Massive Former Tobacco Factory in Athens to Become Art Space

A former tobacco factory will soon host a major art space from one of Greece’s top collectors. NEON, a foundation run by Dimitris Daskalopoulos, will work together with the Hellenic Parliament to help turn the Athens structure into a site for presenting contemporary art exhibitions, making it one of the […]

A former tobacco factory will soon host a major art space from one of Greece’s top collectors. NEON, a foundation run by Dimitris Daskalopoulos, will work together with the Hellenic Parliament to help turn the Athens structure into a site for presenting contemporary art exhibitions, making it one of the most notable spaces of its kind in the Greek capital. That venue will open in 2021, to tie in with the 200th anniversary of Greece’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire.

NEON and Daskalopoulos, who is a mainstay on ARTnews‘s Top 200 Collectors list, will fund all of the costs associated with the revitalization project, which are set to total up to €1 million (or around $1.21 million). The art space housed within the structure will operate alongside the Hellenic Parliament Library and Printing House, which has been based there since 2009.

First up at the new art space is “Portals,” a group show featuring 40 artists that will be curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Elina Kountouri, director of NEON. The Art Newspaper reported that site-specific works by Glenn Ligon, Danh Vo, Michael Rakowitz, and Maria Loizidou would be housed within the 70,000-square-foot art space.

In a statement, Daskalopoulos said that the opening of the new art space would mark a new chapter for Greek cultural history. “This reflection on national self-awareness, part of a global environment of reflection, is promoted in its own way by the exhibition we are presenting,” he said. “Through this effort, we seek to highlight the important developmental dimension of art, to underscore our contemporary creativity, to promote models of collaboration and to implement an unparalleled project that is worthy of a modern and developed progressive society.”

Daskalopoulos has ranked on the ARTnews Top 200 list each year since 2001. His 500-work collection formed the basis for a show at Spain’s Guggenheim Bilbao museum in 2011.

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