About 40 miles south of Athens lies perhaps the most coveted Post-Basel destination on the Summer art circuit: Hydra! Say it with us: Eeeeeedraahh. The island of Hydra is host to a handful of annual contemporary exhibitions and clamored-after invites just an hour and a half ferry ride from the capital.
Deste Foundation Headquarters, N. Ionia
Without a doubt, Hydra being a destination is in part due to the Deste Foundation (founded by TBF BFF Dakis Joannou). This anticipated fete that toasts the foundation’s yearly exhibition is honoring none other than the artist who painted Joannou’s own yacht: Jeff Koons. His “Apollo” exhibition at DESTE’s Hydra Slaughterhouse Project Space opens on June 21, but judging from the 3 days of events (including brunch at Joannou’s own house), it’s going to be a fabulous weekend indeed.
Deste Project Space Slaughterhouse Hydra
This year also marks the 23rd edition of the Hydra School Project, an annual exhibition of up-and-coming Greeks and international stars organized and curated by Dimitrios Antonitsis. Traditionally held in the old high school perched among the surrounding cliffs, the exhibition moved into town last year to the Merchant Marine Academy. Opening July 8, Antonitsis writes that "Primal Power is research on the Primordial Laws of Creation,” featuring Marina Abromovic, John Bock, Nathan Smith, and eight other Greek and international artists.
From the upcoming School Project, Harry Patramanis, Happiness, 2022, video
In case you’re looking out for it, sadly Pauline Karpidas announced at the 2017 edition of her annual Hydra Workshop exhibition that it would be her last, after a 20-year run famous for its presentations of countless beloved YBAs. But we hear, for special, special insiders, a view of her collection can be arranged…
And while your time on the car-free, carefree donkey island may come to a crashing end on Sunday evening, before you leave Greece, a stop in Athens is a requisite. Three shows not to be missed in the capital:
Delayed since June 2020, the George Economu Collection opens a solo exhibition of German sculptor Katharina Fristch’s vibrantly-painted casts on Saturday, June 18. With major examples of both her earliest and most recent works split across three floors, highlights include a bright orange Oktopus / Octopus, and the recent group of three Ei / Egg, Laterne / Lantern, and Schädel / Skull.
The George Economou Collection, Athens
At the Museum of Cycladic Art, “Brice Marden and Greek Antiquity” explores the connections between the museum’s collection of Bronze-age figurines and contemporary works by Marden. As Marden lived and worked on Hydra for several decades, the exhibition coincides with the mayor of Hydra’s recent move to honor Marden with a medal and by renaming the street in front of his residence there in his name. Curated in close consultation with the artist by fellow Hydriot Antonitsis (founder of the Hydra School Project).
Brice Marden with the curators at the Museum of Cycladic Art
Brice Marden, Cycladic Museum of Art
Now on view at DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art’s headquarters in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Ionia: Never Enough, a survey of the late Kaari Upson’s brief but prolific career exploring domesticity, primarily through sculpture and video. A close friend of the artist, the nonprofit’s founder Joannou steps in as curator for this tribute exhibition.