Another setback for Goulandris collection

Bad news accompanied the recent opening of the Andre Masson exhibition at the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art on Andros. The museum’s director, Kyriakos Koutsomallis, announced that plans to house the spectacular art collection of Basil and Elise Goulandris in Mets have fallen through, despite the fact that Environment and Public Works Minister GiorgosSouflias had announced detailed plans for the new venue last October. The collection features works by El Greco, Georges Braques, Van Gogh, Joan Miro and Marc Chagall, among others. The story started in 1992, when a building plot on Rigillis was chosen. After various delays, plans came to a halt when archaeologists stumbled upon the Lyceum on that spot. In 1998, the possibility of another site in Rizari came up and after a new cycle of legal delays plans for temporary housing in Mets were announced. Now that this has fallen through as well, according to Koutsomallis, the state will designate a new venue soon, possibly in the city center. According to the museum people, architect I.M. Pei’s refusal to have his plan for the museum building implemented anywhere outside the city center poses a problem. Responsibility seems to weigh on the Greek state, but also on the museum’s administration. As Koutsomallis admitted, it was a mistake from the start to expect the state to come up with a venue. Maybe after 15 years of continuous problems, it is about time the board of directors became more realistic and sought its own solutions. If the next plot considered by the state also proves unusable, for whatever reason, the entire issue will fall to pieces. The recent example of the Niarchos Foundation, which managed to secure Faliron’s former horse-racing track with quick and speedy negotiations, should set a precedent.

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