Opening in two years

The die is cast. In the presence of Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis on Tuesday, the chairman of the board of directors of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMCA), Kyriakos Griveas, and the chairman of the board of directors of the contracting firm Vioter SA, Yiannis Constantinopoulos, signed the contract for the construction of the EMCA building in Athens. The atmosphere on the ground floor of the old Fix brewery was celebratory, helped by the air conditioning that offered some respite from the blazing midday heat. Griveas pledged that the museum would open in two years. The minister, in jacket and jeans, underlined the importance of the central location of the city’s new museum, saying it would foster cultural development in the southern districts of Athens. He also noted its proximity to the Acropolis Museum, now under construction, and the «formation of a cultural axis with two poles of attraction, of international standards, that link antiquity with contemporary artistic creation.» Voulgarakis thanked everyone for the successful outcome of the project, but omitted to mention EMCA director Anna Kafetsi. It was an unfortunate slip, presumably unintended, and certainly of less gravity than the ridiculous omission of Kafetsi from the panel of speakers. The EMCA director had worked at least as hard as any of the other speakers to achieve Tuesday’s result. At the end of the celebrations we saw her at the back of the room, surrounded by EMCA staff. Also present were the architects of the museum, whose names were not even mentioned. It’s an offensive tradition that continues to be tolerated.

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