Remapping Athens with art

Kimberly Bradley
Sep 8, 2013 12:32PM

It's a hot Sunday afternoon in Athens, and I'm just about to head out to the preview of ReMap4. It's a remarkable event founded by real-estate developer-collector-entrepreneur-culture maven Iasson Tzakonas that essentially squats a rough inner-city neighborhood, Kerameikos/Metaxourgeio (KM) with an extravaganza of visual art exhibitions every two years since 2007.

Taking place on 90 square blocks, ReMap mixes single-person shows mounted by international galleries (among them big names like Peres Projects, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Lorcan O'Neill, Modern Institute, Maccarone, and, yes, Gagosian) with locals like The Breeder, Rebecca Cahmi, CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery, Eleni Koroneou, QBox and Melas Papadopoulos. On top of this are group shows put together by project spaces and institutions from Greece and far beyond, among them the Deste Foundation, Kunsthalle Athina, even the Vienna Fine Arts Academy's Department of Photography.

I'm off to KM (nearly 50 percent of which lays fallow ... its urban renewal issues are a long, complex story) to check out work by James Turrell, John Bock, Despina Stoukou, and many more I've yet to discover. ReMap4 runs until September 30, segueing into the Athens Biennale. I'll say it again: the vibrance of Athens' art scene never ceases to astonish me—a vibrance that exists despite, or in part perhaps because of, the now six-year-old Greek crisis.

Kimberly Bradley