A volume for 15 years of contemporary art at the Museum of Cycladic Art


A wonderful volume, a bilingual anniversary edition entitled “Contemporary Art at the Museum of Cycladic Art, 2007-2021”, the Museum of Cycladic Art “celebrates” the 15th anniversary of the first periodical exhibition organized in 2007 as part of the Contemporary Art Program.

The edition, which includes all the exhibitions and collaborations that have been included in the above program, offers a complete overview of the program to date, includes brief introductory texts and mainly rich photographic material from the works and their presentation at the Museum. as well as archival material from the preparation of selected reports. In its pages the reader can refer to material from exhibitions with works by leading artists, such as Giannis Kounellis, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, George Condo, Cy Twombly, Pablo Picasso and Ai Weiwei.

“From the first moment I took over as president of the Museum of Cycladic Art, I had a simple but ambitious vision: to make the Museum a dynamic link between yesterday and today.

In an archeological museum this is not necessarily a given. “In order to highlight that ancient Greek art was and still is a source of inspiration for modern and contemporary artists, we launched in 2007 a series of exhibitions that create a dialogue between ancient art and the art of the 20th and 21st century”, says Kassandra in the volume Marinopoulou, president and managing director of the Museum of Cycladic Art. And it continues:

“With the aim of spreading Cycladic and Ancient Greek culture in Greece and abroad – the central axis of the mission of the Museum of Cycladic Art – these exhibitions gave us the opportunity to reach new groups of audiences and the Museum to gain its own place in the international map. This publication attempts to capture this very course, as a kind of document, of a historical record of the exhibitions, collaborations and actions that are part of the Contemporary Art Program from 2007-2021 “.

“It was a great challenge to create a contemporary art program in an archeological museum. “Contemporary art exhibitions have been and are being held in other historical and archeological museums around the world, but it was and continues to be a pioneering and perhaps unique archaeological museum to have a stable Contemporary Art Program with the commitment to hold an annual exhibition”, notes Aphrodite Gonou , consultant of the Museum of Contemporary Art Program. He adds: “The goal of the Program was to see the Museum, the objects of the collection, our antiquity and history through the eyes of young artists, to support contemporary art, but also to bring young people to us. Artists and curators from all over the world studied and were inspired by our collections, they became ambassadors of the Museum, while helping us to see it from different angles. What could make a museum more alive than the dialogue of ancient art with modern art, the dialogue of the creators of antiquity with the artists and curators of our time “.

“The most moving, all these years, were the reactions of all the artists and curators that we invited to visit the Museum and especially the Cycladic Art Collection. “There was no one who did not stay for hours in meditation in awe in front of the collections and did not immediately accept our invitation for cooperation after this experience”, emphasizes Aphrodite Gonou.

The publication was implemented with the support of the members of the Contemporary Art Support Committee of the Museum of Cycladic Art and is available at the Cycladic Shop and bookstores of the National Bank Educational Foundation in Athens and Thessaloniki. The edition is edited by Aphrodite Gonou and Maria Basagianni.

Fifteen years of contemporary art

The Museum’s contemporary art exhibition program began in 2007 when Kassandra Marinopoulou took over the presidency. It was an idea that was warmly embraced by the founder Dolli Goulandris. Since then, exhibitions of modern and contemporary art are organized on an annual basis, always referring to his permanent collections. The Museum of Cycladic Art is one of the few archeological museums in the world that maintains a stable Program of Contemporary Art with the commitment to hold an annual exhibition. The Museum invites artists and curators from around the world to study and be inspired by its collections, creating a dialogue between works of antiquity and creations of our time. Indicatively, works by internationally renowned artists have been hosted, such as Pablo Picasso, Thomas Struth, Louise Bourgeois, Sarah Lucas, Ugo Rondinone, Jannis Kounellis, Ai Weiwei, Cy Twombly, George Condo and Sterling Ruby. The Contemporary Art program of the Museum of Cycladic Art is curated by Aphrodite Gonou and Atalantis Martinou (since 2016), Contemporary Art Program Consultants.

Regarding the series of exhibitions “Divine Dialogues”, which the Museum of Cycladic Art started in 2017, ancient objects are exhibited next door and “converse” with works of modern and contemporary art. In the first exhibition entitled “Divine Dialogues: Cy Twombly and Greek Antiquity”, for the first time, 27 works of Cy Twombly inspired by Greek mythology were presented alongside 12 works of antiquity. As a continuation of the “Divine Dialogues”, the exhibition Picasso and Antiquity. Line and Clay “won the impressions of the visitors thanks to the lively and original dialogue between 68 rare pottery and designs by Picasso and 67 antiquities. The exhibition received the Audience Award at the International Fine Art Awards (GFAA), while it was the only Greek nomination among 99 selected candidates from 2,000 entries from 27 countries around the world.

Also, from the beginning of this course, the Museum sought collaborations with other organizations, aiming at a living museum with extroversion. The collaboration with the DESTE Foundation for the DESTE Awards was crucial because it opened the Museum’s premises to the Greek contemporary art scene. This was followed by a collaboration with NEON, hosting monographs by leading artists from around the world, such as Martin Kippenberger, Lynda Benglis, Mike Kelley, Paul Chan and Mario Merz. With the intention of becoming a platform for smaller cultural organizations, the Museum collaborated with Radio Athènes.

Finally, it is worth noting that, from 2017, the Contemporary Art Program of the Museum of Cycladic Art includes the Cycladic Café Art Project, which combines social meeting places with artistic creation. With the ultimate goal of embracing the Greek and international scene of contemporary art, the Cycladic Café presents works by internationally recognized and emerging artists, which are associated with the current exhibitions and activities of the Museum. The Cycladic Café Art Project thus supports and encourages an intimate dialogue between art and everyday life.

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