Everyone knows that Greece’s buzzing capital is filled with ancient Athenian ruins, relics of its glorious past as the centre of Western civilisation, but we at House of Coco were delighted to discover that the art scene in Athens is as alive today as it was over 2,000 years ago.
In Athens, art is rarely ostentatious or presented in fancy museums. Instead, it is accessible and frankly unmissable. From street corners to hotel lobbies, from busy roadsides to bars, Athens is a city alive with art, so we thought we’d share a few of our favourite spots:
The Grecotel Pallas Athena
With a huge baseball glove sofa in reception, gnome stools outside the lift and visiting artists who display their work in the restaurant, Grecotel Pallas Athena is not your usual city hotel. Each room is individually designed, one with Smurfs painted on the walls, one erupting with volcanoes and one with a huge neon pig sculpture. For an arty weekend in Athens, welcome to your base.
Read our full review here: https://www.houseofcoco.net/review-grecotel-pallas-athena-athens/
Benaki Museum Pireos Annexe
Walking to the edgy annexe of Athens’ famous Benaki Museum, you start to wonder where the hell you are. Oddly located along a busy main road, the former industrial building looms in red brick. And all sorts of interesting Greek and international exhibitions (including some racy performance art pieces) take place here.
We were lucky enough to pass by when the artist behind the ‘Images of Another Europe’ photography exhibition was giving a tour, showcasing pictures he took of the continent just before the Berlin wall came down. Current shows include the participatory photo project, ‘Athens Views’ which came about through a Facebook invitation for Athenians to photograph the view from their window. The cafe is also a great place to chill away from the mayhem of Athens’ main thoroughfare.
Street Art in Monastiraki
Athens’ street art scene now rivals Berlin – every corner you turn, there’s another colourful and thought-provoking mural reaching into the sky.
You can’t visit Athens without passing through Monastiraki. You’ll be heading there for the flea market and restaurants that spill onto the street. Between eating and shopping, look up.
Amongst our favourite pieces are the huge dog with soulful eyes wearing a tiny crown, and the creepy laughing faces that can be seen from the Acropolis. Some of these have even been commissioned by the Athens municipality, showing an openness to embracing the graffiti heritage of the city.
The Metamatic TAF Bar and Gallery
The coolest kids in Athens flock to this art space and bar from noon till night. We’d recommend going post-midnight to take in the latest art exhibitions and sip a boozy cold coffee in the central courtyard.
Run by the Art Foundation in Athens, the space aims to highlight the dialogue between applied and fine arts and celebrates interdisciplinary work. Current and upcoming projects include a selection of art pieces by recent graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts (which include some rather terrifying rabbit-like sculptures) and ‘Go West’, an innovative audiovisual project on how people negotiate their space. Prepare to be inspired and bewildered.