New Museum and DESTE Foundation at Benaki Museum in Athens 

May 11, 2019

NEW YORK – The New Museum and the DESTE Foundation, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, Athens, present “The Same River Twice,” an exhibition of Athens-based artists. The exhibition, on view at the Benaki Museum / Pireos 138, June 21-September 22, will focus on the city of Athens and its constantly evolving artistic landscape, which is host to countless artist-run initiatives and exhibition spaces, cross-disciplinary happenings and collaborations, and a dauntless energy that has enticed many non-Greek artists to relocate and call Athens home. Featuring over thirty artists of diverse ages and nationalities, working across all mediums, the exhibition will offer a portrait of a city with an artistic dynamism that continues to unfold as artists seek new models for creative output and exchange.

“The Same River Twice” borrows its title from an aphorism attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, in which he famously asserted that “one cannot step in the same river twice.” The flow of water offered an apt analogy for the state of constant flux Heraclitus sought to describe, and it applies to the continuous transformations of Athens’s art scene today—and the inherent impossibility of capturing or containing it at any given moment. As a city, Athens is in perpetual transformation, and its artists have long found ways to document its shifting landscapes, whether through visual or material studies of the city’s attributes; meditations on its monuments, relics, and cast-offs; or inquiries into the character of its people and public spaces. Metamorphoses are central to many works in the exhibition: mediums defy stability and trace modulations in form, and artistic practices blur the lines between genres or disciplines. The fluidity evoked by Heraclitus’s metaphor offers a way of thinking of identity at a time when the political struggle of those seeking to define their gender or sexuality is both turbulent and vital in Greece, and worldwide. Throughout the works in the exhibition, change and transfiguration are not only constant but embraced, resonating as fundamental to the energy and character that shapes Athens and its many artists.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, designed by An Art Service, featuring an essay by the curators as well as texts by Nadja Argyropoulou, Danai Giannoglou, Delia Gonzalez, and Theophilos Tramboulis. Their contributions aim to collectively establish a resource on Athens’s multifaceted art scene—from underground happenings and activist orientations, to the rise of artist-run spaces, and the critical realm of self-published art zines and journals.

“The Same River Twice” follows the 2016 exhibition “The Equilibrists” which was also organized by the New Museum and DESTE Foundation and was conceived in the spirit of the DESTE Prize, an award given to a promising young Greek artist biannually from 1999 to 2015. The exhibition also embodies one of the aims of the Benaki Museum, a historical museum that aims to bridge the past and the present, and aligns with the New Museum’s commitment to exhibiting emerging artists from around the globe, highlighted by its signature Triennial exhibition, which will next be held in 2021. For more information, visit deste.gr.

This exhibition is curated by Margot Norton, Curator, and Natalie Bell, Associate Curator, New Museum.

Artist List 

Eleni Christodoulou (b. 1965, Athens)

Anastasia Douka (b. 1979, Athens)

Pavlos Fysakis (b. 1969, Athens)

Eva Giannakopoulou (b. 1977, Athens)

Delia Gonzalez (b. 1972, Miami)

Lakis & Aris Ionas / The Callas (Lakis Ionas [b. 1974, Athens] and Aris Ionas [b. 1975, Athens])

Evi Kalogiropoulou (b. 1985, Athens)

Dionisis Kavallieratos (b. 1979, Athens)

Navine Khan-Dossos (b. 1982, London)

Katerina Komianou (b. 1984, Athens)

Panayiotis Loukas (b. 1975, Athens)

Petros Moris (b. 1986, Lamia)

Rallou Panagiotou (b. 1978, Athens)

Angelos Papadimitrou (b. 1952, Kiato)

Vasilis Papageorgiou (b. 1991, Athens)

Rena Papaspyrou (b. 1938, Athens)

Eftihis Patsourakis (b. 1967, Crete)

Anastasia Pavlou (b. 1993, Athens)

Yorgos Prinos (b. 1977, Athens)

Kostas Sahpazis (b. 1977, Thessaloniki)

Socratis Socratous (b. 1971, Paphos, Cyprus)

Eva Stefani (b. 1964, Alexandria, Virginia)

Valinia Svoronou (b. 1991, Athens)

Iris Touliatou (b. 1981, Athens)

Dimitris Tsouanatos (b. 1944, Athens)

Alexandros Tzannis (b. 1979, Athens)

Amalia Vekri (b. 1983, Athens)

Nikolas Ventourakis (b. 1981, Athens)

Vangelis Vlahos (b. 1971, Athens)

Eirini Vourloumis (b. 1979, Athens)

Neritan Zinxhiria (b. 1989, Tirana, Albania)


The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art is a non-profit institution established in Geneva in 1983 by collector Dakis Joannou. DESTE engages in an extensive exhibition program that promotes emerging as well as established artists and aims to broaden the audience for contemporary art, enhance opportunities for young artists, and explore the connections between contemporary art and culture. The flexibility of DESTE’s exhibition schedule enables the Foundation to respond to what is current in the art world, both nationally and internationally, and to embark on interesting projects as they emerge in today’s society. www.deste.gr


The Benaki Museum is among the most extensive and innovative museum organizations in Europe. It was founded by Antonis Benakis in 1930 and subsequently donated to the Greek state. Arranged across a satellite network of six museum buildings, the Museum also  features 5 archival departments and an extensive library, the Leigh Fermor House, offering residencies to scholars, and a collection currently holding a 500,000-strong inventory covering all periods of Greek culture as well as European, Islamic, Pre-Columbian, African and Chinese art. www.benaki.org


The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas. www.newmuseum.org.


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