Year of 2017

In Case of Rain
‘Umbrellas’ sculpture, Thessaloniki, Greece

This sculpture, ‘Umbrellas’ by Greek artist George Zongolopoulos, was installed in 1997, the year that Thessaloniki was designated by the European Union as the annual European Capital of Culture. Zongolopoulos’ celebrated sculpture was a hallmark of the city’s arts programming that year, and ‘Umbrellas’ continues to be a cultural touchstone where it stands in front of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.

Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is a contemporary art museum in Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece. The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki was founded in 1979 by a group of visionary citizens of Thessaloniki. In a conversation between Maro Lagia and Alexandros Iolas, after the latter had shown a keen interest in the damage inflicted on monuments by the 1978 Thessaloniki earthquake, Maro proposed the creation of a contemporary art centre in Thessaloniki. Iola’s response was immediate –“Oh yes, no more hospitals and orphanages; a centre of contemporary art; that’s exactly what Thessaloniki needs.” Alexandros Iolas’ encounter with Thessaloniki was to acquire special significance, not only for the city but also for the posthumous fame of this singularly perceptive collector. There is nothing in Greece today to recall his inspired and creative sojourn in the country save the collection of the 47 works that he donated a generation ago as a “nucleus” around which to build a Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in this city.