Art Athina 2015: same story or sth new?

300x250_art-athina_new 11067675_10205955661564151_5431214951541810860_n 11406973_10205955661804157_66752730455458450_n Like every year for the last 12 years, Art-Athina took place from the 4th to the 7th of June in Athens. It is supposed to be the biggest and most international contemporary art fair in Athens. Most (if not all) art galleries in Athens participate in it. Last year, though nobody can deny the large number of galleries that participated in the fair, it was not very “international,” nor was there any spectacularly different media apart from the classic paintings in frames. So, in those terms, though there were nice pieces of art, one would not say that last year’s fair could be compared to any of London’s contemporary art fairs. (This is not to say that the art pieces were not interesting.) For all these reasons, I was very curious to see the evolution of this fair this year and also the reaction of the audience . . . . This year I visited the exhibition with art students from the U.S. It was really interesting to ask their opinions, too. To begin with, it was great to see that there was a large audience that visited the fair. The sad part, though, is that there was a bit less participations of Greek galleries, and knowing the situation from the inside, I can tell that this is the result of the financial crisis, since art, unfortunately, is considered a luxury and not a commodity. Nonetheless, the happy part is the fact that Greek galleries have started supporting artistic experimentation with different materials, construction, lights, etc. For once, one could see art pieces that do represent our era and not the past! And it needs to be like that, if this fair wants to continue to be referred to as a “contemporary ” art fair. This fact means that both the galleries and the audience are ready to embrace a more open view and widen their perspectives. Another great thing at this fair was the great support from sponsors and institutions, such as the Fulbright, and the support of the Art Schools of Greece. Finally, it was also nice to see collaborations in projects and an entire part of the fair dedicated to galleries from many countries, as well as the interesting lectures taking place at the fair. The most innovative pieces, of course, were the ones from the international galleries. Asking the people with whom I visited the fair (that were no Greek), I was happy to see that, despite the “fear” of using new ways of expressing themselves, some of the Greek artists gained the interest of an international audience. Let’s hope that for the best for the future J

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