May 20, 2016

DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art

Photo credits: Dimitris Kalapodas

Greece is well known for its antiquity and classical pieces of Art, like Venus de Milo, the Caryatides, Hermes with the Infant Dionysus or the countless pottery that have been found; however there also exists a generation of contemporary artists who steal the spotlight now and then. One of the main aspects that may have left contemporary art behind in Greece could be the lack of a central national Museum of Contemporary Art, a fact that may change soon. To overcome this, many foundations and art spaces have been dedicated in contemporary arts of work, with few of them standing above the rest, due to their expertise, their continuous support for younger artists and elaborate exhibitions. One of these is Deste Foundation of Contemporary Art.

Deste was established as a non-profit organisation in 1983 by private collector Dakis Joannou with the objective of promoting contemporary art and supporting art projects globally. For over thirty years Deste (that means “look!” In Greek) sees that contemporary artists find a space to exhibit their works, are covered by media and find funding when they need. Now in its fourth decade, the foundation is housed in an uber-modern building in Nea Ionia, minutes from Civitel Attik and Olympic. The building was used as a sock factory, it was built in 1931 and renovated in 2006 by architect Christos Papoulias. Its original structure is preserved, while housing an amazing exhibition space and an up-to-date library, serving as a research resource on art and design.

Any visitor of Athens goes to see the unique artistry of the ancient times, but to understand better Greek Art and its cultural implications in modern day society, as well as how society indicates the thematic of art in any given period, a visit to a contemporary art exhibition is a must. The Deste Foundation and its collaborations with the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Benaki Museum in Athens as well as the A. G. Leventis Gallery in Cyprus are perfect to get a better scope of Greek Modern Art. Find its exhibitions schedule and find out more about its work, visiting its site at

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