For almost 30 years, Dimitris Daskalopoulos has stood with a sense of responsibility to share art with the wider public, in an attempt to express his deep admiration for human creativity and his belief that art can inspire people and create a social consciousness. He has been very active in the artworld by donating to museums and supporting exhibitions and also through the open lending policy of the Collection and the creation of NEON, a foundation that shares contemporary art with a Greek audience.
The D.Daskalopoulos Collection Giﬅ creates a strong synergy between the MCA Chicago and the Guggenheim to care for and present the jointly giﬅed artworks. It also strengthens the international collaboration between EMST and Tate, as they share expertise to create a cultural exchange between their two institutions and lend works nationally and internationally.
The D.Daskalopoulos Collection Giﬅ is accompanied by the creation of a network of curators, including a new dedicated post at Tate, a new shared post at the Guggenheim and MCA Chicago and also curatorial support to administer and share the Giﬅ at EMST, which will help embed the Giﬅ within the work of each institution.
Through these new posts and the support of the institutions, the Giﬅ will be shared widely with audiences through international displays as well as through their global online reach. The institutions will also be able to draw on the wide variety of artworks in the Giﬅ for future education and learning programmes to deepen audience engagement.
Remarks on the Gift
“My interest in art has not been limited to the framework of building a collection. Its main characteristic has been the constant pursuit of being in touch with the beauty of art and the joy and inspiration that this contact brings”
“I believe that collectors bear a responsibility towards the artworks in their collection and their artists: collectors are beholden to attend to the future of their collection with the same care and attention they invested in creating it. Art takes its meaning and exerts its inﬂuence only through its interaction with the public. This has led to my decision to giﬅ the better part of my collection to important contemporary art museums, so that they are cared for and preserved for future generations, so that the works are accessible to a broad audience, and so that they will remain in dialogue with the art of the future. This act transforms a private collection into a public resource”.
Read the full speech here.
“Undoubtedly, this is a very important day for our country, but also a great moment for the global world of contemporary art, as Dimitris Daskalopoulos announces the donation of a major part of his personal art collection to four important public museums, to four public cultural organizations. And as far as the donation he made to the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, I need to say that this is the largest donation ever made to the said organization.
Having had many discussions in the past with Dimitris about the present and future of his collection, I know first-hand how crucial this decision was, how much he thought about the different options he had and with how much difficulty and pleasure he stands here today announcing this majestic donation. And I use the term “difficulty” because the moment of the collector-guardian’s separation from a work of art he owns is not a painless process. As I am convinced, Dimitris, that you still remember not only the exact moment you acquired these 350 works you are generously donating today but also the feelings that triggered their acquisition.
I would, therefore, call this collection a “kaleidoscope” of emotions, a lifetime journey, that you decided to share with abundant unselfishness with the four museums which gladly accept today this donation.”
Read the full speech here.
“Aﬅer decades of anticipation, two years ago Athens inaugurated its own Museum of Contemporary Art, ﬁlling a large gap in the city’s museum landscape. Today, EMST welcomes a unique donation from Dimitris Daskalopoulos, a collector with a deep knowledge and love for contemporary art.
The donation, which is comprised of dozens of works, both substantially strengthens the collections of EMST, and also be able to begin valuable synergies and collaborations with them. As such, the donation not only concerns the Museum and the ﬁeld of culture, but also impacts the city itself, indirectly enhancing the competitiveness of its cultural services.
Setting aside his passion for collecting, Dimitris Daskalopoulos prioritises his contribution to the people of Athens and to society as a whole. Art is a universal language, and cultural artefacts gain added value through their contact with the public. In industrialised societies, value creation depends on restricted access to resources. Social capital, however, depends on education, presumed access to art, and the democratisation of culture.
By oﬀering his personal collection to four leading contemporary art museums, Daskalopoulos acts as a catalyst to the transformation and the transition of these private works to public goods, accessible to us and the next generations. The Ministry of Culture and Sports expresses its immense gratitude to Dimitris Daskalopoulos.”
“Over his distinguished philanthropic career, Dimitris Daskalopoulos has demonstrated a belief in the power of art to expand the collective imagination and address issues fundamental to contemporary life. His conviction that human creativity can strengthen civic life and should be freely available to all has underpinned both his innovative work with NEON and his tenure as a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum. This extraordinary giﬅ from his Collection to the Guggenheim and the MCA Chicago will facilitate a rich expansion of the narratives that can unfold in our permanent collections.”
“This giﬅ is an extraordinary act of generosity by Dimitris Daskalopoulos and it marks a signiﬁcant moment for Tate’s collection. This is not only because of the large number of works involved, but also because of the exceptional calibre of the artists, from Louise Bourgeois to David Hammons to Mona Hatoum. Tate’s is a truly public collection, owned by and for the people, and these works will reach millions of visitors in our four galleries for generations to come. Even more importantly, our collection is a long-term resource for other museums to draw on, allowing us to reach even more people across the UK and the world each year.”
“This is the most signiﬁcant giﬅ in the twenty-year history of EMST in terms of both size and importance. It couldn’t come at a better moment: with Greece emerging from the recent debt crisis, the museum has just launched a new phase of full operation with a new artistic programme and a dynamic series of temporary exhibitions and events. The donation signiﬁcantly enlarges and strengthens its existing collection holdings, further empowering the museum to fulﬁl its mission as the leading national institution for contemporary art in Greece and one of the ﬂagship institutions in Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. We are indebted to Dimitris Daskalopoulos for his generosity, his trust, his civic-mindedness, and for the important contribution he is making towards the development of the museum.”
“Dimitris Daskalopoulos shares the MCA’s dedication to harnessing the art of our time as a catalyst for critical thinking, social change, and reﬂection, marked by an unwavering belief that art expands our collective imagination. This ground-breaking initiative centres collaboration between renowned museums on a global scale, facilitating the exchange of curatorial ideas and the invention of operational models, marking a new chapter in the way museums share great art with their publics. This giﬅ will have a galvanizing eﬀect on the narrative of contemporary art for our present and future audiences and will inspire the current and next generation of creative workers in our rapidly evolving industry.”