Athens’ National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) opens after 19-year delay


Nearly two decades in the making, Greece’s first National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) has opened to the public in Athens.
Although legislation establishing the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) was passed in 1997, delays fueled by government disagreements around regulations and administration, as well as a shortage of funds, kept the museum from opening for 19 years (the delays lost the project a $3.3 million European Union subsidy).

During the first 11 years, the museum shelled out $37 million to convert an abandoned Athens brewery into an exhibition space—but once completed in 2014, it still didn’t open its doors due to regulatory and administrative struggles. Soon after, a $3 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation was pledged but then withdrawn in November 2015 because of continued delays. The EMST’s challenges speak to the wider economic crisis in Greece and how these problems have been impacting the country’s artists and cultural institutions. But encouraged by the news that Athens would host documenta 14 in 2017, the museum has finally opened its doors.

The inaugural show, Urgent Conversations: Athens—Antwerp combines the Greek museum’s collection with work by Belgian artists from the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (MHKA).

[Source: Al Jazeera]