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Greek museums on brink

Detail from “Spatial Force Construction”, 1920-21 by Liubov Popova. Source: State Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki.

Gareth Harris, Greek museums forced to close as funding runs out, The Art Newspaper, 9 July 2015

“Cultural institutions on brink” says curator of Thessaloniki Biennale.

Major public cultural institutions in Greece are on the point of collapse, say leading Greek art professionals, as concerns mount that the country faces insolvency after 61% of the population rejected bailout proposals earlier this week made by international creditors.

“The situation here is critical and hair-raising. The banks will run out of money unless immediate action is taken by the European Central Bank,” says the independent curator Katerina Gregos, who has organised the fifth Thessaloniki Biennale which opened last month (until 30 September).

Gregos says that state cultural institutions are on the brink: “The State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki only has enough funds to pay staff salaries. It cannot fund running costs and exhibitions, cover utility bills and pay for internet usage.” She adds that the inauguration of EMST—the new museum of contemporary art in Athens, based in the former Fix brewery—has been delayed because of a funding shortfall. The Greek ministry of culture declined to comment.

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