Athens can at last boast about having something other than the biggest debt problems in Europe: a fresh addition to its cultural landscape. And for once this museum won’t house a stock of ancient rocks but rather a cutting-edge contemporary collection.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, or EMST, will reopen in late 2014 in a hulking former brewery just south of the Acropolis, with more than 75,000 square feet of exhibition space. Founding director Anna Kafetsi, a former curator, magazine editor and critic, has made the museum’s unofficial mission twofold: First, to lionize homegrown talent such as the late Vlassis Caniaris and the Athens-born, New York–based artist and architect Andreas Angelidakis; second, to champion video and digital art, with a collection that includes pieces by Bill Viola, Bruce Nauman, Mona Hatoum and Marina Abramovic. The new complex will feature on-site labs that can process artists’ digital work. Allow an entire day to peruse the sprawling collection properly; otherwise, just take a ten-minute stroll around the building to gawk at its vast bulk. At Kallirois Ave. and Amv. Frantzi, 117 43; emst.gr.