do the job from art-globe stalwarts these kinds of as Gillian Putting on, Nan Goldin and John Baldessari, along with up to date Greek artists like Eleni Mylonas and Nikos Kessanlis. With a main aim on conceptual artwork, the museum is also residence to an intensive video clip art selection showcasing perform from Invoice Viola, Sophie Calle and Vito Acconci.

Credit score: Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Discovering The City

1st time site visitors to Athens could want to begin at the central Syntagma square, exactly where the backstreets primary to the neighbourhood of Monastiraki are dotted with little galleries, cafes and restaurants—Third Position is a good put to grab espresso before a go to to 6 d.o.g.s, a cultural centre, café and exhibition space well-known amid youthful creatives. In the evening, drop by Bar in front of the Bar to unwind and fulfill locals, or wander in the direction of the neighbourhoods of Exarchia and Pyssri for an eclectic mix of road art, nightclubs and stay new music venues. Neon is a present-day gallery in the central neighbourhood of Kolonos, housed in a previous tobacco manufacturing facility with an iconic background –previous incarnations incorporate a prison and a World War II air-raid shelter—before its transformation into a gallery room in 2013. Explained by inventive director Elena Kountouri as a modern day, obtainable cultural centre, where social and political approaches are rethought, the gallery functions function from Danh Vo, Anastasia Douka and Panos Kokkinias. This 12 months Neon collaborated with the Stavros Niarchos Basis Cultural Middle to carry 1 of Louise Bourgeois’s legendary spider sculptures—known as Maman—to the Greek funds.The piece will be on check out on the Foundation’s waterfront esplanade until eventually November 2022. Opened in 2016 and intended by renowned architect Renzo Piano – the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is also dwelling to the National Library of Greece and Greek Countrywide Opera. Situated about a twenty-5 minute taxi trip from central Athens, the centre stands close to the port city of Piraeus, an industrial district that has witnessed an inflow of new galleries in new many years. Amid the highlights are Rodeo—currently hosting an group exhibition checking out the notion of organised independence and highlighting artists working outside the body, and Objects of Prevalent Fascination, a structure house concentrated on acquiring experiential objects and building immersive environments by still-lifetime installations. The nearby Carwan Gallery highlights up to date layout from the Close to East, and The Intermission gallery invites rising and set up artists to make internet site-specific function in its waterfront space.

Credit rating: DESTE basis

Gallery Highlights

In the northeastern suburb of Marousi, The George Economou Selection characteristics early-twentieth century art like items from Otto Dix and Martin Kippenberger, along with minimalists like Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. The Gagosian has had a smaller presence in Athens since 2009, but opened a massive gallery in 2020 with an inaugurate exhibition from US sculptor Brice Marden featuring operates painted on regionally-sourced marble from quarries in the nearby island of Hydra. The Athens Biennale, held each and every two years, is a city-large exhibition hosting workshops, lectures and performances from Greek and global artists. The eighth edition is because of to be held in 2023 with info on volunteer alternatives available on their web-site. Housed in an deserted 1970s ice cream manufacturing facility, The Breeder Gallery exhibits radical and politically engaged function. Their present exhibition characteristics the do the job of Greek contemporary sculptor, Dimitris Gketsis, whose resin-sculptures check out Greek Mythology and historical marble system in a contemporary context. Radio Athenes in Monastiraki hosts screenings and lectures alongside a software of interdisciplinary artwork occasions. State of Thought, a non-earnings started by critic and curator iLiana Fokianaki, gives creative mentorship and exhibition space to deliver a bridge amongst Athens and the global art world, along with a annually method, general performance and workshop activities. Other highlights incorporate The DESTE basis for up to date art, with areas the two in Athens and Hydra, the location of Jeff Koons modern set up Apollo.

Credit score: The Mudhouse Residency Instagram

Residency Chances

Residencies are a great possibility for cultural immersion and for acquiring your practice in a new and supportive natural environment. Thriving residencies will present the chance to make connections with artists from all around the globe, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration although producing web site-distinct assignments and supporting neighborhood organisations and enterprises. A residency will give room and time to soak up everything a city has to provide although promoting your work to a broader audience. Onassis is a gallery and cultural hub with a broad software of occasions and resourceful opportunities– their web page capabilities quite a few open up-phone calls, such as tailor-made fellowships, a sustainable futures forum, and the International Cavafy summer season school, a software which explores the impact of the get the job done of seminal Greek poet Constantine Cavafy across creative disciplines. Positioned in the Kypseli neighbourhood, Snehta (that’s Athens backwards if you simply cannot convey to!) has an yearly open up connect with for their residency software which runs Could through to November per year and presents studio place, a wood workshop, and exhibition prospects. The Villa Exarchia is the residency software of Phoenix Athens, a house for socially engaged art, with places in both of those Exarchia and the Peloponnese, at this time open up for applications from artists, scientists and curators. FaveLab is a artistic lab featuring both equally in-particular person and e-residencies, with latest open up phone calls for studio artists as properly as a jewelry art software. A-Sprint is an artists operate task providing studios and undertaking areas for interdisciplinary get the job done for intervals of 1-2 months– they also have a public event method web hosting dinners, screenings and performances. Applications can be created on their site.

Credit score: Thomas Gravanis

Residencies Further Afield

Hosted in a villa north of Athens, Iris Art Heart hosts artwork coaching residencies, retreats and cross-disciplinary workshops in the lush foothills of the Parnitha Countrywide Park. The Mudhouse Residency, found in southern Crete, is cushioned in between the mountains and the shoreline in the village of Agios Ioannis. They offer you workshops in printmaking and ceramics, as very well as arranging hikes and archeological excursions for citizens as part of their cultural immersion application. Programs are at present open up for their Summer 2023 session. Lucy Artwork Residency is a two-week application for emerging visual artists working predominantly with photography, hosted in the five star Lucy Hotel in the north-east city of Kavala. Check out back for application specifics for residencies in 2023. The Ioanian heart for the Arts and Society is a house for international connectivity, blending environmental science with creative training and development where artists perform alongside researchers, curators and researchers to build web page-unique assignments. They give grants and masterclasses and ongoing residency options on the balmy island of Kefalonia.

For even more and up-to-date listings on situations, exhibitions and prospects in Athens, examine out resource hubs like Present Athens, This is Athens, or Artist-Run Alliance.