On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of its Contemporary Art Program, the Museum of Cycladic Art presents the bilingual celebratory publication “Contemporary Art at the Museum of Cycladic Art, 2007–2021”, featuring all the exhibitions and partnerships that have been included in the program up to 2021.

The publication offers a comprehensive overview of the program to this day, including brief introductory texts and photographic material of artworks and installation shots of the exhibitions by important artists among which, Jannis Kounellis, Louise Bourgeois, George Condo, Cy Twombly, Pablo Picasso and Ai Weiwei.

In the words of Kassandra Marinopoulou, President and CEO of the Museum of Cycladic Art:

From the very first moment I took over as President of the Museum of Cycladic Art, my vision was clear yet ambitious: to establish the Museum as a dynamic link between the past and the present. This is not necessarily a given when it comes to an archaeological museum. In order to create a dialogue between the art of antiquity and the art of the 20th and 21st centuries, in 2007 we decided to launch a new series of exhibitions aimed at presenting that ancient Greek art was, and still is, a source of great inspiration for modern and contemporary artists.

These exhibitions allowed us to reach new audiences and establish a niche identity internationally, showcasing the Cycladic and Ancient Greek civilization both in Greece and abroad –which forms the backbone of the Museum's mission and raison d’être. This publication intends to capture and guide you through the exhibitions, partnerships, and events of the Museum's Contemporary Art Program between 2007-2021, serving as a documentation.

In the words of Aphrodite Gonou, Contemporary Art Program Advisor at the Museum of Cycladic Art:

“Setting up a contemporary art program in an archaeological museum has been challenging. There have been contemporary art exhibitions in other historical and archaeological museums around the world; however, it is groundbreaking and most probably unique for an archaeological museum to develop a permanent Contemporary Art Program with a commitment for annual exhibitions.

The aim of the Contemporary Art Program is to view the Museum, the exhibits in the collection, antiquity itself and history through the eyes of artists of our times, to support contemporary art, but also to engage with young people.

Artists and curators from all over the world spent time at the Museum, studied and were inspired by our collections, became our ambassadors, and have helped us to see the museum through fresh perspectives. After all, what could make a museum feel more alive than a discourse with contemporary art, as well as with the artists and curators of our times?

It was extremely moving to witness the reactions of the invited artists and curators, especially in the Cycladic Art Collection. After spending time among the antiquities with a sense of recollection and awe, all without exception were inspired to engage with an exhibition.

The publication was made possible with the support of the Museum’s Contemporary Art Support Committee Members, and is available at the Cycladic Shop and at the bookstores of the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (MIET), both in Athens and in Thessaloniki.


Edited by: Maria Basagianni, Aphrodite Gonou

Design: BEND

Print: G. Kostopoulos Graphic Arts

Hardcover | 28 × 21.5 cm. | 480 pages

Edition: Bilingual (Greek & English)


The Contemporary Art Program of the Museum of Cycladic Art began in 2007, when Kassandra Marinopoulou took over the presidency. It was an idea that the founder of the Museum, Dolly Goulandris, had warmly embraced. From 2007 onwards, exhibitions of modern and contemporary art are organized yearly, always with the Museum’s permanent collections as a reference point. The Museum of Cycladic Art is one of the few archaeological museums in the world that maintains an ongoing Program of Contemporary Art, following the commitment to hold annual exhibitions.

The Museum invites international artists and curators from all over the world to study and draw inspiration from its collections, opening a dialogue between ancient artefacts and contemporary creations. Indicatively, the Museum has hosted artworks by internationally renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Thomas Struth, Louise Bourgeois, Sarah Lucas, Ugo Rondinone, Jannis Kounellis, Ai Weiwei, Cy Twombly, George Condo, and Sterling Ruby.

Curated by Aphrodite Gonou & Atalanti Martinou (since 2016), Contemporary Art Program Advisors, Museum of Cycladic Art

Divine Dialogues

In 2017 the Museum launched the exhibition series “Divine Dialogues”. Ancient artefacts are presented next to modern and contemporary artworks, initiating a dialogue.

In the first exhibition, entitled Divine Dialogues: Cy Twombly and Greek Antiquity, 27 works by Cy Twombly inspired by Greek mythology were presented for the first time together with 12 ancient works of arts. As part of its “Divine Dialogues” exhibitions series the exhibition Picasso and Antiquity. Line and clay left a memorable impression thanks to the vivid and original dialogue developed between 68 rare ceramics and drawings by Picasso, and 67 antiquities. The exhibition received the Audience Award at the Global Fine Art Awards (GFAA), while it was the only Greek nomination among a total of 99 selected nominees from 2000 entries from 27 countries around the world.


From the beginning of this journey, the Museum sought partnerships with other organizations, pursuing an active presence and extroversion. The collaboration with the DESTE Foundation for the DESTE Prize was of crucial importance, as it opened up the Museum space to the Greek contemporary art scene. This was followed by a partnership with NEON, hosting monographic exhibitions by leading artists with global appeal, such as Martin Kippenberger, Lynda Benglis, Mike Kelley, Paul Chan, and Mario Merz. Aiming at becoming a platform for smaller cultural organizations, the Museum collaborated with Radio Athènes.

Exhibitions’ Timeline


Jannis Psychopedis| Nostos

Jean-Luc Moulène | Le Louvre
DESTE Prize 2009
Thomas Struth

Louise Bourgeois
Sarah Lucas | NUDS Cycladic
Vasso Katraki | Giving life to stone

DESTE Prize 2011
The Last Grand Tour

Eugenie Coumantaros | Beyond White
Jannis Kounellis
Ugo Rondinone | nude

DESTE Prize 2013
[ΝΕΟΝ] Martin Kippenberger: A Cry For Freedom

Stefanos Tsivopoulos | History Zero

DESTE Prize 2015
[ΝΕΟΝ] Mario Merz: Numbers are Prehistoric

[Radio Athènes] Always Starts with an Encounter: Wols - Eileen Quinlan
Ai Weiwei at Cycladic
Robert McCabe | Memories and monuments of the Aegean

DESTE Prize: An Anniversary Exhibition, 1999-2015
Divine Dialogues | Cy Twombly and Greek Antiquity
[ΝΕΟΝ] Mike Kelley: Fortress of Solitude

George Condo at Cycladic
[ΝΕΟΝ] Paul Chan: Odysseus and the Bathers

Divine Dialogues | Picasso and Antiquity | Line and clay
[ΝΕΟΝ] Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses

[online] Takis | Sculptor of Magnetism, Light and Sound

Sterling Ruby at Cycladic: Ceramics

Cycladic Café Art Project

Since 2017 the Museum of Cycladic Art has presented, as part of its Contemporary Art Program, the Cycladic Café Art Project which connects social places with contemporary art. Aiming to embrace both the Greek and the international contemporary art scene, works by internationally acclaimed and emerging artists, which relate to current Museum exhibitions and activities, are presented at the Cycladic Café. The Cycladic Café Art Project stimulates, thus, an intimate dialogue bringing art closer to everyday life.

Participating artists

[2017] Nikos Markou, Gerasimos Rigas, Panos Tsagaris

[2018] KERNEL (Pegy Zali, Petros Moris, Theodoros Giannakis), Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Rallou Panagiotou, Maria Hassabi, Jannis Varelas, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Michael Anastassiades

[2019] Antonakis, Aliki Panagiotopoulou, Athanasios Argianas, Christina Dimitriadis, SERAPIS MARITIME

[2020] Sister Corita, Dora Economou

[2021] Objects of Common Interest (curated by Tina Daskalantonaki), Barbara Kruger, Anne Collier

Curated by Aphrodite Gonou & Atalanti Martinou, Contemporary Art Program Advisors, Museum of Cycladic Art

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