Cheap Art: A novel idea for gifts, for every moment and occasion

Cheap Art is exactly what it says it is: art sold at an inexpensive price. It is also both an art exhibition space and a non-profit, privately subsidized (through sponsorship) organization which originated in Athens six years ago through the initiative and creative conception of two artists: Giorgos and Dimitris Georgakopoulos. Since then, the brothers have been working with several artists to put together four exhibits annually. The better known one and the one that carries the organization’s name and aim (at the other exhibits, the works are sold at ordinary prices) takes place every year in December. Currently on display at the Cheap Art Gallery in Exarchia Square and at the a. gallery in Psyrri (with which the Georgakopoulos brothers started working four years ago), the exhibit is filled with small works of art and evokes a trendy, youthful spirit. Each work is sold for a mere 15,000 drachmas, a price that has remained the same since Cheap Art’s beginning, the underlying idea being that this is art bought for pleasure rather than as an investment. More than 100 artists have worked to date with Cheap Art. For them, it is an opportunity to make their work known to a broader public, while for art-lovers it is an occasion to attain art at affordable prices. A far echo of the 1970s, when one of art’s prerogatives was to become more democratic and accessible (it was then that many reproductions were created), Cheap Art reflects a time when art was rapidly expanding and merging with mass culture as well as catering to popular appeal. Kokkinias may be suggesting that people are always somehow staged in a natural environment, that just as our relationship with nature is contrived and mediated, so is our understanding of it. Again, Kokkinias may be exploring the tension between art and nature, a tension which he does not resolve but, in his typical style, leaves filled with suggestions.

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