Nice art – pity about the venue

There is plenty of art on show in Athens these days. As well as the Documenta project, which is spread all over town, from May 26 to 28 there was also Art Athina, a three-day fair open to the public.
Fifty eight galleries, mostly from Greece but quite a few from abroad (Paris, Istambul, Vienna, Zurich, and even as far away as Dubai, Australia and Mexico) offered modern art for sale in a wide range of prices.

 

Art Athina venue: the Olympic Tae Kwon Do stadium (photo from Google)

 

The fair was held at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium in Faliro, on the coast not far from the center of Athens, a venue built especially for the 2004 Athens Olympics. It is a modern and spacious structure benefiting from a wonderful location next to a marina full of yachts. Nowadays it is used for various purposes, such as concerts, and even provided shelter to refugees at the worst of the crisis.

Inside, the galleries had set up their booths, and it was fun wandering around looking at the art on offer.

The view from the top floor

 

Sadly, I was extremely dismayed, if not disgusted, by the state of the building’s interior. I decided not to post any photos, thinking it too depressing. But I was aghast at  the unpainted, stained walls, the dirty floor, the missing or broken fixtures… I don’t understand how some funds could not be raised to at least freshen it up a little.

 

Whimsical pen and ink drawing by Greek artist Leonidas Giannakopoulos

 

The whole issue of the Olympic venues is shameful. Most have been left to rot – and when I think of what Greek taxpayers forked out for them (they were grossly overpriced) it makes me grind my teeth. What’s more, the labyrinthine governmental system means that any attempt at exploiting them is resisted. Apparently the National Shooting Federation wanted to take on the Olympic Shooting complex and keep it functioning and upkept, but their offer was refused. The racetrack and equestrian centre have become totally decrepit, despite racing being a potentially profitable business. Etc, etc. – and we are talking about state-of-the-art, modern installations that could benefit Greek athletes who usually have to train in less than ideal conditions. It beggars belief.

 

Another by the same artist, called Sky Adventures

 

I can only console myself with the thought that, thanks to the Olympics, we have at least got a new, very functional airport, a good subway and a much improved road system. These had been planned for over twenty years (!) but had never materialized and would not have been finished but for the games. Part of the problem being that, wherever you dig, you find antiquities, and work has to stop until the Archaeological Society decrees what is to be done. A couple of museums were filled with what was found on these sites – but that is another story!

 

Outside, a band was tuning up for one of the performances on offer

 

If you are interested in more detail about Art Athina, pop over to the Art in Athens blog, there is a very interesting article here.

 

An altered book by a Greek artist whose name, unfortunately, I did not note. I loved his work, though

 

16 thoughts on “Nice art – pity about the venue

  1. What can one say? It is lamentable that we be so indifferent to our cultural heritage! On an individual level, the only thing left to do is to create art and engender literary work as legacy for future generations!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, that ‘Olympic Legacy’. Look at any nation that has hosted the Olympics, and you will find a legacy of urban decay, big-business profit, and nothing (or very little) for the ‘ordinary’ people to still enjoy. In London, the largest stadium was sold to West Ham football club. They charge a fortune for tickets to see their matches. So much for ‘ the benefit of the people’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very sad when so much could have been done. We have been much luckier with the Sydney Olympic Park which has become one of the hubs of Sydney with major sporting arenas and mass entertainment venues plus a number of beautiful parks and walkways named for some of our most beloved sportspeople. Just looked up . . . quite a few hotels and I knew the restaurant scene was vibrant – so much so that ‘Olympic Park’ is now an established suburb with a post code et al . . . can go both ways . can it not . . .

    Like

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