National Museum of Contemporary Art: EMST PROLOGUES

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The Greek art scene is getting ready for the full opening of a significant new addition to the Athenian landscape, a new National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. Some say its Greece’s version of London’s Tate Modern.


National Museum of Contemporary Art: Transitions

For more than a decade, the crumbling 1950s FIX beer factory on one of the capital’s main arteries Syggrou Avenue has been in a slow metamorphosis. From concrete ruins it is shaping up to be one of Europe’s most fascinating modern museums, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST). Some have made earlier comparisons to London’s Tate Modern since both are historic industrial buildings that have been given new life to feature contemporary art, places that will feed a major city’s art culture.


The substantial space is 18,142 meters squared and will merge the exhibits from Thessaloniki, the national and the Macedonian museums. Above all, the EMST is set to change Greece’s art scene tremendously.


It will be another significant addition to the Athenian art and culture scene during the country’s economic crisis since the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center’s opening earlier this year.

Momentum of Events: PROLOGUES

The museum isn’t fully open just yet. The full operation is set to be announced in 2017. However, EMST is slowly presenting a collection of events, shows and exhibitions leading to a grand event. The momentum of events called PROLOGUES are utilizing spaces that have been already finished in the historic building.


The first PROLOUGES event was presented in May 2016 with Lagune, a performance by artist Dennis Savary in collaboration with Flux Laboratory and Fluxum Foundation. On International Music Day in June 2016, the museum collaborated with the Greek National Opera. Also throughout the summer, students from Second Change Schools displayed their artwork as part of the educational program coined EMST without Borders. Earlier this fall, the Onassis Cultural Center presented the earlier work of known choreographer Trisha Brown in conjunction with the festival Dancing Athens. Also, in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, EMST participated in European Heritage Days.


In November, Greek film school students will also collaborate with EMST by presenting their work based on the MoMA book (Museum of Modern Art, New York), Young Charlotte Filmmaker by Frank Viva. The last PROLOUGES will take place in mid-December with a performance supported by the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation. 

Until the end of the year PROLOUGES will continue with collaborations with the British Council, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Contemporary Group Dance Persa Stamatopoulou.

Art at the EMST

The EMST will present an exhibition entitled Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp from October 31, 2016 and to January 29, 2017. It will be the first temporary exhibition since the EMST closed in 2015 as the new permanent location began construction.


Focusing on theoretical and visual dialogue, the exhibit is part of a cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA). Curated by Bart De Baere and Katerina Koskina, it features more than 70 pieces of art structured in 22 thematic units. The exhibit will move on to Belgium in the spring of 2017.


Many Modern Art Collaborations to Come

The EMST has also announced future collaborations with the Museum of Contemporary Cuts (MoCC and Leonardo Electronic Almanac – MIT Press, the D. Daskalopoulos Organization for Culture and Development (NEON), the Polyecο Contemporary Art Initiative and the Union of Communication and Advertising Companies (EDEE).


We’re excited about the sprinkling of events leading up to the full opening of the museum.  For the latest on what PROLOUGUES events are open to the public visit the museum’s Facebook page.


We’ll be posting more about updates about the rebirth of National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens. Tell us about your favorite contemporary art museum below.