The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST) began its operation in 2000. Its permanent home is the former Fix brewery on Syngrou Ave., the reconstruction of which was completed in 2014. The building occupies 18.142 sqm. on a 3.123 sqm surface.
The Museum’s constantly growing collection is formed around a very important nucleus of works by Greek and international artists, such as Jannis Kounellis, Stephen Antonakos, Gary Hill, Vlassis Caniaris, Chryssa, Mona Hatoun, Emily Jacir, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Kim Sooja, Nikos Kessanlis, Shirin Neshat, Lucas Samaras, Costas Tsoclis, Bill Viola, Joseph Kosuth, Pedro Cabrita Reiss, Costas Varotsos, George Lappas, Oliver Ressler, Gulsun Karamustafa a.o.
From 2003 until 2008 it presented exhibitions and events at the Athens Concert Hall, the Athens School of Fine Arts and in the public space. From September 30th, 2008, it was hosted in sections of the building of the Athens Conservatoire.
In May 2015 EMST moved to its permanent premises. From October 2016 to January 2019 it made use of the building’s temporary exhibition spaces, educational facilities, screening room, the museum shop and other facilities, producing or supporting a large number of exhibitions and other activities including conferences, talks, book presentations, film screenings, and dance and musical performances.
The first exhibition in the new premises, entitled Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp, was a synergy with the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp M HKA in 2016 and constituted the inaugural exhibition of the series EMST in the World. The second exhibition of the same series was realized through the collaboration of EMST with documenta 14 and lasted from April to September 2017. The two organizations collaborated in the framework of “learning from Athens” – documenta’s chosen working title – and materialized the intention of EMST to become extrovert and to exhibit its collection to the public. As a result a double relocation occurred: the former Fix brewery became the main exhibition space of documenta 14 in Athens and Fridericianum became the temporary home of part of the Museum’s collection in Kassel. The exhibition, titled ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection, presented over 220 works, part of the exhibition of the permanent collection of EMST in Athens. Continuing the EMST in the World series, the next step was the collaboration with Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, the presentation of the unique project La verità è sempre un’altra (Truth Is Always Something Else), an exhibition including more than 20 works from the EMST Collection was hosted from September 21 to November 11, 2018 within Time is Out of Joint, the current set up of the Gallery’s permanent collection. Following this exhibition EMST hosted at its space from December 2108 to January 2019 a selection of videos from the Collection of the Galleria Nazionale.
Moreover, in the framework of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between Greece and China and following the exhibition CHINESE XIEYI: Masterpieces from the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) presented at EMST in 2017, an exhibition enititled At the Beginning Was the Word. Concepts – Images – Script with works of EMST permanent collection took place at NAMOC in Beijing, from November 2018 to January 2019.
The pivotal moment for EMST in continuing its dynamic development was the approval of a €3,000,000 grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in July of 2018, which allows the Museum to undertake the work needed to realize its core strategic goal of full operations. The donation includes the equipment and implementation of the approved plans for the installation of the Museum’s permanent collection on the three top floors and the completion of the open and closed screening rooms, the conference room, the library, the conservation laboratory, the media lounge and other areas.
The EMST Shop offers a a variety of accessories, stationery, decorations, posters and a wide range of catalogues, guides as well as Greek and foreign editions from collaborations and exhibitions of EMST in Greece and abroad.